Advent Reading: December 4
DECEMBER 4—The Fifth Day of Advent
15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. 19For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
Have you ever wondered what God is like? Do you think of Him as a kindly grandfather or as a stern King with a fearsome countenance? The Bible answers this question by pointing us to Jesus. Paul makes plain that Jesus is the exact image of the invisible God. When we see Jesus, we are seeing what God is like. He is not indifferent or unfeeling. Rather, He is grieved over our suffering and sin. He is not filled with frustration or bitterness toward us. Rather, He is one who sympathizes with our weakness and our sorrows and calls us to repentance and obedience. In Jesus we actually see the invisible God in all the glory of His sacrificial love, humility, and mercy – as well as in His saving power. In Him the fullness of God dwells. God not only reveals His nature in His Son but through Him accomplishes His loving purposes for the world. The world was created through Him and for Him and He constantly upholds it by His power. By His death, He reconciled the world to God making “peace” through the blood of the cross. By His resurrection, He has been made the “head” of the Church and given the preeminence over all things. Above everything else, Paul wants us to see the supremacy and centrality of Jesus Christ in all things. The more we see Him and know Him, the more we understand who God is and what He has done – and, the more clearly we see this, the more clearly we understand who we are and what it means for us to live for the glory of God. Jesus shows us what it means to be truly and fully human. We, therefore, are to imitate Him. As He was the full image of His Father, so we must be conformed to His image. We must live in the way He lived among men. As He laid down His life for the world, so we must live lives of sacrificial love for the world. As He has been exalted over all things, so we must seek to glorify Him in everything we say and do.
—Pastor Steve Wilkins, Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church, Monroe, Louisiana
Our gracious heavenly Father, in Your infinite love and mercy, You sent Your Son into the world so that we might know You and be restored to our true callings as Your children through His life, death, resurrection, and ascension. Enable us to know Him and to increase in our love for Him, so that we might be conformed to Him and live for His glory throughout all our days. All for the glory and honor of Your Son who is the King of kings and Lord of lords and who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end, AMEN.
Discuss with your family what Jesus was like during His life and how that reveals God’s nature. How can we grow in likeness to Him? Where do we fall short? How may we love one another as He has loved us? How can we love our neighbors and show the love of God to them?