Even Paul can’t explain mystery of Jesus

by Jeff Hensley 

In the Colossians reading, the apostle Paul attempts to capture the mystery of Jesus’ redemption. It is no wonder that he weaves a hymn of joy filled with so many seemingly impossible combinations of the attributes of Jesus that we can hardly get our minds around them.

God the Father sends his beloved Son to us for our redemption. This
son, Jesus, was present before all that is, yet he is the firstborn of all creation.

“In him,” Paul says, “were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible.”

From our modern perspective we know that means the entire universe, an uncountable myriad of galaxies of bewilderingly beautiful shape and extent.

“He is before all things, and in him all things hold together,” Paul continues.

“He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he himself might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross.”

Is it any wonder that we celebrate this solemnity of Christ the King?

That a book for writers of fiction made the bold statement that all good fiction has at its center a Christ-figure, someone who sacrifices himself for others or the greater good? That we honor saints and martyrs who imitate this creative sacrifice for us and for all?

Christ the creator, Christ the redeemer, Christ the king.

Yet how did humanity treat him when he was among us? Unlike David, who, in the Samuel passage for this weekend, was made king of Israel (literally, “the God ruled”), we crucified him that he might in time become our ruler because God established him, through one more aspect of the mystery that is our redemption, as the head of the body, the church.

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