In preparation for teaching the doctrine of Christ in Zambia in a couple of weeks I have spent time doing close exegesis of a number of New Testament passages including Colossians 1:15-20.
Most commentators recognize that this passage is likely a hymn that the early church was familiar with and that the apostle Paul decided to include in this letter. This hymn explains and extols the lordship of Christ. There is much to say about this but one little word continues to stand out when I read this section. It is the word “all.”
The word “all” (Greek, pases) occurs 8 times in these few verses. It is translated variously “all,” “each,” or “every.” It ties the thought of Christ’s Lordship together through the whole section. Broadly speaking, Christ is Lord over all creation (v. 15-17) and Christ is Lord over all the Church (v. 18-20). As Moo comments, “Without him, electrons would not continue to circle nuclei, gravity would cease to work, the planets would not stay in their orbits.” More than that, Christ is Lord in, and through, and over all those who have come to God through him. He is Lord of their lives and Lord of their redemption. In other words, there is nothing that Christ is not Lord over!
The hearts of the early Christians sung the glory of a Savior who is also Lord. Isn’t this just what you need to hear Christian? Don’t you need to hear that Jesus is Lord over all of the stuff that exists in your life and all the stuff that could possibly come into your life? Jesus made the stuff that you can’t reach (i.e. “in heaven”); Jesus made the stuff that you can’t see (i.e. “invisible”); Jesus made the stuff that you can’t control (i.e. powers, be they natural or supernatural). And if this is the case, then Jesus is Lord over all my stuff too.
Truly we can say with Paul, Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father!