Colossians 2:9-10 - Who is this Jesus?
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ…Colossians 2:9, 10a
Paul writes in verse 9, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity (that is, God) lives in bodily form.” These words of Paul are important as we reflect on the birth of Jesus Christ. Who is the child that is born on Christmas Day to Joseph and Mary in the town of Bethlehem? The way you answer that question will also determine everything in your life. The central question for all mankind is, who is this Jesus who was born in Bethlehem? Paul gives a clear answer to that question which will have great effect on the life of the world.
Among biblical scholars there has been much debate about whether Paul is referring to the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Generally, modern scholars are of the opinion that Paul is not directly concerned here with the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Paul’s greater concern in this text is to understand who Jesus Christ really is. Earlier, in 1:15, Paul says about Jesus that “He is the image of the invisible God.” There Paul is indeed referring to the incarnation of Jesus Christ. When Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, God came to this world in a visible way. The child who was born to Joseph and Mary is the image of the invisible God. He is our “Immanuel,” that is, God with us.
Today mankind is looking for some proof of the living God. Modern philosophers are looking for some point of contact with the invisible God to prove that He really exists. Many today have come to the conclusion that it is impossible to find such a point of contact and therefore there is no proof that God really exists. God is just a figment of man’s imagination. Man has just created an image of God in his own mind and uses that image as a crutch to deal with the struggles and troubles of this life.
Mankind has closed their eyes to the true nature of the one who was born in Bethlehem. While the world knows the story about Joseph and Mary and the child Jesus, their eyes are closed to the fact that this child is the true image of the invisible God. The Lord God in heaven does not remain a God high above his creation, but He enters into the life of his creatures. He comes in his Son to dwell in our midst. He comes in the flesh to walk on this earth. But He came to the world not just to reveal Himself in visible form, but as the Saviour of the world. That is the point that Paul emphasizes in 2:9-10.
In refuting the ideas of the false teachers in Colossae, Paul emphasizes who Christ really is. Paul’s concern here is not about the incarnation as such, but who Christ is, before, during, and after his incarnation. This is who He is, “He is the fullness of the Deity in whom the fullness of God lives in bodily form.” Many understand what is translated as “bodily form” to mean “in reality” or “not symbolically.” In other words this Jesus whom you look to as your Saviour is the real and true embodiment of the invisible God. This Jesus always has been from eternity and always will be to eternity, true God. In Christ you find the fullness of God.
When Paul speaks about the fullness of Christ, he is saying that everything God has and is dwells in our Saviour Jesus Christ. The invisible God has fully revealed Himself in his Son Jesus Christ. Therefore, if the fullness of God dwells in Jesus Christ, why would anyone allow himself to be taken captive by the philosophies of this world that say Christ is not enough to be saved? If the full essence of God is concentrated in Christ, why would you look anywhere else for your help or salvation? If you have Christ Jesus as your Saviour, then you have no need to add anything to what He has done for you on the cross. His work of salvation is perfect and absolutely sufficient to save you.
But Paul says something even more profound in verse 10, “And you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.” These words become more meaningful when you remember that human philosophy says that Christ is not enough, but that you must complete what Christ has done. Christ has only given you part of your salvation; the rest is up to you. Paul says this is nonsense – don’t you know that you have been given fullness in Christ? Don’t you know that Christ has given you the full measure of your salvation? When Christ comes into your life, He fills you with everything that you need for your salvation. He is the complete Saviour.
As we celebrate the birth of Christ at Christmas, it is important that you believe that in this Jesus the fullness of God is wonderfully revealed and that in childlike trust you look to Christ as your complete Saviour. It is in Jesus Christ that you receive the fullness of God’s gifts in order that you may live for the Lord forever. Christ Jesus is the never failing fountain from whom all the blessings of God flow into your life for eternity. A true understanding of Christmas is the source of your eternal joy.