Best Friends

While teaching my Journey 24/7 group the other night, I challenged some of them to describe their best friend. You may want to do this too. However, I wanted a very precise description. These are the questions to be answered:

What is your best friend’s exact height?
What color are your best friend’s eyes (natural color, not contacts)?
How much does your best friend weigh (touchy question for the ladies, but when I asked this of two guys, they were way off)?
What’s your best friend’s least favorite vegetable?
What is the color of your best friend’s hair (again this would be natural color)?
When was the last time your best friend’s hair was cut?
What does your best friend aspire to be someday?
How old was your best friend when they learned to ride a bike?
What’s the best thing about your best friend?

Now all of this is fairly mundane, it’s certainly not profound, but I did it to underscore how much we don’t know about those we count as our best friends. I discovered last year, remarkably, that a man I had counted as my best friend for years, a man I knew to be a devout, committed believer and man of God, had never shared his testimony with me. Here I was, supposedly as close as a brother with the man, and we’d never sat down and shared with each other how we’d come to trust Jesus Christ as our Savior! Maybe it was just that we felt so familiar with one another, that we assumed we instinctively “knew” certain things about each other. I fear it’s that way sometimes with Christ. As we count Jesus as our Savior, I contended many times most Christians know considerably less about Him than they think they do. We assume we know Jesus. That’s all fine, but shouldn’t we be striving for a higher level of intimacy with the One Who loved us enough to sacrifice His life on the cross?

As Paul wrote the Colossian church, they were being threatened by a heresy (false doctrines or teachings that deny a foundational belief of the church). In this case the heresy denied Christ was deity (God). If that’s not a foundational belief for me and my church, I don’t know what is. Paul begins with some very key points about Who Jesus Christ is.

Read Colossians 1:15
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

Paul says Christ is “the image or the invisible God.” The heresy of the time proposed that Christ was like an angel. If accepted, we would have to understand that since angels are created beings (Psalm 148:2-5) they are not equal in any way to God. They are, however, superior to human beings, have power and strength unmatched in mankind and superior intellect. But they are not all-powerful (omnipotent), all-present (omnipresent), nor all-knowing (omniscient). So what does Paul mean by calling Jesus the image of God? How can he be God’s image if He was a created being like all the angels? By image Paul means that Jesus is a copy or likeness of God. However, he further qualifies God by saying that He is unseen or can’t be seen. To know God, who is invisible, unseen to our temporal and material eyes, we must know Christ (which is basically what Jesus said in John 14:6). To know Jesus Christ is to know He is the perfect, exact likeness or image of God the Father. Jesus is fully God in every way (and he was fully man as He walked the earth).

But what does Paul mean by calling Him the “firstborn”? Doesn’t that indicate that Jesus was indeed created like the angels? Firstborn can mean born first in order, the first to be born of all creation, a created being. But that would be an inaccurate reading to the word. Firstborn can also mean top in rank or position. Jesus Christ’s position in God’s kingdom is over creation (firstborn over all creation); He existed before creation and is exalted over any created thing.

The spectacular thing about knowing Jesus is that he was fully God, but also fully man, otherwise we do not have a high priest who can sympathize with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus was human! He was born, like we are (Luke 2:6-7). What an incredible experience for the prince of glory to be born into human flesh, unable to care for His slightest needs! He grew (Luke 2:52), not just in stature, but in wisdom and favor with men. What must it have been like fro Jesus to deal with the pains of human growth, the insecurities our frail flesh imposes upon us? He got tired (John 4:6)! Jesus, the agent of creation, got weary! He became fatigued from toil. He suffered from thirst (John 19:28). When His body was being deprived of the very blood that pumped through His veins, he experienced the parched torture of unquenched thirst. He Who had never experienced such need when He resided with His Father. Finally, as part of the Godhead, the Trinity, He experienced death (Matthew 15:37), perhaps the ultimate human experience.

You can probably recognize your best friend from across the street. They are almost immediately recognizable to you. Yet there are many things you don’t know about them. Would you recognize Jesus if you saw Him?

If you read a description of your best friend, would you be able to identify who was being written about? Do you really understand what you read about Christ to get a clear picture of Who He really is?

The older I get, the more I realize there is so much more I need to know about Jesus before I can truly say I know Him. By His grace, I will be given that time. We’ve just scratched the surface here. Go get your Bible and dig in. Get about the work of knowing Jesus, better than your best friend!

Grace 2 U All!


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