Identity and fear
The believers in Colossae were dealing with a barrage of spiritual ideas and false teachings. After giving them a general warning about these dangerous influences, Paul begins to discuss several of the false teachings directly. From Paul’s comments in the following section, it seems as if the false teachers were “ok” with Jesus, but they also had their own additions or subtle changes about who Jesus was.
Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elemental forces of the world, and not based on Christ. For in Him the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily, and you have been filled by Him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.
The primary question each of us must answer is “Who is Jesus?”. In comparison to all other religions and belief systems, Jesus uniquely claims to be both God and man.
Throughout the centuries, however, people have tried in many different ways to diminish this characteristic of Jesus. Some have taught that Jesus was just a spirit and only appeared to be human. There have been claims that Jesus was a man who had some God-like ability. Others have stated that he was only partially divine – similar to the Greek’s demi-god legends.
Alternative theories about Jesus’ true nature are still around today. We hear things like “Jesus was a great teacher” or “Jesus was a man who had God’s spirit on him for a short time, but it left him as he died on the cross”.
However, Paul stresses to the Colossians that these other explanations about Jesus’ nature are completely inadequate. Jesus was both fully God and fully man. He wasn’t just a great human teacher. He wasn’t just another human philosopher. He wasn’t just a religious leader. He wasn’t even partially God, or like a Greek demi-God…Jesus was the entire fullness of God’s nature in bodily form.
Understanding this concept – that Jesus is fully God and fully man – is critical as we understand our new identity within the family of God. The fullness of our Creator, what makes Him who He is…that identity has been passed on to every believer.
Stop and think about that…we are directly identified with the King of the Universe.
Since Jesus is fully God and fully man, He was the only one qualified to offer His life as a ransom for ours. Because of His death and resurrection, He is head over every ruler and authority.
Since we are identified with the One in charge of everything, we do not need to fear any other ruler or authority. What a freeing thought!
When we find that freedom and the strength that comes with it, no other philosophy or teaching will take us captive – because we know Jesus as He truly is.