13The Father has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. 17He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
In him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
Reading Scripture to Know:
- What is happening/being said? (Observation)
- Why is this happening/being said? (Interpretation)
- What does the rest of Scripture say about it? (Evaluation)
- What does it mean? (Understanding)
- What does it mean for us? (Application)
Reading Scripture to Grow:
- What words or phrases stand out to you? Why?
- Where do you hear the voice of God in this Scripture?
- How do you see the character of God reflected in this Scripture?
- How does this Scripture reveal God?
- How does this Scripture expose humanity and its need for God?
- How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in your life?
- How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in our world?
- What might God want to communicate to you (us) this week through this Scripture?
Scripture Reads Me:
- This passage makes me feel…
- This passage makes me think about…
- This passage reminds me of…
- This passage teaches me that God is…
- This passages teaches me that I am…
- This passage challenges me to…
Reflection: The Father has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
What a powerful and succinct way to express the Gospel! There are several important points in this passage to pay careful attention to:
- We have been “rescued.” We cannot do the work of salvation, healing, and renewal on our own, for ourselves. We must recognize our helpless situation and our deep need for God.
- We have experienced darkness in life. We have even been under its power – in our powerless state! Holy Week is a time to remember and confess you sins. Be honest about the ways in which the darkness has overwhelmed you in life. God is faithful in bringing forgiveness, healing, and wholeness to those who cry out to him in honest trust.
- We have been rescued from darkness, but that is not all! God has brought us into a new reality – the Kingdom of God. We are now free to experience life as God intended it. Because of the work and grace of Christ, we can live in deep communion with God and loving relationship with others and with all elements of creation. All things come together under the shalom peace of God in the reign of the kingdom.
- This is the kingdom of God’s beloved Son. Kingdoms do not belong to people who are dead. The central truth of Easter is that Jesus Christ, who once was dead, is now alive forevermore. We are granted this resurrection life, both in power now and in fulfillment in the age to come. Jesus is alive and makes us alive.
- We have been redeemed. We belong to God and God alone. Your sin has been wiped away and you are a new person. A free person. God’s person. Do not ever let anyone or anything tell you otherwise.
Beloved, go forward this week and be Easter people – forgiven through the cross of Christ, freed through the resurrection of Christ, and made alive in the reign of Christ!
Prayer Focus: All things have been created through him and for him.
There is not one element of creation that is independent of God and God’s power. That means that every need you have, every petition you bring to prayer, is subject to the authority of God. Pray with confidence. God hears you and God wants to shape you through your prayers. As much as God wants to answer your petitions, God wants to spend time with you for the sake of spending time with you. You have been created through Christ and for Christ, so connect with Christ in prayer.
Meditation Focus: He is the image of the invisible God.
Over the past several months, we have been exploring what God “looks” like through the use of biblical metaphors. Take some time this week to process those different images of God and the different images you have of God. What does God “look” like to you? How clearly do you see God? Can you imagine interactions with God? How might you see God more clearly? Sit in stillness and quiet, allowing God to form within your mind and heart the image God wants you to have of him. Allow God to greet you in your imagination, as you rest in loving communion with God.
Journaling Focus: He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Have you ever thought about how great a risk the cross was? If Jesus – the one in whom “all things hold together” – were to submit to death, what would happen to the all things? The cross represented uncharted territory for the world that depends moment by moment on the sustaining grace of God in Christ. In thinking of the cross, though, I get the image of Jesus with outstretched arms holding the world together by his love and mercy. This week, as you journal, write about the meaning and significance of the cross for you. How does the work of Jesus on the cross – and the subsequent resurrection – hold your life together?
This Holy Week, attend a worship service apart from the regular Sunday worship hour (attend that service too, though!!!). Go to a midday community service if your church or a nearby church offers one. Take communion with your brothers and sisters at a Maundy Thursday service. Sit in awe under the shadow of the cross at a Good Friday service. Or wake up early, like the women who discovered the empty tomb, and worship at an Easter morning sunrise service. Discover the living God in these special, holy occasions.
Breath Prayer: Father, grant us life.