He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. ~Col. 1:17-18
The country is vast and feels often as if it is unraveling. I hear people say often that Americans are driven by lust or greed but it is not true at all. No. We are really driven by fear.
Christ know this and His depiction of us as “sheep” is not meant to be unkind at all. He is the Good Shepherd who “knows his sheep”. Even today when shepherds get caught in the rain and have to hole up in a cave overnight they easily separate the sheep the next day by simply walking a distance apart and calling out. Their own sheep know their voice and gather around them.
Jesus doesn’t come moralizing. He comes to be with us and for us to be found in Him. We unravel when we meet Him and He comes in and ravels within holding things together. To the extent we allow Him first place in everything this raveling is clean and straight and true. And if it starts to go awry in the Church we can pause…just stop and unravel some. He is the head of the body. Refocus on Him as the head. Allow the raveling to continue again.
The Word spoke the cosmos into being as Agent, redeems it as sole Mediator, and is it’s consummation as Bridegroom. All “naming” – human’s most profound and special gift, is derivative from the Word in Whom, through Whom and for Whom creation exists and his held together (Colossians chapters 1-2 in their totality).
As such, this One whose name is “above all names” has seeded Himself deeply not only in Creation, but in all the ways we approach it through language and try to understand and appropriate it. This Word (logos) is inherent in the multiplicity of interconnections that exist in Him. Yet, in His wisdom, the Word has come to us in the flesh (John 1 in it’s totality) and has explained the very character and intentions of God toward all Creation.
This God, who has a passion to be known via self-revelation, plants these resonate notes within our beings, then in grace overtly sounds those clear notes via the names that are so evocative of Him.
In the Old Testament, these names are both deep and expansive. In the New Testament we find new names given by Jesus to Himself that are even more viceral. Do you need bread? Do you desire wine? Do you need light, Peace, Rescue, Comfort, and/or Truth?
Unlike other great teachers we respect, Jesus presents Himself not just as Messenger but also the incarnate Message.
Know that this God is passionate about revealing Himself to you in Christ. God becoming flesh is the ultimate demonstration in time and space of the love of God. That this One would then die in our place for evil and human brokenness is almost too much to fathom. That this same Word incarnate is then raised tangibly from the dead and promises us the same is a glory and love we can never understand…only respond to and be thankful for.
These are but a few (a short list) that we will explore in the days to come.
Name above all names
The Alpha and the Omega
Author and Perfector of Faith
Wisdom of God
Image of God
Captain of Salvation
Head of the Church
Lord of the Living and the Dead
Only Begotten Son
Light of the World
Sun of Righteousness
Savior of the Body
Word of Life
Prince of Peace
Bread of Life
Prince of Life
Lord of Lords
Lord of Glory
Lord of Righteousness
Lord of the Church
Lord God Almighty
King of Kings
This just scratches the surface.
In an age that would deconstruct such a One (every Christmas season in Newsweek and Time); and a commercialized Christendom that would make The Living One “commemorative” or part of some formula for personal salvation alone, these potent “names” for the Living One stand outside calling for depth, relationship and new ways of seeing reality and the Love of God.
If your church is hungry for in-depth study of, and meditation on Jesus feel free to contact me via email and I’ll get right back with you. Weekly series for exploration are available in the Santa Cruz area. Weekend seminars are available to churches or groups in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area.