1. His Supremacy Through Redemption (1-8)
The apostle rejoices to hear of redemption- the spread and increase of Gospel fruit- in Colossae. It has taken hold of those who were bound in fear, bitterness, and hatred, and produced a new community centered on Jesus Christ, and marked by His vital love.
2. His Supremacy Through Reconciliation (9-23)
The apostle unpacks the glories of reconciliation, which have to do with cleansing, inheritance, and a new mode of “Kingdom being,” a walk of faith that goes beyond personal religious experience, producing a community which manifests His reconciliatory wisdom and grace together. This is the direct result of the Body’s vital connection with the Head Himself, Whose pre-eminence is ever increasing in their gatherings and day-to-day living. The community’s vital connection with the Head is what brings about the demonstration of His supremacy in their secret, familial, and corporate life.
The same wisdom that He demonstrated perfectly and ultimately at the cross (death which results in the release of Life), is to be reiterated and reemphasized through the Church itself. This the apostles demonstrated before the congregations (“you saw what manner of men we were,” “poured out as a drink offering,” “death works in me, so life in you”), and they called the saints to follow suit.
“As Head of the Church He is in an organic relationship, for the Church shares His very life, just as the limbs share a common life with the head. He is, further, the directing and controlling power to which the limbs must submit. Indeed that which gives them their unity as a body, and enables them to function purposefully, is the control of the Head. So true unity and effective endeavour in the body of Christ are due, not to a reorganization of the members, but to a renewed obedience to the divine Head.
….He is the beginning in relation to the Church. This refers not only to His being first in time, but also to His being the very fount of the Church’s life.
…. The purpose of God is that the Son who is eternally supreme may, in the realm of time and in the sphere of revelation, become pre-eminent. This pre-eminence is to be as wide in scope as it is possible to be. He is to be supreme in all respects, and at every point. Lord of creation and Lord of His Church, He must be Lord in the lives of His own, with a sovereignty which brooks no rival.” (Tyndale NT Comm. on Colossians & Philemon, H.M. Carson)
The glorious work of reconciliation occurs only upon the foundation of Jesus Himself, but it is the fruit of the work of the Cross and the power of the Spirit, on the paths of PRAYER (In secret, in abiding life, and with the saints), TRUE FELLOWSHIP (“…and those who believed were together“), and PROCLAMATION (“they gave themselves to the apostles teaching,” “I will meditate on Thy Law…”).
3. His Supremacy Through Proclamation (24-29)
The proclamation of Jesus Christ’s supremacy cannot be given without the glory of redemption (which creates the community), and the ever-increasing work of reconciliation (which matures and enriches the community).
His supremacy is proclaimed when His Kingdom and His worth are “walked out” in a manner “worthy of the Lord” in the real life experience of the saints. (“Christ in you, the hope of glory…”)
It is also proclaimed through foundational teaching/preaching, speaking the truth to one another in love within the community, and declaring the glorious Gospel of the cross to those who are still in darkness.
A community of believers founded upon Jesus Himself, devoted to prayer, proclamation, and true fellowship must aim for the same reality that the apostle was after; namely, “that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.” And “that we may present every man complete in Christ.”
This requires a “labor” and a “striving”, but it is “according to His power, which mightily works within” the Church as it once worked within Paul. It is thus a great glory, pulsating with Divine life, and putting His supremacy and worth on display, not merely through organizations, but through the people of God themselves.