We all have a tendency to say things, mainly because we believe they are true , and launch into various arguments to defend or support that belief. How many times have you realized that what you thought was the truth actually turned out to be a half-truth or worse, untrue all together? I have asked you to read this book supporting “the truth” that you should give Christ Jesus preeminence in your life above all things and above all people, even those closest to you. Maybe we should look to see what the Bible says about the importance of Jesus and if in fact He is indeed number One above all through the whole Universe. Let’s see if what I am presenting to you is indeed the Truth. Read all the text (not just the underlined portions); at the end of the Bible verses I will be asking you to participate in an exercise involving the underlined portions.
“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He [God] has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After He [Jesus] had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” (Hebrews 1:1-3 NIV)
“But what about you? He [Jesus] asked, Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthews 16:15-16 NIV)
“He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rules or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things to heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1:15-20 NIV)
“They [Israel’s forefathers] all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them [as they crossed the wilderness in the Exodus], and that rock was Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:3-4 NIV)
“Christ was truly God. But He did not try to remain equal with God. Instead He gave up everything and became a slave, when He became like one of us. Christ was humble. He obeyed God and even died on a cross. Then God gave Christ the highest place and honored His name above all others.” (Philippians 2:6-9 LBCEV)
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He [Jesus] was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.” (John 1:1-4 NIV)
“He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him [Jesus], the world did not recognize Him.” (John 1:10 NIV)
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 NIV) pre-incarnate Jesus, the Logos, the Word, became flesh and walked this earth; many thousands participated in His ministry and hundreds were eye-witnesses to His resurrection…to reject Jesus is purely your own fabrication.
“For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made Him known.” (John 1:17-18 NIV)
“Theirs [Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and his sons] are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.” (Romans 9:5 NIV)
“Jesus Christ never changes! He is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8 LBCEV)
There are surely many verses that I have left out, but you have the idea I presenting, don’t you? You can clearly see what the bible is saying about who this Jesus really is.
As we read above, John 1:1 and 14 clearly say Jesus Christ is the Incarnate Word of God, and we see God’s Truth revealed in Jesus. “For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 NIV)
We see Jesus present at the creation of the earth, the Universe and of the first man. In Genesis 1, we see the plural name for God, Elohim, used and plural forms of other words. The Trinity, God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is creating. “Then God said, Let us make man, in our image, in our likeness,” (Genesis 1:26 NIV). The pre-incarnate Jesus created you in His likeness! If that isn’t worth dedicating your life to Him and making Him number one in your life, then I don’t know what is.
Let’s take things another step.
Hagar, the Egyptian maidservant of Sarai, Abram’s wife, is visited by “the angel of the Lord”, who announced her pregnancy with Ishmael. Hagar called the angel of the Lord, God…God in the form of an angel (Genesis 16:13). Another event, Moses and the burning bush might support this. The angel of the Lord appeared to Moses (Exodus 3:2) in the flames of the burning bush; then in just 2 verses we read that God called Moses from the burning bush (Exodus 3:4). There are many more places where the angel of the Lord reveals Himself leading many a scholar to say the angel is the Lord Himself. Now comes Jesus as He is talking to the Jews about God and Abraham says “Though you [the Jews] do not know Him [God], I know Him [God].” (John 8:55 NIV). Then Jesus went on to say “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58 NIV). Jesus is claiming to be “Lord”. Could it be that every occasion where “the angel of the Lord” appeared throughout the Old Testament, that it was Jesus the Christ?
Though I have taught an Adult Sunday School class for some 30 years and having some level of understanding of the Bible, the book you are reading is not intended to become a intellectual defense of the Bible; the Bible, God’s Holy Word, can defend itself. The Bible has held up to tremendous intellectual scrutiny for many many centuries. Many a skeptic, in attempts to debunk the Bible, have found themselves convicted by it’s Truth, altered forever by it’s power and truth to become believers themselves.
Please go back through the above underlined Bible verses in this Chapter and reread those underlined portions two times. The first time, read the underlined portions quickly, running from one to another, quickly so that it all melts together; now reread again, slow this time, concentrating on each word, slowly, let there be some time for God to talk back to you…listen…what is God is saying to you as you reread these underlined portions?
You should be able to now answer the original question for yourself; does the Bible say Jesus is number One? For me, I say that it is very clear that Jesus Christ is fully God (and fully man), and that the earth and the whole Universe were created by Jesus Christ, along with the physical laws that hold the Universe together. Though we do not deserve it nor have we earned it, our sins and fallen state have been reversed by Jesus, which allows us to be held blameless before God. We were created in the image of Christ Jesus and through Him we have earthly life, and by His blood and sacrifice and conquering death himself, we will have life everlasting.
In the book of James, chapter 4 verse 14 we see James, the brother of Jesus, asking: What is your life? And then answering, you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. A mist! You and I are a mist! A mist isn’t much. A mist doesn’t last long in the hot Oklahoma summer sun! That’s it? Are you feeling of no consequence…not so fast…let’s read Psalm 56:8 (LBCEV) “You [God] have kept record of my days of wandering. You have stored my tears in Your bottle and counted each of them.” Wait a minute, let’s get things straight here…I’m nothing but a mist and yet God cares enough about me as an individual to count each and everyone of my tears? How can this be? There is only one answer for this one…God really really loves me! I’m a child of God and thus I’m of tremendous value to God.
Based on all this, you can draw only one conclusion; Jesus Christ is number One in the Bible, in the world, in the Universe and throughout heaven! You must give Jesus the preeminence in your life, that is, put Jesus first above all things and all people; this is what the real meaning of being “a new creation” is…it is not just some slogan passed around Christian circles. To become a new creation is to hand over your life to the One that gave you life everlasting, Jesus the Christ, and become “a child of God”, a joint heir to the very Kingdom of God.
“The Lord and the Spirit are one and the same, and the Lord’s Spirit sets us free. So our faces are not covered. They show the bright glory of the Lord, as the Lord’s Spirit makes us more and more like our glorious Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:17+18 LBCEV)
Giving Jesus the preeminence in your life, how can there be any other response once you realize this Truth?
All of this is energized afresh within me when I see 11:11 on my digital clocks. I don’t worship the number…the number on the clock is nothing more than a reminder, like tying a string around your finger to remind yourself of something to be done. No, I am reminded that Christ Jesus is number One in my life, number One in the world, number One in the Universe, and number One in heaven; four number ones…11:11.