15 The Son is the image of the invisible God,
the one who is first over all creation,
16 Because all things were created by him:
both in the heavens and on the earth,
the things that are visible and the things that are invisible.
Whether they are thrones or powers,
or rulers or authorities,
all things were created through him and for him.
17 He existed before all things,
and all things are held together in him.
18 He is the head of the body, the church,
who is the beginning,
the one who is firstborn from among the dead
so that he might occupy the first place in everything.
If you attended Sunday School in your youth, you may remember learning the acronym JOY- Jesus, Others, You. We learned that Jesus should always be first in our lives, then we should think about others, and lastly ourselves.
We know that this can be a challenge and a sacrifice at times, but this passage reminds us that Jesus was and is first in all things. He was present for and took part of the creation of everything (v.15 and John 1:1). All things were made for Jesus. That includes all of us, of course. We know that Jesus – even though He had everything – sacrificed and became human so He could have our human experience. Then He sacrificed His human life with great pain to become the first over the dead (v18), rising from the dead so that we may experience an eternal relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Eternal isn’t just sometime out there, but it is in the here and now as well.
We may never be asked to sacrifice our life for another person, but we read stories of those who do almost daily. We are however asked to sacrifice something. Our sacrifices may be small or large as we have learned in recent sermons, but they all matter. What may seem like a small sacrifice to one person, can be a major sacrifice for another, and I am not just referring to monetary sacrifices. Opening a door for someone or looking someone in the eye and smiling may be very difficult for someone with social anxiety, but it could also change someone’s entire day, week, or life. We sometimes don’t know what our sacrifices can do for others. We can do something for others with the confidence that God will use it in that other person’s life. Jesus can help direct us to the sacrifices we are expected to make, and He will also help us complete them. We just need to remember JOY will guide us and in doing so, we will find joy in following Jesus.
by Janet Waryck
For Pondering & Prayer
As we continue through Lent, let’s try every day, then every day thereafter, to look for small sacrifices to make for Jesus and others. Where do you think you would like to start?
Prayer: Lord over all things, please help us to find joy by putting Jesus ahead of all else in our lives. Amen.
As We Begin Lent
For our Lent series this year, we’ll be using the Adam Hamilton book Luke: Jesus and the Outsiders, Outcasts, and Outlaws. At his website, you can find a 40-day reading plan to help you read through the Gospel of Luke during Lent. And join us for worship, in-person or online, at 9:00 & 10:30 every Sunday.