Sizing Jesus up, or Lifting Jesus Up?

by Rob Tims

“A place for everything, and everything in its place.”

That is the quintessential idealistic statement.

Strive though I may for an organized life, I am falling woefully short and have generally conceded to the fact that I’ll never find a place for everything and have it in its place.

Yet there are signs of striving. The bookshelves look nice, the books arranged by set or color (I seem to be able to better recall the color of a book than its author, and it looks nicer anyway). One of our kitchen drawers is neatly organized with different compartments for different kinds of gadgets. All of my clothes are hung on the same kind of hanger, and certains kinds of clothes are hung in specific places (I have to say, this looks really nice).

And then there’s the infamous junk drawer in the kitchen, stuffed with tape measures, pens, headphones, sticky notes and play-doh. There’s also the closet my middle school boys share (In the words of Ace Ventura, “Do NOT go in there”). And why can I never seem to get my 2 year-old’s toys off the floor?

As you can see, there are two problems here. One is my desire to rightly categorize everything, and the other is my ability to organize those things accordingly. I am generally desirous of organization, but unable to execute for a variety of reasons. Partly I’m incapable. Partly there is simply too much stuff and and not enough space. Partly there are so many potential ways to categorize and organize everything that it’s paralyzing to even think about.

The Colossians had a similar struggle as they sought to make sense of Jesus. It seems that the Colossian church, as good as their reputation was, struggled to rightly categorize Jesus. Like so many do today, they wrestled with His identity in comparison with other religions or cults of the day. They felt this desire to label Him according to the same standards and methods of other religious figures, and believed they were doing so rightly.

The problem with this approach is that Jesus cannot be categorized, and that is a big point Paul is making in Colossians 1:15-20 (CSB).

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For everything was created by him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and by him all things hold together. He is also the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile everything to himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

You see, there is no one like Jesus. Jesus is a category all is own. He cannot be neatly labeled or understood in all the ways we might do with leaders, religions, and the like. So, rather than trying to size Jesus up as He compares with others, we must lift Him up in worship above all others.

Rob Tims is husband to Holly and father to Trey, Jono, Abby Jane and Luke. He’s the author of Southern Fried Faith: Confusing Christ and Culture in the Bible Belt, and manages the team behind at LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville. He writes regularly at and blogs every Friday at Forward Progress.

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