The final passage in which Paul address the unifying power of Jesus’ blood is Colossians 1.20. the verse occurs at the end of the great Christ hymn in verses 15-20 that celebrates the supremacy of Christ over all things, both in salvation and in creation. The passage falls into three parts. Verses 15-16 celebrate Jesus’ preeminence cosmically, in both the natural and the supernatural realms. Verses 17-18a form a transition, summarizing what precedes and introducing what follows. Then, from 18b to 20, the hymn celebrates our Lord’s preeminence as the God-man in the new creation.
Understanding Colossians 1.20 depends, in part, on understanding the Old Testament’s view of kingdom. One element of that concept is important. The books of Samuel and Kings particularly present this idea. In sum it is this: as the king goes, so goes the kingdom. Anyone familiar with these books will immediately see the point, and only a few remarks will be necessary.
The first two kings set the pattern. Saul’s attitude to the ark is a good starting point: he effectively ignored it throughout his reign. First Samuel mentions it only once in the story of Saul, in 14.18. I Samuel 14.47-48 give the overall estimation of his kingship. From a human point of view, he was a great success. But from God’s, he was a failure, and the single reference to the ark, that symbolizes Israel’s relationship to God, in 14.18 signals this failure. The covenant’s basic commandment is to love God wholeheartedly. Yet from the early days of the eleventh century B.C. until the time of David, the ark languished, away from the corporate life of the nation and from attention of Yahweh’s anointed. His great failures (1 Sam 13 and 15) were simply expressions of his neglect of the Lord.
By contrast, the books present David as one who sought to bring this covenant symbol to the very center of national life and of his rule. David’s successes as king stand contrasted with the collapse of Saul’s rule.
In the next study we will draw out implications for Colossians 1.20 and the Lord’s Supper.