“The Incomparable Christ.”
I love that description, it resonates deeply within my soul and spirit. It is an attempted expression of the inexpressible.
Incomparable. “Unparalleled, matchless, peerless, unequaled, unrivaled, inimitable, totally different in nature or extent.” (Google dictionary online)
“…totally different in nature or extent”…that’s my Jesus. That’s your Jesus, our Jesus, our Bridegroom.
In the New American Standard version, I was surprised to find the word “incomparable” listed only once – utilized in the chapter break between Colossians 1:12 and 1:13. Thoughout the rest of the New Testament, the word that has been substituted to describe Christ (and His work in us) revolves around the word “riches.”
With a quick bit of looking, I discovered a very interesting Scriptural pattern: “Riches” is used 51 times in the Old Testament. It almost exclusively refers to the abundance of this earthly world, its currency and possessions. To Solomon, God distinguished among “riches,” “wealth,” and “honor.” (2 Chron. 1:11-12) In Proverbs 8:18, Wisdom states, “Riches and honor are with me, enduring wealth and righteousness.” (NASB) Four distinctions.
Jesus addressed the heart-condition of loving mammon or serving mammon, rather than God, several times. Scripture records Him using the word “riches” only twice in reference to earthly currency and possessions: In Mark 4:19 He refers to “the deceitfulness of riches,” and Luke 8:14records Him discussing the “worries and riches and pleasures of this life.” Both Scriptures are explaining the parable of the sower and the seed.
Then there is a turning point in which Jesus asks this question: “Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you?” (Luke 16:11, NASB)
The Sword of the Spirit came down, straight and true, piercing the division of soul and spirit…wealth and riches. Two concepts, often used interchangeably, became as clearly different as dark and Light. The “wealth” of the worldly kingdom would not suffice as the “true riches” of the heavenly one.
From Luke 16 through Revelation 5, the concept of “riches” is expounded upon, given a Kingdom context:
Romans 2:4 – “…the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience…”; Romans 9:23 – “…the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory…” ; Romans10:12 – “…the same Lord is lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him…”; Romans 11:33– “…the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God…”; Ephesians 1:7 – “…the riches of His grace…”; Ephesians 1:18 “…the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints…”; Ephesians 2:7 – “surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus…”; Ephesians 3:8 – “…the unfathomable riches of Christ…”; Ephesians 3:16 – “…the riches of His glory…”; Philippians 4:19 – “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus…”; Colossians 1:27 – “…the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory….”; Revelation 5:12 – “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”
Redefinition, paradigm shift: Kingdom riches, for Kingdom living. For a Kingdom people, His people.
Let me return to Colossians 1:13, where we started: “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and 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 in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach….keep seeking the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God…” (Colossians 1:13-22, 3:1-3 NASB)
We who know Him may or may not possess “wealth”….but we do possess riches. Just as Peter did, when he said to the crippled man, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene – walk!” (Acts 3:6, NASB)
Just as Stephen did when he cried out in his moment before death, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit…Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:59,60, NASB)
Totally different in nature or extent.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10, NASB)
He is Incomparable. Truly.