by A.B. Simpson
“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:18).
“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2).
Each of Paul’s epistles has an expression peculiar to itself. The Thessalonian epistles are characterized by the advent tinge, and shine with the glory of the second coming. Ephesians is the epistle of the “heavenly places”; Philippians of the sweetness of the Christian temper; and Colossians is the portrait of Jesus, and its keynote is “Christ is all and in all.”
It is said that the celebrated artist, Dannecker, was asked by Napoleon Bonaparte to paint a Venus for the Louvre, and declined. An almost fabulous price was then offered, and he still refused. The insulted emperor, astonished that any one should refuse money, and still more that he should refuse him, demanded why he declined.
“I have painted Christ and I can never lower my brush to paint an inferior subject.”
And it had taken him half a lifetime to paint his picture of Christ. The first time he painted Him, after eight years of labor, he asked his little daughter to look at it. Uncovering the canvas he brought her in. She clapped her hands together with an expression of intense surprise and admiration. “Who do you think it is?” he asked. “Oh,” she said, “it is a great man.” His countenance fell and he took his brush and daubed the picture into a perfect wreck. “I have failed. It is not Christ.” He went to work again and toiled and prayed, and when he took the child in the next time there was not the same expression of wonder, delight and admiration, but the tears came and she stole softly up as though it were the real Christ, whispering, “Suffer the little children to come unto me.”Ah, it was Christ! The expression was there!
So there are lives that remind you of a great man, and there are others that reveal the vision of a living Savior; and they are messages that are not forgotten. All that remains is the memory of Jesus, and you feel somehow your heart burned within you as you got near the Master, and you are the better for it. Thus the epistle to the Colossians is the picture of Jesus. It reveals to us the heart of Christ.
by A.B. Simpson