“And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”
In the few verses before Colossians 1:17, Paul is explaining that Jesus is the creator:
“[Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him” (Colossians 1:15–16).
Then comes today’s verse:
“And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Colossians 1:17).
Not only did Jesus create all things (v 16), Paul clearly states that he existed before all things. Paul also explains that all things consist, or are held together, by Jesus.
Let’s go back to the beginning. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” John 1:1 states that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” If we jump to the end of the story, Jesus is still there (Revelation 19–22).
This is encouraging to me. In the midst of all the political, economic, and social upheaval we experienced in 2020, Jesus is still here. When it seems that everything around us is crumbling away, when nothing seems secure, Jesus is still here, holding the world together. Nothing takes God by surprise. He never says “Woah! I wasn’t expecting that to happen! Now, what are we going to do?”
Today’s verse clearly states that Jesus was before all things and he holds all things together. The question is, will you leave things in His hands and let Him do His job? Will you look to Jesus for strength when life seems to be falling apart all around you? Or, will you look to the myriad of things around you—food, friends, entertainment, etc—to hold you together, like I have so many times?
In the good times and the hard times, life is better when you trust Jesus and let Him hold you together.