Jesus Christ: God Revealed
Central to the message of Colossians is the understanding of the uniqueness, preeminence, sovereignty, divinity, and full nature of Jesus Christ. Back in the first century, there was much argument over Christ’s identity. Within the Colossae Heresy there was the notion that Jesus wasn’t really God, just a really good person. Sound familiar? Almost two thousand years later we are faced with the same false doctrine. Satan never changes his lies and rumors, he just repackages them so that they can appeal to a new generation.
Because the Colossians were facing attack against the identity of Jesus, Paul writes them a comprehensive response on the nature, person, identity, and essence of God’s one and only Son. In fact, some commentators say that this is the most comprehensive teaching on the person and deity of Jesus Christ found in one place. Therefore, let’s dive in and learn more about our great Savior!
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.”
Thus starts the power-packed six verses covering the preeminence and person of Jesus Christ. This is a mindboggling sentence! In order to try to wrap our finite minds around this infinite concept, let’s look at the literal meanings of two very important words: image and firstborn.
“Exact representation and revelation.” So reads the definition for the Greek word eikon which is used where we read the word image. Jesus is God, but He is God revealed in a way that we can see, understand, and relate to. He is righteous, just, holy, omniscient, omnipotent, divine, perfect, trustworthy, and much, much more. He is everything God is, but dwelling in the form of a man.
God is too big, too grand, too infinite, mighty, powerful, holy, and righteous for us mere mortals to behold. So He sent His only Son to the earth as a man to reveal all that He is in a way that we could see, we could touch, and we could hear. This is what it means for Christ to be “the image of the invisible God.”
The Greek word is prototokos literally means “the chief one, the one highly distinguished.” It’s a word denoting rank and title and has nothing to do with birth order. So while Jesus is the firstborn over creation, that doesn’t mean that He was created and created first. It just shows that He is above all things and in authority. This is further described and expounded upon in Colossians 1 as we read further and learn that by Him all things were created, through Him and for Him, and in Him all things hold together. The word firstborn could really be interchanged with preeminent.
Jesus Christ is the firstborn or preeminent over all creation and is the image or exact representation of God revealed. He is the One who created all things, the One for whom all things were created, the One who is holding all things together, and the One who is preeminent in all ways. Take a moment to digest all of that…
This is an awesome, powerful, worship-inducing passage and should be read and handled with great care. For herein lies an exposé of the power, glory, eternality, and divinity of Christ and—as we’ll see next week!—how He was willing to give it all up to redeem and rescue us. What a wonderful merciful Savior! So as we close today, I encourage you to go back and take your time reading through Colossians 1:15-20. Read it carefully, prayerfully, and reverently and be amazed and humbled by the character, nature, and power of Christ. He truly is worthy of all of our worship, adoration, and praise. And if you’re lost for words or understanding on what all this means, ponder the following verse, for it truly concludes and summarizes all that was stated in the verses before.
Now go and worship the Son of God, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, for He is more than worthy!
“For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.”
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