He is the image of the invisible God
Colossians 1:1-17 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
3 We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel 6 which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth; 7 just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, 8 and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit.
9 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.
13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 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. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
In today’s text, speaking of Jesus, it says: He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. This of course is much more than that Jesus is the physical likeness of God. In Philippians 2:5-11 it says: Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. In today’s text it says: 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. Jesus is eternal. He was with God from the beginning. He only took on the appearance of a man for a short time. In Revelation 1:8 it says: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Jesus was the image of God even before there were people.
In the same way that we should not focus on the physical image of Jesus as a man, what he looked like, neither should we understand that what we know of Him for the brief time He was in a human body is the full representation of God. God is omnipresent. He is everywhere. No human body could fully contain Him. Many people focus on the life of Christ, how He interacted with people, His love and compassion, His mercy, grace and forgiveness, and say that those qualities, those characteristics are the full representation of the image of God. Those indeed are qualities and characteristics of God. But in truth, we need to remember that Jesus did not come as some would suggest, to show us how to live. Jesus came to die for our sins so that we can live. God’s love is not demonstrated by how Jesus lived. It is demonstrated by how He died. Romans 5:8 says: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. John 3:16 says: God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. God’s love, His compassion, His mercy and grace may indeed have been displayed in the life of Christ. But His love, His mercy, His grace; His righteousness, holiness and justice are demonstrated and displayed in His death.
How then should we live? Should we model our lives after Jesus, living lives of love and compassion? Of course we should. But in today’s text it tells us how else we should live. That you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. 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. We are to be examples of the love of God by also being examples of His light, His righteousness, His holiness and justice. Our love and compassion should have the goal of showing them the demonstration of God’s love and the “Passion of Christ”, that He died for our sins so that we could live; forgiven and redeemed.
We need to remember that the Lord is the: Alpha and the Omega, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. The Lord Jesus who is to come will not look like the Lord who came 2000 years ago. Revelation 19:11-16 says: I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
Revelation 22:12-21 says: “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying. I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star. The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.