“He Is Before All Things”
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. 19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
Throughout everything he writes, Paul intends to show that Christ is preeminent (Surpassing all others, having a paramount rank) Being first and foremost in everything and that the Christian life should reflect that priority. Putting Jesus first!
Now, when it comes to relationships, it’s dangerous to expect one person to meet all your needs. That’s just not going to happen. But what if all of our spiritual needs could be met in One person? Actually…a God-person, Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul was writing to a young church in Colossae that had a lot of confusion over what it meant to follow God. And Paul set the record straight. He said, it’s all about Jesus. The word “Christian” means “little Christ.” If you want to be a Christian, you’re going to follow Jesus Christ. And Paul told these believers--and us today--that Jesus is pre-eminent… that is, Jesus comes first. Colossians chapter 1 mentions six specific characteristics of Christ. First…
Jesus is... 1. The image of the invisible God - I can get to know God through Him.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
Paul writes in verse 15, “The Son is the image of the invisible God...” The Greek word here for "image" is "icon." I was raised to think that icons were evil, that they only referred to pictures or statues that people worshipped as idols. Yet, here Jesus is called an icon. An icon is an exact replication, or a perfect copy. Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God.
Hebrews 1:3 puts it like this…
Hebrews 1:3a (NIV)
3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being.
John 1:18 (NIV)
18 No one has ever seen God, but the One and only Son, who is Himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made Him known.
Here’s what it all means… All the fulness of God dwells in Jesus. Paul was trying to clear up some false doctrine from a group called the “Gnostics.” They used the word “fulness” to refer to a combination of all supernatural influences. But Paul borrowed their own word to elevate Christ above all religious ideas.
As one child put it, “Jesus is God with skin on.” The implication is clear, if you want to get to know God, get to know the Jesus of scripture. Read through the gospels. You can easily read through the story of Mark’s gospel in one sitting. See what Jesus cared about, how He looked after the children, the sick, the oppressed, how He talked down to people who claimed to be religious but were really living a lie, how He consistently rooted for the underdog, how He loved everyone. When you see Jesus, you see the heart of God. Jesus is also...
2. The voice of all creation - I can trust any problem to Him.
The last part of verse 15 describes Christ as “the Firstborn over all creation.” The word “firstborn” here doesn’t mean that Jesus was created. No, He’s God. That was the first point. God creates, and everything else is creation. Jesus--God in the flesh--is highest over-all. “Firstborn” then referred to a place of honor more than an order of birth. For instance, Jacob was given the status of “firstborn” over his older brother Esau. Here Jesus has the place of honor in ALL creation.
Also, I will make Him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth.
16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
The voice at creation is the voice of Jesus. As the Son of God—God, in the flesh--He has always been in coexistence with God. We call His Old Testament pre-birth experiences the pre-incarnate Christ. Pretty crazy to think about, I know. But who do you think that was who walked in the coolness of the day with Adam or Eve? Who was that fourth Person in the fiery furnace with Daniel’s three friends Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego?
Here’s the point… If Jesus is over all creation, that means nothing is too big for Him to handle! Nothing. You can trust any problem to Jesus, and He can handle it. All of creation is His… He can handle your relationship problem. He knows your medical condition. He knows what you’re worried about. Trust it to Jesus. And Jesus is, #3...
3. The Source of my existence - I can give my worries to Him…
17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.
Jesus not only spoke the creation into being. He also maintains the universe. He is Creator and Sustainer. He holds it all together. I think of Him as “the source of my existence.” Jesus brings a singular focus to my life. Because He holds all things together, I can give Him my worries. You can too, if you believe!
4. The leader of the church - I can commit The Fil-Am Baptist Mission church to Him. After all this is His church!
18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
Paul’s favorite allegory for the church is the human body. He uses it several times in scripture. The point here is that Jesus is the brains of the church. He is the head. He is in charge. Now you and I have been in some churches where Jesus is not the head. That’s a sad picture indeed, it’s a sick, dysfunctional church or maybe not a church at all!
Since Christ is the head of the church, then I can commit this church to Him. It’s not really my church, or yours… it’s His church. The church is the spiritual body of Christ. We are all different, yet one in and through Christ Jesus, the brains of the operation. As we commit this church to Him, Jesus will bring the growth however He wants. And #5, Jesus is...
5. The standard for eternal life - I can trust Him for life forever.
The second half of verse 18 says, “He… the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence”. The Bible calls Jesus the second Adam. The first Adam sinned and led the human race toward destruction. The second Adam lived without sin and led the human race toward redemption. Jesus died a physical death, yet His spirit lived on. God raised Him from the dead and gave Him a resurrection body. He walked around the earth for about 40 days, showing up here and there, recognizable most of the time, sometimes not, eating fish along with the rest, to prove He wasn’t a ghost. Then He departed for heaven, His permanent home. And--get this…Jesus became the first human body to enter heaven. Lots of souls there who will get new bodies later, but Jesus is the first to have a body there now. Lastly, Jesus is...
6. The payment for our sins - I can be right with God through Him. (Jesus)
19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
“For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.” That is, you and I church!!! God reconciles us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This reconciliation is available to every human being, though only some will accept it. Sadly…many will not! And it was accomplished as Jesus hung on the cross, taking on your punishment and mine. Through Jesus’ blood came forgiveness.
Pastor and author Tim Keller says, “Our real problem is that every one of us is building our identity on something besides Jesus.” I hope you see today that Jesus is not just part of our life, He IS our life! Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the very essence of God in the flesh, constant companion and guide, and atonement for our sins. We can be right with God through Him. As we exchange our sins for Jesus’ forgiveness, we enter God’s family.
Pastor Richard Santos
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