Colossians: It’s All About Jesus (Image and Firstborn)

Hello Friends,

How are you doing? Did you enjoy the Solar Eclipse last week?! I was able to watch it, with the proper glasses of course, from the backyard of the parsonage. It was so cool to experience nighttime during the middle of the day: the outside lights on the church turned on, the birds hushed their singing, frogs were croaking, and I was able to see two twinkling lights up in the sky–I think they were planets. I took a few photos and a video to commemorate this special event. What did you do when the sun went dark? I can’t wait for the next one to happen in 2044! I am already making plans!

For the next few weeks, I invite you to join me on an adventure of finding out who Jesus is. Who is Jesus to you? Is he friendly? Is he nice? Is he mean and scary? Is he there for you? Is he funny and always smiling? Is he comforting and strong? Who is Jesus to you? To answer this question, I am going to rely on my friend Paul to help us answer this question. So, let’s begin…

Welcome to the book of Colossians! The apostle Paul wrote this letter to a group of Jewish and Gentile Christians, reminding them of who Jesus is in their every-day life. Even as Paul was in chains, either in Rome or in Ephesus, he communicated the joy of living under the reign of King Jesus. The church in Colossae was struggling with what they believed, so Paul encouraged them with good Christology. But this theological correction did not stand independent of their everyday life, rather, he used it to inform and shape how they should live.

Now, I used some pretty big and adult words in the above paragraph, so let me explain. Often when we hear “theology” we often understand it to mean “the basis for right living”, which is not wrong. However, theology means “the study of God and who God is”, which could help us live rightly before His very eyes. In other words, our views about God naturally effect how we live, what we do, and what we say. In Paul’s letter to the people of Colossae, Paul is making the case that the people need to begin living rightly before God, and to do so, Paul needs the people to know who Jesus is because knowing Jesus helps us understand who God is. Therefore, the letter to the Colossians is truly “All About Jesus!”

There are six major Christological statements in the next few verses that build to a dramatic conclusion, and we will spend several weeks looking at each one. Here is another adult word: “Christology.” Christology is the study of the life, work, and person of Jesus. So, for this week, the Christology of Jesus that we will focus on comes from Colossians 1:15: “Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.”

Colossians 1:15a: Jesus is the mirrored representation of the invisible God. As humans, we were created in
the image of God (Genesis 1:26–27), meaning that we were made to have a connection with God and called to reflect God: to live like, act like, and be like God. But since the day sin entered the world, the image we bear has been twisted. Because of sin we sometimes don’t reflect God’s nature. We do bad things, we don’t listen to our parents, we get our siblings in trouble, we don’t clean our rooms when our parents ask us nicely to do so, and sometimes we don’t always say nice things. To help us not follow sin, God gave us Jesus; and Paul is using this reality to highlight the significance of Jesus: that Jesus is the perfect Image of God. This means that Jesus is the one who is going to bring about the new creation of those image bearers (see also: John 1:1–18; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Hebrews 1:3). This means that as Jesus is the perfect image of God, when He saves us we are made new and transformed into Jesus’ likeness. This truth reminds us that Jesus restores us back into who we were created to be!

This also means that when people saw Jesus, they saw God. Jesus is the image of the invisible God. Throughout Scripture, we are told that no one can see the face of God: God was covered by clouds, light, glory, or used his creation–like a burning bush–to communicate to His people. Because of Jesus, not only are we able to be restored and saved, but we get the wonderful opportunity to witness–to get a glimpse of–what God may look like and how God may have behaved while on earth. Jesus makes the invisible God visible for all of us to see!

Colossians 1:15b: Next, Paul wrote something that has caused some to believe that Jesus was created: “[Jesus] is the firstborn over all creation.” But it’s important to see that “firstborn” is not a reference to Jesus being created but to his position over creation. The key word is “over,” that he is “firstborn over
all creation” means that he is supreme over all things. Jesus outranks all things. In fact, the point of this phrase is to distinguish him from creation, not tie him to creation. Combined with the context of the following verse, we see that Jesus was before all things and is King over all things. Even though Jesus
humbled himself and took on flesh, He is still the God who is worthy of all praise, adoration, and glory (Philippians 2:5–11). Simply put, Jesus is over all things because he is the Son of God. Jesus is powerful. Jesus has authority. Jesus is Wonderful, the Prince of Peace, the Everlasting, and the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Nothing compares to Jesus, not even the angels. Jesus is above all things!

Conclusion: So, who is Jesus? Jesus is the image of the invisible God who helps us see God and who restores us to the image that God created us to be. And Jesus is the firstborn over all creation, which means he is supreme, powerful, and mighty, and nothing can compare to him. Next week, we will look at another characteristic of Jesus; but in the meantime, keep asking yourself, “Who is Jesus to me?”

Your Friend, Holy Spirit!

Lesson Borrowed from Cottonwood Creek Church:


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