When I was a student in InterVarsity, I attended their summer month-long School of Leadership Training. Good stuff. I wish I could go do it again now, in fact. I don't know if could share too much specifically about my time there without going back and reading journals, but I do remember one speaker encouraging us to memorize one of the big Jesus passages in John, Colossians, or Hebrews 1. I recall that I chose Colossians because it was the shortest. Awesome, I know. I must have been quite the inspirational leader!
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I give that intro to highlight that we have a lot to learn about Jesus from the chunk of Scripture in which we now find ourselves, Colossians 1:15-19.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
I wonder what jumped out at you as you read it yesterday, or just now. Would you share in the comments? What struck me most was the phrase all things were created by Him and for Him. Jesus is the ultimate celebrity, eh? I mean, good grief, ALL THINGS created BY and FOR Him? But I don't want to rush ahead to the end of verse sixteen. I thought I'd start in verse fifteen, see how far we can get before the blost* gets to long.
In verses 13-14 Paul was reminding the Colossians of the Gospel, as he wrapped up sharing what he's praying for them. And he changes the pronouns from 'you' to 'us':
13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.Then he launches into a hymn of praise to the Jesus. Verse 15:
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
Jesus is the image of the God we cannot see. There's something very special about Him. I'm sure, if you've been in Christian circles long enough, you've heard people talk about how humans are God's image-bearers. But as we go forward reading this passage, we'll notice that when it says here the Jesus is the image of the invisible God, we're dealing with something far greater than a simple image-bearer like you or like me.
Jesus makes the invisible God visible to us.
People touched Him, ate with Him, talked with Him, learned from Him, were changed by Him ... ARE changed by Him. The Bible says there was nothing noteworthy about his physical appearance (Isaiah 53:2.) Despite that, here, and in other parts of Scripture - John 1, Hebrews 1, and more - we're told how remarkable He was and is.
The firstborn over all creation can be a bit confusing, perhaps leading us to believe that God created Jesus first and then the rest of us. That is not what is implied, for in the proceeding verses we read that He was present at creation, not a product of it. The phrase draws attention to Jesus' supreme position. The New Bible Commentary says it better than I could:
As the firstborn, Christ is unique, being distinguished from all creation (Heb 1:6). He is both prior to and supreme over that creation since he is Lord.
In verse fifteen, Paul brings into focus Jesus' nature and position. Let's stop there and take some time to be in awe of Him, and get back into this again tomorrow.
Have a good night!
*For readers who are newer to the blog, I use the word 'blost' for 'blog post', more for how silly it is than for the fact that it's quicker to type. :)
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