The image of God

15 The Son 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 have been created through 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.

Colossians 1 vs. 15-20

The following extract is from the Christian Focus ‘Focus on the Bible’ series of commentaries- Colossians and Philemon by John Woodhouse.

“It is as though to reveal the astonishing significance of this redemption and forgiveness (vs.13-14) that Paul now starkly says that this Son is the image of the invisible God.

On the one hand, this means that God, whom no one can see, was visibly represented in the person of Jesus Christ. It was not simply that Jesus taught about God. He was himself the ‘image’, the visible, tangible, representation of God himself. As Jesus himself said, ‘Whoever has seen me has seen the Father’ (John 14:9)

On the other hand, we must remember that ‘the image of God’ is what mankind was created to be. ‘In the image of God he created him; male and female he created them’ (Genesis 1:27). Human beings have had a long history of falling short of what we were intended to be, but without qualification, without any exaggeration whatever, Paul can say of Jesus that he is ‘the image of God’. He is the exact representation of God and the perfect realisation of humanity: ‘the image of the invisible God.’

More than that, he is the firstborn of all creation. It would not have been inappropriate to describe Adam as the ‘firstborn of all creation’, not of course in the sense that he was the first created thing. He was not. According to Genesis 1 he was the culmination of creation. Genesis 1emphasises the priority of mankind (Hebrew adam) in that they were to have dominion over all things. All things were created, in an important sense, for the benefit of mankind. We might say that all creation was given to mankind as his inheritance. The word ‘firstborn’ has this sense of priority, not necessarily referring to time, but more specifically to status and rank, perhaps with connotations to do with inheritance.”

Let us ‘fix our eyes’ on this Jesus today and every day for in doing so we fix our eyes on God.

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