Jesus Christ, Preeminent: Devotional Commentary for October 15-21
15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
16For 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.
17He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
18He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.
We recall from last week's meditation how Paul prayed for the Colossians, asking that God would give them more knowledge, understanding, and wisdom regarding His Son by Whom they received redemption and the forgiveness of sins. The present passage offers a more detailed description of the deity, preeminence, and prominence of Jesus Christ the Son of God. It was necessary for the Colossians and all believers not only to have faith and love, but also to know Who Jesus Christ is. Paul wanted to encourage the Colossians by assuring them that their faith and love is rooted in Jesus Christ: the visible image of the invisible God.
In other words, the faith and love of the Christian is anchored in God through Jesus Christ. This fundamental truth must be known and understood by all who call upon the Name of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is God revealed in person through Jesus Christ His Son. He is God's living Word made flesh. The redemption given to God's children is actually God's gracious gift of salvation through forgiveness paid for by Jesus Christ on the Cross at Calvary.
Jesus Christ was not a mere man as the Pharisees alleged. He is wholly God. He is perfect man. He is indeed the firstborn of all of creation, not the first as in a series of people or things, but the preexistent Foundation and the Source of life and being.
Before creation was ever brought into being, He is. He created everything and every being that is in heaven and on earth. God created everything both visible and invisible through Jesus Christ: the Word who was in the beginning with God and was God. All powers, authorities, and dominions were brought into being by Him for His own Purpose. All rulers are installed in their respective offices by Jesus Christ to serve God's Purpose in their capacities for which each one is created.
Jesus, not only created everything that exists, but also continues to sustain creation. Jesus indeed holds everything together. All Authority belongs to Christ. Being the Creator, He has preeminence over everything. He is the Head of the Church which He redeemed for Himself. He is the Cornerstone Who holds His Body—the Church—together as one. He is the Victor Who conquered death and became the firstfruit of the Resurrection so that those who believe in Him would also follow Him in His victory over death.
19For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him,
20and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.
Jesus was not a man born simply to reflect what God is like. Jesus' birth is actually the means by which God came into the world, having been sent by God His Father to accomplish the righteousness of God and the redemption of the lost. He is the holy living Word of God clothed in flesh. He dwelt and walked among men bringing the actual presence of God to earth in a substantive constitution of a real and true person.
It pleased God to have His living Word conceived in Mary's virgin womb and have Him born in humble surroundings as the holy and righteous Baby. He was born a real man: the Son of the Most High. But He was not a mere man. In His unsearchable Wisdom and Counsel, God determined in His sovereign discretion that He Himself would come to earth in the Messiah by having the fullness of His person and deity dwell in Jesus Christ His Son. Jesus was born Emmanuel: God with us.
Having settled the case of sin with His Son's shed blood, having reconciled the world to Himself, and having redeemed those whom He called unto salvation, God made peace with the world in Jesus Christ so that whoever believed on His Son would not perish but have life eternal. Accepting Christ's finished work is, therefore, believing in God and trusting Him in all our ways. So Paul was anxious to remind all believers including the Colossians that we must know and understand, the truth about Jesus Christ: not only what He did for us, but also Who He is: the Image of the invisible God. The fullness of God. The Son of God.
The Bible tells us that God is Spirit. God made mortal man aware of His presence by revealing Himself through various means such as: clouds, fire, audible voice, other natural phenomena, or an overwhelming glorious presence. He spoke through Prophets whom He inspired to inscribe His Word on tablets, scrolls, and books to preserve the record of what He said. When the fullness of time was accomplished according to His plan, He revealed Himself through Jesus Christ Who was born of virgin Mary a sinless, righteous, and a holy baby: the Word made flesh.
God came to earth in Jesus Christ so that a holy, perfect, and blameless sacrifice could be offered to satisfy the Law which was offended by sin. Being the only holy and righteous one, God took it upon Himself to prepare the appropriate and fitting sacrifice in Jesus Christ to have the penalty for sin paid in full. Having made Peace because the Law was fully satisfied, God reconciled the world to Himself by accepting the shed blood of His Son Jesus Christ as the propitiation for sin.
Since there is no remission for sin without the shedding of blood, God set forth His holy and righteous Son Jesus Christ on the Cross at Calvary so that Jesus Christ would have preeminence in all things on earth and in heaven being fully God and fully man yet without sin. So Paul sought to underscore that Jesus Christ is not only the object of our faith and love, but also the Son of God in Whom the fullness of God dwells.
Jesus Christ is, therefore, transcendent and immanent. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. To believe on Him and have faith in Him is wonderful. To know Him and to love Him is to live for Him and to serve Him. To know Him and to have seen Him is to Know God His Father because He is in the Father and the Father is in Him. But to understand Him is to let Him live His life in us. Faith is commendable. Love is reliable. But getting to know Jesus Christ nurtures a thriving communion with the only one Who loved us enough to die for us. Jesus Christ: our Savior, our Lord. Our Bridge over the chasm Who brought us from death to life, from darkness to light. Jesus Christ: the visible Image of the invisible God. Emmanuel: God with us, God in us.