In Colossians 1:14 Paul writes that our redemption through Christ assured the forgiveness of sin and deliverance from the dominion of darkness to the kingdom of light. Now, if you’re like most, you automatically think of who Jesus is to accomplish such a thing.
Without pause, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he answers the question of who Jesus is in the verses that follow. The Bible goes to great lengths to explain who God is. Not because He needs to justify Himself to us, but because He desires for us to have a relationship with Him. He reveals Himself to us, in order for us to know Him.
And, because Jesus is the Only Way to our Heavenly Father, it is vitally important that we know who Jesus is, if we are to know The Father. With this said, let us look at 7 truths about Jesus from Colossians 1:15-23.
Jesus is the image of the invisible God (v 15)
Reading this description of Jesus, I think of His Words to Philip in John 14:9, where He says that anyone who has seen Him has seen the Father. Jesus came to be the physical embodiment of our invisible God, who no one has seen. In this way, He brought the Father closer to humanity that He has ever been.
The expression “like father, like son” comes to mind here, does it not? It is not to say a child is their parent and vice versa, but when the resemblance is striking, or when they have an identical character, we often see the father reflected through the son.
Unlike our earthly fathers though, Christ is the exact image of the Father. He is not a duplicate, or a copy that may or may not fully resemble the real thing. He is the image of the Father.
Hebrew 1:3 says it this way:
“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power.”
This verse solidifies what we are reading here in Colossians 1:15. Jesus Christ is the exact imprint of God the Father in every way. He is the exact stamp of our Heavenly Father, bearing His image and full nature.
Jesus is the firstborn over all creation (v 15)
We can be tempted to read this as saying that Jesus had a beginning. So, let’s stop before our English grammar gets the best of us and fully understand what is being said here in light of other Scriptures. A few references for us to look at are John 1:1-3, which spoke of the Word existing in the beginning, the Word which became flesh. We also have Jesus’ own words in John 8:58, where He makes a bold proclamation that before Abraham was, He is.
I hope you see the language here. Jesus IS. He did not come to exist at one point. As the Father told Moses “I AM”, Jesus has boldly made the same statement. He said “I AM”, denoting His eternal nature.
So then what does this mean? Well, Jesus is above all things in creation. He is first. This is His place, His standing in the world order of all things.
Jesus is Creator of all things in heaven and on earth (v 16)
Does the word supreme come to mind, or did your brain freeze and the best it came up with was WOW! Mine did. I was absolutely blown away by this verse. He is also the all-powerful God.
I couldn’t help but think of how noble a task it was for Adam to name the animals. The Bible tells us that he exercised dominion over the animal kingdom by naming every animal. For a moment, think of this. Our forefather Adam named all of the animals. Yet, Jesus made all of them; and not only did He create the animals and everything that exists in this world, He also created everything that exists in heaven. And without a doubt, heaven is a far more beautiful and amazing place than this world is.
Jesus is the rightful Lord over all creation (v 16)
Everything was not only created through Him, everything was created for Him. No wonder He is Lord over it all. He made it all, and it was all made for Him.
Jesus is before all things and by Him all things hold together (v 17)
In my years of teaching I remember one role that all students liked to play: line leader. It meant that they would come first and they loved being first. At times, it even meant that a child would push another out of the way to be first.
Before frowning at the children, I’m afraid we are not much different in adulthood. We love to be the one to receive a promotion, or the one being recognized. Sadly, we occasionally even push others out of the way to shine the light on our own accomplishments.
Colossians 1:17 paints a different picture for us, a more beautiful image. Jesus is undoubtedly a different kind of leader. He is not only above all creation, but He also sustains it all. The best way my teacher brain can think of this is seeing Him as both “line leader” and “door holder” at the same time. It is not an arrogant, selfish attitude, but a responsible, ever-loving character that we see in Jesus.
Jesus is the head of the body, the church (v 18)
After reading all of these descriptions of Christ, we can get filled with awe with Him while at the same time feel ashamed to come near Him. I mean, how can we feel genuinely connected to everything the apostle Paul has described to us thus far?
Colossians 1:18 serves as that reassurance for me. This Jesus, while He is God, Lord, all-powerful, is also our Jesus. We can be affectionately connected to Christ because He is not just an above all Lord. He is the head of the church, that’s us! Christ is not out of reach after all, nor is He unrelatable. We are a part of His church, His body.
If you think of our body, this analogy hits home. Our heads provide direction for our whole body. Most of our senses are housed there. Our brain is also encased inside that head of ours. Yet, the head is not disconnected from the body. To the contrary, every member of the body is important, and important to the head. We are integral parts of God’s plan for eternity. Though He is God Himself, Jesus has accomplished the work of bringing us into His own family, His own body.
Jesus is the beginning, the firstborn from among the dead (v 18)
In all things, Scripture tells us Christ came to have supremacy. He became the first among the dead, that even in resurrection He would be the first.
Jesus walked through the shadow of the valley of death. He endured death for us, so that we can be reconciled to our Heavenly Father and through His sacrifice we became a part of His body, the church. And, so that in all things He can remain the head, the preeminent part.
THIS POST IS PART OF A SERIES ON COLOSSIANS. READ THE OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES HERE.