He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
“He is the image of the invisible God, …,”
We come to a grand and lofty section of Colossians. The Holy Spirit presents the Son of God in all his towering preeminence.
Verses 15-20 presents the glory of Christ. Jesus is unique in seven distinct ways. These distinctives qualify him to have supremacy (v.18). In seven strokes, the Holy Spirit sets forth the imposing superiority of the Son of God:
The Image of God
The Firstborn Over All Creation
Creator of the Universe
Head of the Church
Firstborn from the Dead
The Fullness of God
The Reconciler of all Things
These qualities are why he is King Jesus, the sovereign King of the world.
We can also view His superiority by seven descriptions:
He is the image of God
He has priority over all creation
He is the Creator
He antedated everything and everyone
He personally holds the universe together
He is the Lord of the church.
He is the originator of the church by rising from the dead.
“He is the image of the invisible God”
First, Christ is the image of the invisible God. “Image” means more than that Jesus is like God; he is the representative and manifestation of God. “Image” denotes not only the image but pattern, the original which sets forth likeness or resemblance of God. Jesus represents the Father, like the picture on a dollar bill represents the President (Heb 1:3). If we have seen Jesus, we have seen the Father (John 1:14;14:9). He is not made in the image of God as man is made in the image of God. He is the “express image” of God (Heb 1:3). Since he is God, he reflects all that God is.
The “Son” is the exact image, not the derived image of God. He does not merely resemble but represents God (Rom 8:29; 1 Cor. 15:29). He has all the essence of deity. He is sovereign, eternal life, omniscience, omnipotence, immutability, etc. He is God himself (2 Cor. 4:4). The Son is essentially and eternally the image of God. We see God best in the person of Christ. He is the highest form of special revelation. We see God in Christ like we see images from rays of light. The Son is the revealer of God.
His image is that of the “invisible God.” The Son is the only person of the trinity manifest to man (John 1:18; 6:46; 1 Tim 6:16; 1 John 4:12). He is the revealer of the trinity. God is perfectly seen in Christ.
“Image” implies that there is a prototype of which the image is a copy. As a Son to the Father, he is an exact derived reproduction of God (Heb 1:3; Phil 2:6). The next verse demonstrates that Paul is speaking of the Son as prior to all creation.
Jesus is all of God that we will ever see (John 10:30; 14:9; Col. 2:9).
The Lord Jesus is the great, grand, and glorious theme of Scripture. He is both the center and the circumference of the Word of God. The Old Testament predicted his coming, the gospels announced that he came, the remaining Scriptures predict his coming again. Delete the Lord Jesus from the Bible. You have a theme without a plot, music without harmony, and a car without a motor. In this passage, Jesus is set forth in all his towering superiority.
Jesus stands set apart from David, Solomon, John, Peter, and Paul. He is incomparable to any human being. He is far removed from a simple human being. To put Jesus on the same level with men infuriates God, “And a cloud came and overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” (Mark 9:7). Peter, James, and John had just made a comparison of Jesus with Moses and Elijah. The Son is absolutely unique and shares his glory with no man.
Are you beginning to realize how wonderful the Lord is?