15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in 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.
In the ESV
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And 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, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
The book I'm using
God....see by us in Christ. Seriously. See Christ..see God.
Know Christ...Know God. That's what this passage hollers out at me.
- the image of the God we can't see
- the firstborn of all creation - hmm... this implies that he was created, but I know he wasn't created since he was there right at the beginning, so this must mean something else. It must mean positioning. So Christ is the MOST important in the world. He is more important than anything that is created. It means that he has the position of authority over all of creation.
- the one by whom all things were created (ergo his position of authority). See the list of things he created: the visible and invisible, powers, thrones, authorities, rulers.... so not just stuff, but other positions of authority as well. it all came about through Christ.
- before everything else.
- the one who holds it all together.
- the head of the church
- the beginning
- the firstborn from the dead
- he is preeminent in all things: living or dead
- The one in whom the fullness of God dwells
- The one through whom God reconciles himself to all things whether on earth or in heaven
- the one who DIED for us.
Rather mind boggling if one chooses to think on it. Consider This seriously for just a moment about who Christ really is.
And so often I forget to think about it.
I am so humbled.
So very mindful of my sinfulness before who Christ is.
So reminded of just who GOD himself is.
Questions from the book
- How would the Colossians' view of Jesus Christ be altered through knowing he is the "the image of the invisible God' and the "firstborn of all creation'? How does this affect the way we view the world we live in on the one hand, and Jesus on the other?
- Bearing in mind the ideas about the unseen world of spiritual powers that were creeping into the situation in Colossae, why does Paul go on to emphasize Christ's authority over the invisible as well as the visible realm of creation?
- How does the statement about Christ that 'he is before all things and in him all things hold together' reinforce what Paul has been saying in the previous two verses? how might people - both Christian and non-Christian - react to that assertion today?
- How does Paul describe what Jesus is in relation to his church? Was this the way he was understood by the Colossians and is this how he is regarded by the average Christian today?
- What light does Paul shed on the greatness of the salvation promised in the gospel through what he says here about the Person of Christ and the work he accomplished on the cross?
My Answers to the above
2. Christ is the Lord of Creation. That is simply who is he. He made it, doesn't matter if we can see it or not. He made it. He is the firstborn so he has the authority. We need not look for anything else to complete our lives or how we relate to the world. "Paul deliberately chooses words that challenges their ideas about how we can see the invisible". (the Colossae church was leaning toward viewing God as mystical). "the false teachers in the church were looking to powers within the created order; but Paul takes us to the One who is above it."
3. I think I already answered this...Christ is the sustainer of all things.
4. Christ in relation to the church: Without Christ the church is dead. That's just reality. I don't know if I or many Christians today really stop and think about this. How Christ IS the head of the body. We don't need to look around for something or someone to lead us, we merely need to truly follow Christ and do what he says. What the church really needs to do is "appreciate it's need for meaningful communion with Christ". That's what the church needs. Not new programs, not new ways of doing things, but to seriously focus on who Christ is.
5. Jesus' work on the cross was sufficient. Nothing else was needed. "it is not merely that Christ is God and has the power to meet our deepest needs and longings in life; but that he is God our Saviour and has done all that was required to allow God to pour his fullest blessings into our lives!" We need nothing more. Christ is sufficient.