He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 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 were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 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. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 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 1:15-20
The idea of Jesus being the “firstborn over all creation” is a little confusing, especially when you consider that God is three in one (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) (Matthew 28:19-20) and that God doesn’t change (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17). So, let’s look at the context of this passage.
The Colossian church held a belief that spirit is good and matter (stuff) is evil. Without getting too deep here, this belief basically made an excuse for why people are sinful. They held that the spirit is the only part that is eternal. It’s the only part going to Heaven. The spirit is our good part. So, according to this belief, the body was the bad part. They sinned because that’s what their bodies did. Bad body. Shame on you body. But, the body was going to burn anyway, so it didn’t matter. The body couldn’t taint the spirit, so their actions were justified and their souls were saved.
There are many problems with this belief. First, we are whole beings. Sure there is a difference between the physical and spiritual parts of our being, but it’s all connected. We can get ulcers worrying about something that will never happen. Our brains are actually physically configured according to our thought patterns. We are an entire being, not just the sum of our parts.
The second problem here is that everything that God made was good (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31). Jesus was not part of that creation. Jesus was the Creator. The idea of “firstborn” has more to do with Christ’s authority over creation. Just like a firstborn prince would have authority over his father’s kingdom, Jesus is equal to God Himself and has authority over everything.
If anyone needed proof that Jesus was exactly who He said He was, the Son of God, this is the passage that proves it. Paul doesn’t pull any punches here.
So, what does this mean for those of us who aren’t struggling with Docetism or Gnosticism? Simply put, Jesus is more powerful than any other force in the universe. Whatever scares us, whatever worries us, or whatever threatens us is under the authority of Christ. Here’s the great thing about that: Jesus Christ lives in everyone who belongs to Him.
What are you up against today? What threatens you? What worries you? Turn it over to Jesus. He has the power to make a difference.
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