JESUS Is More Than An Image!

“Who Is JESUS, Really?”

[15] “[Now] He is the exact likeness of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible]; He us the firstborn of all creation.  [16] For it was in Him that all things were created, in heaven and on earth, things seen and things unseen, whether thrones, dominions, rulers, or authorities; all things were created and exist through Him [by His service, intervention] and in and for Him.  [17] And He Himself existed before all things, and in Him all things consist (cohere, are held together” (Colossians 1:15-17 AMP).

A Child’s Answer:

A Sunday School Class teacher once came up from behind a little girl busy drawing a picture.  She couldn’t make “heads or tails” of what the picture was revealing, so she asked the simple question:

“I can’t quite make out sweetie, the picture your drawing.  Could you give me a hint?”

And without looking up from her drawing she said,

“I’m drawing a picture of Jesus.”

Taken back by the little girls answer, the teacher said in a soft but authoritative voice,

“No one has seen Jesus, so you can’t really know what He looks like.”

“Really”, said the young girl.  Without a pause and her head still down, she went on to say,  “Well, after I finish coloring my picture, they will know what God looks like then!”

How Many Times Do We Color Our Own Images Of God?

People have seen Hollywood’s images of Jesus and famous artist renditions of Jesus, and with the replicas hanging on our walls.  We base those images on who we think He ought to look like; when we see His face in eternity.  We do this rather than what He is really like.

How many times do we make Jesus out to be something that He really isn’t?  Many people throughout our nation say that they love Jesus, but have no real idea who JESUS is!  So my question to you who are reading this blog today is this…WHO IS JESUS TO YOU?

I  am amazed at the answers to that specific question:  “Who is JESUS to you?”  Some people think he was a “great teacher”, a moral example, and some think that he was a prophet.  In fact, JESUS Himself asked this same question to His disciples,  [13] “Who do people say the Son of Man is?  [14] And they answered,   Some say…   [15] He said to them, But who do you [yourselves] say that I am?  [16] Simon Peter replied, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  (Matthew 16:13-16 AMP).

But most people won’t answer the question, tending to deflect as if they were running for some political office.  They talk about what a good person they are.  Tell you what church they are a member of or talk about all the deeds they’ve accomplished and charity work they have performed in the community.

Some people will tell you that when they turned nineteen years old, they spent 2 1/2 years on their churches appointed mission field.   Sometimes I feel like acting like a judge in the courtroom.  I feel like saying,  “OBJECTION–just answer the question.  “Who is JESUS to you?”

The Apostle Paul answers this exact same question to the Church at Colossae.

Epaphras went to Paul while he was in prison in Rome asking for help in the newly established church.  So Paul wrote this letter not only remind the Colossians, but also to us in the church today who JESUS is.

JESUS IN HIS RELATIONSHIP TO HIS CREATION:

I need to clear up a little language first.  I found it interesting to know Paul wrote this letter to warn the church of the false teaching about JESUS.  It’s interesting because many false teachers today use this very same verse 15 to support their false teaching about JESUS.

The Mormon Church and Jehovah’s Witnesses misuse Colossians 1:15 in making it say what it doesn’t say; to support their false doctrines, that JESUS isn’t God.  Their explanation and use of the Word of God is WRONG!

Here’s what the verse means:  Just as the invisible Father is God, so is the Son who came to earth, a visible flesh; God incarnate.  The Amplified Bible uses “exact likeness”, while the NIV, NASB and the KJV use the English word “image.”

Greek Word “eikon”

The Greek Word “eikon”:

The Greek word was used to describe a STAMP, specifically used in displaying the image of Caesar on documents and other articles.  People in the Roman Empire knew when they saw the stamp, it was from Caesar personally from the “image stamp”.

In other words, JESUS is the exact representation, the exact likeness of God.  Is it something we can ever understand fully?  No.  If we could, we would be saying that are “little brains” are big enough to contain the thoughts of God Himself.

No matter how smart you think you are–Scripture says your thoughts are not His thoughts–your ways are not His ways.  You and I will never completely figure God out!

Verse 15 also tells us…“JESUS is the firstborn of every creature.”

Those same false teachers of our day say…‘that proves that JESUS was created’.  They say that because they don’t know their Scriptures.

FIRSTBORN can mean one of two things:

It can mean born chronologically, like our daughter Karen.  Karen is our firstborn child because she was born before Kristin and Kevin.  That is not the sense here.  Even though JESUS was born of a virgin, that’s not where He began.

John 1:1 says,  “In the beginning [before all time] was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God  Himself.”

In John’s vision (Rev. 19), he sees Christ Jesus returning as Warrior-Messiah-King, and “the title by which He is called is The Word of God…and Lord of lords”  (Revelation 19:13, 16).

The Gospel of John goes on to say,  “And the Word became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us”  (John 1:14 AMP).  JESUS wasn’t first-born in the chronological sense.  He couldn’t because He was without beginning or endAs God, He is eternal.

JESUS was born in the other sense of the word–JESUS was born according to His rank.

He is above ALL of creation and He has ALL the rights, privileges and responsibilities of His Father.  To say that He is the Firstborn of all creation carries the exact same meaning when Scripture tells us JESUS is seated at the right hand of the Father.  He occupies the position of prominence.  And as God of very God, verse 16 tells us JESUS created ALL THINGS:

“For it was in Him that all things were created, in heaven and on earth, things seen and things unseen, whether thrones, dominions, rulers, or authorities; all things were created and exist through Him [by His service, intervention] and in and for Him.”

When you read the creation account in Genesis 1, JESUS was with God and JESUS was God as God created the heavens and the earth.  Nothing exists that JESUS didn’t create and nothing continues to exist that JESUS doesn’t sustain.

Atheists say “God is Dead!”

GOD is not dead, JESUS is not dead!  The only reason an atheist is able to say, “Jesus never existed”, is because JESUS is alive and well!

Verse 17 tells us that by ALL THINGS consisthold together:

“And He [JESUS] Himself existed before all things, and in Him all things consist (cohere, are held together).”

If JESUS was to remove His sustaining hand from creation for one brief moment, everything would collapse and cease to exist.  His relationship to His creation is as our creator and our sustainer.

The Christmas Exchange–

Most of us know why we celebrate the Christmas season: To celebrate JESUS’ birth, the giving and receiving of gifts, the decorations, and the smells of Christmas.  But when it comes to the exchanging of gifts to the stores on the day after, that is a different story.  All the stores are a disaster; shopping cart after shopping cart full of things people are exchanging.  Clothes that don’t fit, the wrong color or style of choice.  People line up at the customer service desk trying to exchange things.  But let me cheer you up with the exchange JESUS made for you and me:

“And God purposed that through (by the service, the intervention of) Him [the Son] all things should be completely reconciled back to Himself, whether on earth or in heaven, as through Him, [the Father] made peace by means of the blood of His cross”  (Colossians 1:20 AMP).

Over 2000 years ago, JESUS exchanged His life for yours and mine.  But not only did He exchange His life for yours, He exchanged His death for yours.

Man’s Fall Into Sin–

“Therefore as sin came into the world through one man [Adam], and death as the result of sin, so death spread to all men, [no one being able to stop it or to escape its power] because all men sinned”  (Romans 5:12).

We were all born into sin, sworn enemies of God according to His Word.  The only thing that man deserved was the total wrath of God.  Our relationship with our Creator was irreconcilable, sort of like divorce proceedings in America– by irreconcilable differences.  That was how things were on earth until JESUS paid the price to reconcile, to redeem us back into the relationship by His blood on the Cross.

The Two-fold Purpose of Reconciliation

“Yet now has [Christ, the Messiah] RECONCILED [you to God] in the body of His flesh through death, in order to present you holy and faultless and irreproachable in His [the Father’s] presence”  (Colossians 1:22 AMP).

1.  To take away your unrighteousness.

JESUS’ perfect sacrifice accomplishes that for you.  But of that was all there was, it still wouldn’t reconcile you to God.  It would just bring you back to neutral and take away His wrath.  His wrath would be gone, but you would still be empty, without eternal purpose, an interrupted relationship. 

2.  JESUS’ perfect life clothes you in righteousness. 

While His perfect sacrifice takes away your sins, His perfect life can clothe you in righteousness.

A PICTURE OF DIRTY LITTLE HOMELESS CHILDREN–

World War II Picture

I want you to visualize a picture of a dirty little homeless boy (or girl), living in filth and poverty out in the streets.  A servant of the king invites him off the streets and to come into the palace of the king.

In order that the boy to stand in the king’s presence, the boy must be washed of all the filth accumulated on the street.  But not only bathed, he must put on new clothes.

That’s the picture of what JESUS does for us in salvation.  He washes away all the dirtiness by His spilled blood–ALL of our sins– and gives us new clothes; He clothes us in His righteousness so we can stand reconciled before Him as our King.

Going Back to the Question, “Who is JESUS to you?”

JESUS SAVES you for a purpose; to die to the flesh and live for Him.  The question is, “do you know the real JESUS?”  Or…have you been dealing with a cheap imitation?

If you have never trusted JESUS as your Lord and Savior, then now is the time for you to come out of the streets of squalor.  Begin to make your calling and election sure and start serving Him where you are today.

If you know Jesus for sure, that He is your Savior, but have turned your back on His lordship, then turn back to Him today.  For when you do so, this is what JESUS will immediately do:

“…present you holy and faultless and irreproachable…  [23] [And this He will do] provided that you continue to stay with and in the faith [in Christ], well-grounded and settled and steadfast, not shifting or moving away from the hope [which rests on and is inspired by] the glad tidings (the Gospel),  which you heard and which has been preached  [as being designed for and offered without restrictions] to every person under heaven…”     (Colossians 1:22b-23 AMP).