July 21

Colossians 1:15-28

How do you describe the invisible? Some say, don’t try; if you can’t experience it through your senses, it doesn’t exist. However, there are spiritual realities that cannot be denied, invisible but powerful. Take love for example. Love is expressed through physical realities, but love itself remains invisible. So it is with God. God is invisible and intangible yet sensed through creation. God is reflected in existence – in nature taken as a whole and as known in individual parts. Similarly, God is reflected in human life. That’s what Genesis 1:27 refers to when it says that people are made in the image of God. They reflect God in some way. However, there is one particular person who can be called the “image of the invisible God” in a special and distinctive way (Colossians 1:15).  As ancient kings used to be thought of as the image of some god or other, so Jesus as the Messianic king is the image of God.  By calling Christ the firstborn of all creation, that passage says that he is like the first-born son of a king, the most important person in the realm.  John 1:14 says Jesus was the Word of God made flesh, similarly Colossians says that Jesus as the Christ was the agent through whom the Creator brought everything into existence both physical and spiritual; he is before all things and in him all things hold together. At the same time, Christ is the living head of the church.  In his resurrection, he led the “resurrection parade” (as the Message puts it). People are raised to new life now because he was raised from the dead. God was in Christ, not in the limited way that God can be said to be present in everyone, but fully and completely, and through him, through whom God created everything, God reconciled everything and everyone to himself through his death on the cross.

  • If you can, share an experience that you have had of God in nature?
  • What do you think it means to say that human beings are made in the image of God?
  • If people are made in the image of God, what is different about Jesus Christ being the image of the invisible God?
  • If, as Colossians 1:20-21 says, God was in Christ reconciling all things to himself through the crucifixion of Jesus, how come people still live unreconciled to God?