Online Bible Commentary
Is Jesus Your Pilot or Co-pilot?
Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 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. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the first born from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. (NIV)
This passage explains three relationships of Jesus Christ. It explains His relationship to the Father (v.15), to creation (vv. 16-17), and to the church (v.18).
Our Father in Heaven is spirit. He is invisible. Jesus is an “image” of the Father. The word translated “image” is “eikon” in the Greek. It means image, likeness, or portrait. When we say something is an image it means that there is an original from which it came. The Father is a spirit and invisible, but if you could paint a portrait of Him, which you cannot, it would look like Jesus. Jesus said “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). This means that Jesus is representative of the Father. Those in the Old Testament and John in the New Testament (Rev. 1:17) who said they saw God actually saw His representative, Jesus. Jesus, the historical man was just that, a man. Therefore, God in Heaven, if an image of him could be seen, would appear as a man, not as a woman as some would contend.
Jesus was the “firstborn” (v.15). This does not mean that He was created. Jesus was not created. He was present at the creation (John 1:1-2). He already existed prior to the creation. God existed at creation, in the persons of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The expression “firstborn” as used here denotes a place of superiority or supremacy, as God said to David: “I will also appoint him my firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of earth” (Ps. 89:27). Jesus was the “firstborn over all creation” (v.15).
As the firstborn over all creation, Jesus created all things for His own use. He created “all things in Heaven and on earth.” He created all things “visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities”, which would include angels, kings, and all leaders of all nations since the creation (v.16).
Not only did Jesus create all things, “He is before all things” (v.17). He was at the creation. He was not a created being, as is taught by cults such as Mormonism, who claim He is not of the “same being” as the Father and Jehovah’s Witnesses, who claim He was created by the Father. Those cults claim to be Christian, but they worship a different god than do Christians.
Jesus is the creator of all things and He also is the one active in holding all things together (v.17). He is the Sustainer of the universe and the Source of its perpetual motion. Even while He was on earth He calmed the wind and the waters (Luke 8:24). He also made the Sun stand still (Jos. 10:13).
Finally, we see that Jesus is also the head of the church. He is the beginning, meaning the source of our spiritual life. He is the first in His church to rise from the dead with a glorified body (1 Cor. 15:20). He has preeminence over all things (v.18).
Just as Jesus has preeminence over all things He wants preeminence over our hearts. He wants us to put him in the place in our hearts where he belongs, first place. He does not want to be our co-pilot, just along for the ride. He wants to be our pilot, in charge of the journey.