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 that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. (NKJV)
This passage explains three relationships of Jesus Christ. First, it explains His relationship to the Father.
Paul writes “He is the image of the invisible God” (v.15a). 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.
Next, Paul describes Jesus’ relationship to the creation. Paul writes that Jesus was the “firstborn over all creation” (v. 15b).
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).
So, Jesus 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.
Paul continues “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.” (v. 16a). He created “all things” in Heaven and on earth. This includes angels, kings, and all leaders of all nations since the creation.
Paul writes “All things were created through Him and for Him.” (v. 16b). Jesus created all things for His own use, including us.
Paul continues “And He is before all things” (v. 17a). Not only did Jesus create all things, “He is before all things”. He existed from the beginning, even before the creation.
Paul writes “and in Him all things consist.” (v. 17b). Everything that was later created “consists” in Him. He is the one active in holding all things together.
He is the Sustainer of the universe. Jesus keeps the universe in 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).
The third, and final, relationship of Jesus explained by Paul in this passage is that Jesus is the Head of the church. Paul writes “And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” (v. 18).
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.