The Aim of today’s devotional study is to reflect on the preeminence of Christ over all of creation – both in the initial creation and its redemption.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether in heaven or on earth, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Note: this beautiful poetic section is considered to be a well-known hymn in the early church which Paul (adapted?) and included in his letter to the Colossians.
- Who is the “He” being spoken of here? (if unclear, read the verses preceding v15).
- Note the repetition with purpose:
- What is the most repeated phrase in this section? Why is it repeated so many times?
- Read verses 15-17 and verses 18-20 in parallel and note the deliberate phrase-repetition and similarity in form. (“He is the” v15&18, “firstborn” v15&18, “For in him” v16&19, “in heaven and on earth” v16&20, and “through him” v16&20). What does the author want to say with this repetition in phrase and form?
- What is the primary thought in v15-17?
- What is the primary thought in v18-20?
- In less than 10 words summarize this section.
- If you read “image of (invisible) God” – what thought does Paul want to trigger? (hint: who is created “in the image of God”?)
- Consider the deliberate parallelism between v15 and 18. If v15 points to mankind’s creation “in the image of God”, what does v18 imply of “the church”? (hint: what does Paul call the church in 2 Cor 5:17).
Note: the reference to Christ being “firstborn of all creation” does not mean he was created first – he made everything else and is God himself – but it refers to his heir and ruler of all. (Psalm 89:27 clarifies the concept of Firstborn: “I will also make him my firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth.”)
Application and prayer
- Consider yourself – your body, your gifts, your passions, your dreams and plans – when reflecting on v16 “all things were created through him and for him”. How does your life and totally reflect that truth? Talk to God about your future dreams, fears and plans in the light of his intended purpose with your life.
- Personally reflect on v 20 “through him to reconcile to himself all things… making peace by the blood of his cross”. Close your eyes and imagine yourself standing before Almighty God on His throne. What feelings do you feel? What do you think feels when he looks at you (pleasure / displeasure / joy / agitation…)? Jesus came to remove enmity between us in God, to “make peace” and “reconcile” us to God by carrying our sin and the wrath of God for our transgression on the cross. (see 2 Cor 5:21). Spend some time in prayer to God – thanking Him for the substitutionary cross of Christ through which we can be reconciled to God (Ephesians 2:13). Now pray to God for this peace in your heart – pray until you feel at peace with him, and thank him for it. If you already know this peace, pray for someone whom you know have not been reconciled with God.
Image found at http://jazzmachine.tumblr.com/post/668916347/he-is-the-image-of-the-invisible-god-the