Summary: if we want to experience the full and abundant life Jesus designed for us to live, we must acknowledge that He is Lord of all creation, that He is Lord of His new creation, and we we must trust Him to be Lord of our lives individually.
From his hospital bed on the eve of open heart surgery, Pastor Bruce McIver asked his cardiologist, Dr. Dudley Johnson, “Can you fix my heart?”
The physician, known for being short and to the point, said, “Sure.” Then he quickly turned and walked away.
Following the 12-hour surgery, McIver asked Johnson, “In light of the blocked arteries that I had when I checked into the hospital, how much blood supply do I now have?”
“All you’ll ever need,” replied the terse surgeon, who again ended the conversation by walking away.
Upon his discharge from the hospital, McIver’s wife, Lawanna, asked the doctor, “What about my husband’s future quality of life?”
Johnson paused and then said, “I fixed his heart; the quality of his life is up to him.” (Bruce McIver, “Stories I Couldn’t Tell While I Was a Pastor,” Guideposts, 1991, p. 244-247)
When we came to faith in Christ, Jesus fixed our hearts. He gave us the capacity for a full life, but the quality of our lives is up to us. It really is! So what do we do to enjoy a high quality of life? How do we experience the abundant, full life that Jesus designed for us to live?
Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. (NIV)
If we’re going to experience a full life, then 1st of all we must…
ACKNOWLEDGE THAT JESUS IS LORD OF CREATION.
We must recognize that as the creator God, Jesus has the first place over all that He has made. The Bible is very clear here. Jesus is God. “He is the image the invisible God.”
When you look at a penny, you see President Lincoln’s image imprinted on that coin. Well, that’s the way it is when you look at Christ. You see God’s image imprinted on Him. In other words, Jesus makes the invisible God visible. He shows us what the invisible God looks like.
John 1:18 says, “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made Him known.” And Jesus Himself said, “Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).
(illus.) One of early church fathers in the third century (Origen) had a great analogy. He told of a village with a huge statue – so immense no one could see who it was supposed to represent. Finally, someone miniaturized the statue so people could see the person it honored. Origen said, “That is what God did in his Son.” Christ is the self-miniaturization of God, the visible icon or “image of the invisible God” to use the language of Colossians 1:15. (Dale Bruner, “Is Jesus Inclusive or Exclusive?” Theology, News, and Notes of Fuller Seminary, Oct. 1999, p.4; www.PreachingToday.com)
In other words, Jesus is the visible God, showing us what the invisible God looks like. And as such, He has the first place over all creation. He is in charge of it all! That’s what verse15 means when it says, “He is…the firstborn over all creation.”
This is not to say that Jesus was the first created in sequence, no! Rather, Jesus IS the first in status. The word “firstborn” speaks of a person’s status within the family, not the sequence of his birth. It speaks of the primary heir in the family, i.e., the one who would lead the family.
There are plenty of instances in the Bible where the one who was born first did not become the primary heir and the head of the family. For example, Abraham’s son, Ishmael, was born first, but Isaac, his younger brother, became the primary heir. Isaac’s son, Esau, was born first, but Jacob, his younger brother, became the primary heir. And Jacob’s son, Reuben, was born first, but Joseph, the one born next to last in the family of 12 children became the primary heir.
And on I could go throughout the Old Testament. The one who was born first does not necessarily have the title, “firstborn.” That is to say he was not necessarily the primary heir or the head of the family.
So when Colossians 1:15 says that Jesus is the firstborn of all creation, it does NOT mean that he was the first created; rather, it means that He is the head of all creation, the primary heir of it all.
Jesus is God. He is the Lord of creation, because He Himself created it all. Everything was created by him, through him and for him.
Colossians 1:16 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 – better THROUGH him – and for him. (NIV)