If you missed the introductory posts to this series you can catch-up here.
Have you ever seen something that changed your life? Your bride walking down the aisle toward you on your wedding day? Your first child for the first time, placed in your hands? The deep shadows and colors and beauty of the Grand Canyon as you contemplate God’s wonderful creation? Throughout time, people who have believed in a Creator have struggled to know the nature of that God, not just the nature of what he made. We can see what he made, but we cannot see him.
One of core beliefs of Christians remains that the good news is that in Jesus, God himself has come. In this series we will be walking through some of the life-changing implications of one beautiful passage of scripture from the New Testament book of Colossians. Let’s look at the whole passage first:
 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  For by 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.  And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  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.  For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,  and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:15-20 ESV)
“He is the image of the invisible God.” God had revealed a great amount of truth about his nature in history through his leading his people Israel as recorded in the Old Testament. His actions in history reveal his purposes and his character. We can dig deeply for a lifetime into the writings of the Old Testament and continue to learn about God, and yet, this was not his greatest revelation. For in Jesus, God came in his fullness to live with man. He inhabited one man, and so lived in time and space with man.
What does it mean that Jesus was the image of God?
God, the invisible made himself as visible in one point of time as could ever have been imagined. The invisible became, touchable and knowable, and he spoke. Jesus, know as “the Word of God”, became man and spoke his character in the context of physical friendship and family, in towns and villages, in synagogues and on hillsides. God became visible.
Jesus reveals God’s nature. To just scratch the surface of the implications this at least helps us answer some of our concerns about God:
- Does God really love us? Enough to die in our place. Enough to find joy in children, to talk to a shunned woman and give her hope, and to cry with his friends in their sorrow.
- Does God care about my suffering? He heals physical pain. He forgives sin. He cries over the city, longing to see it well and not destroyed. He restores the broken heart of his ashamed friend Peter. In God, Jesus enters into our suffering and suffers more than any of us ever will on our behalf.
- Is God in control? Jesus controls sickness, the weather, and guides the process of his own crucifixion so that the will of God is fulfilled.
Because in Jesus, God became visible, I can know God’s nature. But more than that:
Because in Jesus, God became visible, I can know God.
I not only learn about God, but I can be made right with God, and have a relationship with him. All of this is possible because in Jesus, God has made a way to himself through the work of Jesus on the cross:
…giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:12-14)
In Jesus I can know God. And that fact changes everything.