What does it mean that Jesus is the first born over all creation?
What does it mean that Jesus is the first born over all creation? That question comes from Colossians 115, where it says that the Son Jesus is the image of the invisible God. He’s the visible image of the invisible God, the first born overall creation. And that question, what does it mean that Jesus is the first born overall creation? Comes in light of the sermon that I shared this last Sunday.
I always encourage you to go back if you miss one of our messages so you can track along with what we’re sharing. But we started a brand new sermon series, and I kind of launched that series. The name of the series is called Jesus in Every Genre. And the point of this series is to show how Jesus is not only in the New Testament, but that Jesus is actually, he’s got his fingerprints all throughout the Old Testament. And what I tried to help us to see is through Scripture is that the main point of all scripture, New Testament and Old Testament is the story of Jesus and God sending His Son and what Jesus came to do for us.
And you see those things even in the Old Testament, in the places where Jesus name is not explicitly put in there. And so we took a look at how Jesus is in the creation story. And again, you can go back and take a look at that. But this idea of the universe being created by Jesus himself then leads us to a place like Colossians 115 that says that Jesus is the first born over all creation. So that’s our question today.
What does that mean? Because there are a number of groups in our world today, and you may have encountered some like this, who teach that that passage in Colossians One is saying that Jesus is created and therefore not Creator, that he’s not eternal, that he’s not deity. But that teaching goes against the rest of the testimony of Scripture that teaches that Jesus is eternal, that Jesus is God, that Jesus was preexistent and was there at creation. So here’s a couple of ways for us to think about this. In this passage, when it says that Jesus is the image or the visible image of the invisible God, that term image specifically means copy or likeness.
And so it’s not saying that Jesus is like God. It’s not saying that Jesus bears a striking resemblance to God. It’s saying he is the exact copy of God the Father. He is not inferior to God the Father in any way. And then that phrase first born causes people to think in terms of birth order.
But that word in the ancient Near East actually spoke more about rank than it did about birth order. And so this is pointing us to something that we need to grab ahold of, and that is that Jesus was not created. He was not born until he came here, obviously to the earth. But the idea that he was preexistent, that first born overall creation is speaking actually about Jesus preeminence over all things, that everything created is under the leadership and the authority and the sovereignty of Jesus himself, that he is the Creator. He is not created.
He is the Creator of all things. And Colossians 115 is helping us to see that. So please don’t be deceived when you hear a group or a teaching that is teaching something about Jesus being created or less than God the Father. He is not less than God the Father. He is the image, the exact likeness or copy of God the Father.
He is not inferior to God the Father or God the Spirit in any way. And the reason why this is so important for us to keep in mind, the most important reason is that if Jesus, as I shared in my sermon on Sunday, is not God, and if he’s not the Creator, then how could he make an adequate payment for the penalty of our sins, which should incur God’s wrath? But Jesus, we are told, giving his life on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, took the wrath of God upon himself. And so if Jesus was not God, then he could not make sufficient payment for our sins. This is a really, really big thing for us to hold onto.
And it’s also some really good news that Jesus is indeed God who was made flesh and lived among us, as John One tells us. So I hope that you’ll hold on to that as we continue on in our series Jesus in every genre in the coming weeks.