Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
I. AS RELATED TO GOD. "Image." Some interpret this of the essential image; others as setting forth Christ as God's messenger, or as perfect man, in allusion to Genesis 1:26. But there is a great difference between man made "in," "after," or "according to" God's image, and Christ "the image" itself.
1. An image(1) differs widely from a shadow. The Old Testament discoveries of Christ are called "shadows," and though a shadow presupposes substance, it is only a mere appearance (Hebrews 10:1).
(2) Is more than a similitude. One thing may be very similar to another in some things, and yet in others be very unlike. The sun is a similitude, but not an image of God.
(3) Corresponds entirely with that which it represents a perfect model and transcript. The cast is an exact sampler of the mould; the wax bears a correct impress of the seal, not merely in general figure, but in every line. The word therefore shows that Christ is the very form of God in whom are embodied all His perfections.
2. This suggests that(1) the dignity of our Saviour's person stamps infinite merit on His work.
(2) Since it is to the Divine image that believers have to be conformed, we have some idea of the privileges and dignity to which we shall be exalted.
(3) In Christ's glorious person we may read our own defects.
II. AS RELATED TO THE UNIVERSE.
1. He is Creator: from which it is clear that all things had a beginning, and that nothing exists that does not owe its existence to Christ; and therefore Christ is the lawful proprietor of all things. That there may be no cavil we have a particular enumeration of His works:(1) In their universality, "all things";
(2) their properties, "visible and invisible";
(3) their grades in the scale of being, "thrones, etc." Try to elevate your thoughts to the dignity of this subject. What an Almighty Saviour you have. He is above all human portraiture. His name is "Wonderful."
2. But if Christ be all this, then(1) here is an end of Atheism, Deism, Unitarianism.
(2) What a claim have Christ's meanest creatures on our consideration.
(3) How desperate their condition who will not have Him to reign over them.
III. AS BELATED TO HIS CHURCH. "Head."
1. By Divine appointment; and as the natural head is the highest part of the body, so Christ has in all things the pre-eminence.
2. In respect of His wisdom. The head is the seat of mind. There are all the organs and mental phenomena: the eye to see, etc. "In Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."
3. As regards spiritual sustenation and support. The head is where most of the vital functions are which impart energy through the system, and diffuse pleasure or pain, joy or sorrow. So Christ transmits whatever supplies are required for the Church's welfare; through Him the whole body increases with the increase of God.Lessons: We have a Saviour —
(T. Watson, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: