The image of the invisible. We usually use the word image to mean a likeness or representation, something that looks like something else. But how can you make an image of something that is invisible–something which cannot be seen? How is something invisible even shown? The word image is also used in Scripture to mean a statue. People made images of their gods, a visible model of an invisible being. But Heb 1:3 calls Jesus the “express image” of God’s person–an exact representation of Him. Jesus did not come to this world as a lifeless look-alike. He was not an image in the sense we usually expect, but instead the exact same Person–God Himself in the flesh. He was still very definitely God, but encased in the physical limitations of an earthly body. The physical Jesus didn’t just “look like” God or “seem like” God, He was God! Jesus is the Son of God, but not in the same sense that we are his sons and daughters; Jesus is integral to God’s very being. He is part of God, the expression of His essence.
The last part of this verse is confusing at first: the firstborn of every creature. I have been taught that Jesus, the Word, was not created, that He was always there with God, was the part of God that brought the rest of creation into being. (John 1:1) If He was pre-existent, and not created, why then does it call Him a creature? When the Word became flesh, a body was created for the Messiah to inhabit, and in that way He entered the realm of created beings. His spirit was not created, but was actually One with the King of the universe. Jesus is a unique expression of the eternal Creator God, yet for a short time He lived in flesh, as a creature subject to physical forces just as we are. He left His perfect habitation and visited this earth for a few years, experiencing the temptations and trials of mortal men, and wrestling with all the challenges that we do.
And this all-powerful Being became mortal, accepted the limitations of a three-dimensional earthly body, so that He could eventually become sin. He became sin. He became all sin. And then died.
He overcame every sin all at one time…killed off all sin… every bit of it…once for all.
For all of us.
For all time.
He did it for me.
And I am created in His image. The image of the invisible God who died in agony to set me free.
What an amazing, all-encompassing God.