Colossians 1:13-15:
Who [The Father] hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
15 Who is the image [eikon] of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

The word “image,” eikon, means “likeness; form or appearance.” It always assumes a prototype, that which it not merely resembles but from which it is drawn (Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament). It is not simply two things which share a likeness, but one thing which proceeds from or reveals the nature or essence of the other. The use of this phrase helps us to understand a part of Jesus’ mission; that is, to reveal to us what God is like.

Too many people have such a warped idea of what God is like. They think God causes all their problems. Their picture of God is of a mean and vengeful authority sitting up in heaven with a big club waiting for them to make a mistake so He can whack them on the head. They see a God Who wants to make them sick, keep them poor or kill their family.

However, to really know what God is like, we must look at Jesus. Seeing Jesus gives us an accurate picture of God. In Colossians 1:15, Jesus is called “the image of the invisible God.” Jesus himself said, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father” (John 14:9). Following Jesus’ earthly ministry allows us to see God’s will in action. Jesus always did his Father’s will (John 5:30; 8:29). You see, everything Jesus did (or didn’t do) made known God and represented God’s will. Jesus demonstrated God’s will to mankind and fully declared Who He was (John 1:18).

John 14:8-10:
Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been a long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

Philip’s burning desire was for Jesus to show him the Father. Before Jesus walked on this earth, the world didn’t understand God. They didn’t fathom His great love for them. They didn’t approach or understand Him as a Father. Then Jesus came along manifesting God’s love, doing God’s will and declaring that God was not only his Father but our Father, too. He showed the world how the Father cared and how He acts, because he only did that which he saw his Father do (John 5:19).

Jesus is the visible manifestation of God, Who is invisible and fathomless.

Hebrews 1:3:
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image [charaktēr] of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

In this verse “image” is translated from the Greek word charaktēr. This word means “a tool for [en]graving… ‘a stamp’ or ‘impress,’ as on a coin or seal, in which case the seal or die which makes an impression bears the ‘image’ produced by it, and, vice versa, all the features of the ‘image’ correspond respectively with those of the instrument producing it” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, “Image”). Jesus made an impression on the world. That express image shines with the brightness of God’s glory.

II Corinthians 4:4:
In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image [eikōn] of God, should shine unto them.

He was more than just a “likeness,” which can be incidental and superficial. Jesus is the exact and perfect representation and revelation of God. Through him we can know God. What a wonderful service Jesus Christ performed for us in that he declared God. The glorious gospel of Christ continues to shine illuminating the heart of our Father God. Let’s get a clear image of Who our Father is by beholding His son.

Wayne Clapp