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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THE IMAGE OF GOD

Colossians 1:14-17 (It is Jesus Christ, the Son of God) In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.

Normally we think of an image as a reflection from a mirror. When looked upon, it is the perfect likeness of the person or object placed in front of it. It amazes me to think of how many people there are in the world, all having different appearances. There are no "perfect likenesses." Many times we see celebrity look-alikes. However, there are always differences that can be observed. Identical twins, although difficult to distinguish differences by the casual observer, are readily different in appearance to parents and other close family members. We've all heard others refer to a child as the "spittin' image" of their father or mother. However, it cannot be said that any person is the perfect likeness, or the mirror's image of another.

In the lesson text it says the Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God. He is the perfect likeness, the mirror's image of His Father in heaven. Studying John 1:1-14, we know that the Word refers to Jesus Christ who was made flesh, and dwelt among us (Vs.14). Verse one tells us that In the beginning ...the Word was God. The likeness was perfect; it was identical, because they were one. When John, the baptizer, witnessed Him and declared Him to be the Messiah, the Son of God, he beheld His glory (Vs. 14), and in doing so, John beheld the glory of God. Jesus' Father, as well as the Father of us all, is, indeed, the invisible God. Even the apostle, John, writes thatno man hath seen God at any time (John 1:18a).

In John, chapter 14, we find Jesus explaining His, soon-to-be, departure from His disciples and His return to heaven. He gives them words of comfort. Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me (Vs. 1). He comforts Thomas by telling him that he knows God because he has known His Son, Jesus Christ (Vs. 5-7). Philip then asks Jesus to show us the Father, and it sufficeth us (Vs. 8). Jesus replies ...he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father (Vs. 9b). Jesus assures all His disciples that He and His Father in heaven are the same - they are perfect likenesses. Indeed, Jesus is the image of God. In Paul's letter to the Corinthian brethren, he refers to Christ as the image of God (2 Cor. 4:4). Because He is the perfect likeness of God, Jesus says that His apostles and disciples, as well as people of all nations under heaven, are to believe He is the Son of God, the Savior of the world, because I am in the Father, and the Father in Me (Vs. 11a).

To learn, to discover, to gain knowledge, and to understand, are also described as ways people mentally see. From the lesson text, and corresponding scriptures, we can conclude that if we know Christ, we know God. To see Christ is to see God. How does mankind see God today? Through the eyes of those that saw Christ - His apostles and disciples were privileged to walk with Him. They sat at His feet and heard the message of salvation, which He brought to earth, and by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, penned God's message of eternal salvation to humanity. Just as the two blind men that saw Jesus through their belief, were made to see Jesus physically (Matt. 9:27-31); just as the blind man at Jericho, by faith, received his sight from Jesus, saw Him as the Son of God, followed Him, and glorified God (Luke 18:35-43); so can you and I, and the whole world, see Jesus if we believe He is the Son of God, are obedient to His will, and are baptized into His body, the church. In the body of Christ we can know God, walk with God, and talk with God. We, too, can see God, because we have seen Jesus, through His apostles, and He is the perfect image of God.

In the ninth chapter of John, a man, blind from birth, received his sight and saw Jesus as both the healer of his sight, as well as the healer of his soul. To him, God was visible - he saw God when he saw Christ. The Pharisees condemned both the blind man that was made to see, as well as Jesus. Although they could physically see, the Pharisees were spiritually blind through unbelief. They refused to accept Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God, their Savior. To them, God was invisible - by refusing His Son, they could not see God. Indeed,Jesus is the image of God. Do you see Him?