Colossians 1:15, Dick Alexander Raw, distinguishing marks, eikon, exegetes, God with skin on, Ground Zero, icon, image, image is everything, invisible God, John 1:18, made known, Mark Twain Quote, Statue of Liberty, the two most important days in your life, visible, wedding band, word icon
(Jesus) “He is the image of the invisible God.” Colossians 1:15
Marketing executives tells us “image is everything.” Images convey meanings to us way beyond what words can describe. They are like pictures, which elicit emotional responses.
My wedding band represents the fact that a remarkable but unfortunate woman said “yes” to me! When Americans see the Statue of Liberty, something unexplainable takes place deep inside. In addition, when we see the American Flag flying over Ground Zero it ignites feelings of patriotism, sadness, and maybe even anger, over ten years after 9-11.
As powerful as these symbols are, they are simply representations of far deeper realities. My ring doesn’t make me married. Rather, it’s a symbol that I am married. The Statue of Liberty doesn’t in and of itself do anything. It stands for a nation that gives hope to the hopeless and honors freedom. Possessing an American flag doesn’t make anyone a citizen. But, when we wave it with pride, we do so knowing it stands for over 200 years of fighting for freedom at home and abroad.
Colossians reminds us Jesus is not just a symbol of God; He is God Himself. The word used here for “image” is “eikon”. Sound familiar? It refers to a “likeness, manifestation, or replica.” It is where we get our word “icon”. You are probably familiar with hundreds of icons on your computer and phone.
In the culture of New Testament, “image or eikon” was a die or stamp which enabled the creator to make exact reproductions of that particular object over and over again. Also, passports in Paul’s day had a section called “eikon” or “distinguishing marks”. Since passports couldn’t hold pictures, they had eikon sections which described something personal about the person which set him apart from everyone else.
This is why Paul used the word eikon in Colossians. Jesus is the visible eikon or image of the invisible God. He is the precise copy because He is God Himself. He both represents and manifests God to the world.
“No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made Him known.” (John 1:18)
The phrase “made Him known” means that Jesus declares, or literally “exegetes” to the world what God the Father is really like. As the little boy said to his father during a lighting storm…”I need someone here with skin on.” Jesus is God with skin on.
The Father never intended for His children not to know Him. He sent His Son…the exact representation of Who He is to the world. If we are struggling with the actions and will of God, we need only to turn back to Jesus, in the purest, most basic sense. In reality, this is what others are longing to see in us personally. I share a poem by Dick Alexander to remind us of what our lives should be like.
Dick Alexander, Raw
It’s a word I never liked
Raw carrots are too hard
Raw oysters too slimy
Raw humor is too dirty
Raw skin is too painful
In fact raw applied to anything human sounds painful
But we live in a world of raw human need
It’s all around us
Do you ever wonder how many people struggle with homosexuality in your church
How many alcoholics
How many families with incest
How many addicts, how victims of violence and abuse
Will they find help
With the raw human need touching us every day
The church can scarcely afford business as usual
In practice many traditional churches view their mission
As holding Sunday services
Satisfying the members and doing a little good here & there
Such churches are on the way out
Within a few years they will be dinosaurs
Not because their doctrine is bad but because they lost their mission
Only churches serious about rescuing the hurting will survive and make a difference…
Plan on being one of heaven’s eikons today, so that you can make a difference in the world around you.