The Image

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through Him and for Him.  He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church, and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.” Colossians 1: 15-18

Once again Oscar night has come and gone. It is the annual “Super-Selfie” Hollywood takes of itself and presents to the world. This year’s annual exercise in self-congratulation was followed by a tsunami slobber fest of appreciation for one actor’s generic shout out to God.

Well-spoken, heart-felt, and awkwardly received, it caused quite a stir.

It reminded me of the late 60s and early 70’s when rock and roll singers would squeeze an obscure reference to Jesus into one of their songs. Immediately there would be a breathless surge from the ranks of Jesus People to elevate a new hero to worship. There always seemed to be a gnawing hunger to be validated by the culture they were trying to escape.  The heros didn’t always prove to believe what they sang or said.

Consider this warning, from an aging rocker. Words mean things, but they don’t always mean what you think they mean. People do what they believe in, and all the rest is just verbal gymnastics.  When people mention the name of God without the slightest reference to Jesus, don’t anoint them Christian of the Year. Time will tell if their use of God’s name is cultural name-dropping or if they truly give Jesus “first place in everything.” v. 18

Note to self: Jesus has earned first place. Give it to Him.

“He is the image of the invisible God…” Jesus is not the pronoun of a perpetual expletive. Hollywood has often shown a fondness for using the name Jesus, as long as it is framed as a curse word.  Recent successes of Christian films have put a dent in this freight train, but are not likely to knock it off the track.  The real money is still put into films that curse the name of Jesus or delete it altogether. Cursing Jesus is the new politically correct F-bomb, and Allah gets a pass. But I digress.

Paul’s exceptional expression of honor and respect for The Incomparable Christ provides a timely reminder to contemporary Christians about The Son of God. When the movie comes out, make sure you compare it to the original script. You will find it in The Scriptures.

Jesus is not a curse or a concept. He is The Image of God. As a man, he expressed the character, and exercised the authority of the living God. By praying to God, in the name of Jesus, His Spirit takes believing prayer and moves Jesus out of the past tense of a religious icon, and into the present tense of consistent companionship.

Praying in the name of Jesus raises Jesus to first place in the eyes of His own followers, and drives His enemies crazy.  Through prayer Jesus is no longer positioned as a victim, but The Victor who…

·      REVEALS GOD TO MAN “…the image of the invisible God…”
·      REVEALS GOD IN MAN “the firstborn of all creation…”
·      LIVES TO CREATE “…by Him all things were created…”
·      BRIDGES HEAVEN & EARTH“…both in the heavens & on earth…”
·      PRECEDES ALL LIFE “…He is before all things…”
·      HOLDS LIFE TOGETHER “…In Him all things hold together…”
·      LEADS THE CHURCH“…He is also head of the body, the church…”
·      BEGINS ALL LIFE “…He is the beginning…”
·      CONQUERS ALL DEATH“…the firstborn of the dead…”
·      REIGNS AS CHAMPION “He Himself will come to have first place in everything.”

Pray in the name of Jesus. It puts the spotlight on The Champion, not on the culture. When the system or self-centeredness overshadows The Savior, the image of God is shoved off the stage. Prayer focuses on The Savior. Talk elevates self. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!