What Does it Mean that Jesus Is in the Image of God?

Biblical Authority Devotional: Authority of the Son, Part 9

by Jeremy Ham on September 16, 2010

Did Jesus have God’s authority during His earthly ministry?

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. (Colossians 1:15)

Today’s big question: what does Jesus being the image of God mean?

During creation, “God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness’” (Genesis 1:26). We were created in God’s image—after His likeness. We were made to be like God in certain respects, but not to be God. He gave us dominion over all of the earth, and created us with a mind capable of creative thought and the ability to know Him. Today’s passage states that Jesus “is the image of the invisible God,” but this is a different concept in comparison to Genesis 1:26.

Jesus is the Son of God (Mark 1:1), and He came to earth with the Father’s authority. Furthermore, Jesus is God (Titus 2:13) and “the firstborn over all creation.” “Firstborn” often refers to the first one born. However, in this case, it is not stating that Jesus was created; if this was the case, then He would not be God. For example, David was called the firstborn, yet he was not the first one born: the word is referring to the idea that David was prominently favored and to his kingship (Psalm 89:20, 27). Moreover, through David's lineage came the King of kings—the Lord Jesus Christ, “the firstborn over all creation.

Jesus is perfect, and was able to present Himself as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, because He is the image of God. Paul wrote, “And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Ephesians 5:2). Because of the Father’s great love for us, He sent His Son (John 3:16; cf. 1 John 4:8–9), and Jesus’ love for us was demonstrated by His sacrifice on the Cross.

Through Christ’s work on the Cross, we have access to the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:18). Believers “have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (Colossians 3:9–10). Man has fallen, but believers have been made alive through Jesus Christ, and therefore strive to be more Christ-like.

When we think of Jesus being the image of God, we should remember that He is our heavenly King and Savior, and “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10).

Today’s big idea: Jesus is our God, our heavenly King, and our Savior.

What to pray: thank God for His love and the ultimate sacrifice He provided for us.


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