Colossians 1:15-18
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers 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. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

Hebrews 1:6
And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says,
“Let all God’s angels worship him.”

In Luke 2:7 we are told that Mary gave birth to her firstborn, who is Jesus.  Did you ever think of Jesus as being God’s firstborn?  We confess in the Apostle’s Creed that Jesus was “conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary”.  We confess in the Nicene Creed that Jesus is “the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of his Father before all worlds”.  Yes, we confess that Jesus is the Son of God; but if Jesus is eternal God himself, as we saw yesterday, how can he be the Father’s firstborn Son?

Well, we can say that because he is called that in the Bible.  In Colossians Jesus is called the “firstborn over all creation”.  Does that mean he was the first thing that God created?  No; as we saw yesterday, Jesus himself is creator God, not a created being.  The title “firstborn” refers to one who is highly favored by his father, or who has an exalted status.  In Exodus 4:22 God refers to the nation of Israel as his firstborn son, indicating his great love for Israel.  In the tenth and final plague, he saved the firstborn sons of Israel through the Passover, pointing forward to the death of his own firstborn son as a sacrifice to ransom God’s beloved children.  In Psalm 89:27 God says that he will appoint David his firstborn and states his eternal love for him (and by prophetic foreshadowing, his great love for David’s son Jesus).  Both at Jesus’ baptism and his transfiguration, God called him his beloved son, with whom he is well pleased (Mark 1:11, 9:7).

Note that Jesus is also called the “firstborn from among the dead” (also in Revelation 1:5).  This tells us that God who raised Jesus from the dead will raise many others with and through him.  Paul reminds us that Jesus has been raised from death, “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (I Corinthians 15:20).  He also reminds us that God intended Jesus would be “the firstborn among many brothers and sisters” (Romans 8:29).  So, when we think of Jesus as the firstborn, we remember that he is perfectly loved by God the Father and that his resurrection assures the resurrection of all those who trust in him, all those who are loved by the Father.

Is it any wonder that, when God brings his firstborn Son into the world, all his angels worship him, proclaiming, “Glory to God in the highest”?! (Luke 2:14)  Let us similarly praise God, and greet our Savior, echoing the words of the Nicene Creed:

God of God, Light of Light;
Lo, He abhors not the Virgin’s womb:
Very God, begotten, not created;
O come, let us adore Him
O come, let us adore Him
O come, let us adore Him
Christ the Lord!

(Latin hymn)

© 2021 Stephen A. Hoogerhyde.

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