Shelby G. Floyd
Icons are everywhere today. They are on computers, computer tablets and smart cell phones. They are used in television and mailing advertising. They are very helpful in many ways by simplifying what we search for in the technological world of the twenty-first century. Sometimes this is not the case, because there are so many of them that it is often confusing to find them and distinguish them one from another by what they represent.
But there are some icons that are so well known that everyone can identify who or what they stand for or represent. Almost everyone can identify the icons for IBM, AT&T, GM, Apple, Microsoft, and Goggle etc. In the religious world we only have one God that everyone needs to know and identify. The one God is invisible and so we need an icon to be an exact image of that one God. Man has come up with physical and material icons of the “invisible God,” such as the three-leaf clover, and this inserted symbol!
But the inspired word of God says that the Lord Jesus Christ is the image (icon) of the invisible God. In Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae, he identifies the perfect icon of the heavenly Father:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
“The invisible God” is the God who in the beginning created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). He is also the same God in the Colossians context who, “…has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14 NKJV).
When Paul says that “He is the image of the invisible God” the reference is to Jesus Christ, God’s beloved and only begotten Son. The word “image” in the original Greek is (εικον-eikon), from which we derive the English word icon that is so familiar today. So Jesus Christ is the visible ICON of the invisible God who created everything.
But we have no visible photos of what Jesus looked like outwardly, but we have a perfect moral image of him in his speech, attitude, worship, prayer life and the way he treated his fellow man. If we want to know what “the invisible God” is like, we only need to study the perfect God-man—Jesus Christ! The word (image—eikon) used in Colossians 1:15 is applied to Christ “on account of his divine nature and absolute moral excellence” (Thayer, page 175).
When we see and have a mental and moral picture of Christ, then we see the Father, for he is the exact “image” of the Father. John the Baptist was the forerunner of Christ and the harbinger of the grace and truth that Christ came to reveal. Of him John said, “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (John 1:18 NKJV).
After Jesus announced that he would die on the cross and go back to the Father, Philip asked him to show them the Father. That question elicited this answer from Christ: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’” (John 14:9)?
In no other name does anyone have salvation except the name of Christ: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 NIV).
Dear friend, Christ Jesus then is our ICON of the invisible God! Learn, love, worship and serve him forever!
Copyright © 2012 2020 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved
Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142