Jesus, you are the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by you all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through you and for you. And you are before all things, and in you all things hold together. And Christ, you are the head of the body, the church. You are the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything you might be preeminent. For in you all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through you to reconcile to yourself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of your cross. And we, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, you have now reconciled in your body of flesh by your death, in order to present us holy and blameless and above reproach before you, if indeed we continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that we have heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven.
The Message Bible has a fresh way of wording this passage. It says, “We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.You yourselves are a case study of what he does. At one time you all had your backs turned to God, thinking rebellious thoughts of him, giving him trouble every chance you got. But now, by giving himself completely at the Cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God’s side and put your lives together, whole and holy in his presence. You don’t walk away from a gift like that! You stay grounded and steady in that bond of trust, constantly tuned in to the Message, careful not to be distracted or diverted. There is no other Message—just this one. Every creature under heaven gets this same Message.”