And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.
And He is the head of the body, the church: Who is the beginning, the Firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence.
That He existed before anything or anyone else existed is something our finite human minds have a hard time grasping. We’d like to think that there was. . .just. . .nothing. . .before WE came into being, but that is as far from the truth as it is possible to be. God never didn’t exist. Do I truly understand that? No. I’m limited to human intelligence. But I can say it with confidence because GOD says it, and therefore it is so. God said it. That settles it, whether or not I believe it.
Firstborn: The ancient Greek word prototokos can describe either priority in time or supremacy in rank. Jesus was both first in time and first in rank. The same word is used of Jesus in Colossians 1:18, Romans 8:29, Hebrews 1:6, and Revelation 1:5. He was not less than God: He IS God, and without Him nothing would exist at all.
He holds all creation together: The entire creation of God, the universe in its infinity all the way down to the smallest insect and the atoms and their infinity, all are Christ-centered. Without Him, it would all fall apart.
Head of the body, the church: Christ is the source of the church, just as, for instance, the mighty Mississippi River has its source in tiny Lake Itasca. He is the beginning of all things.
Firstborn from the dead: Jesus was certainly not the first One to die. He wasn’t even the first to be raised from the dead. But the difference is that He is the first and only One to die and rise from death never to die again; also, He was raised by His own will and His own power, whereas others, like Lazarus, were raised not of their own volition but by the power of Jesus Christ.
He is, in all things, to have preeminence.
Why does Paul make such a point of emphasizing His preeminence? It is because, when false teaching arises, one of the first things denied by the false teacher is His preeminence. The false teacher wants preeminence. The only way he can get it is to reduce Jesus Christ to man’s level, while the false teacher raises himself to a higher plain of knowledge than that of anyone else.