In Colossians 1:15-20, we come to a very important part of the description of Jesus’ person as Head of the Church. The concept of His headship needs better understanding today. As denominational organizations have evolved over the last several hundred years, it is my concern that we have diminished the role of Christ as Head of the Church as an ‘idea’ rather than a reality. We have placed more emphasis on receiving directions from human authorities than from Christ our Head.
In the previous verses, we saw that Jesus Christ holds the position of Firstborn, Creator and Sustainer of all things. We cannot expect the world to acknowledge Him in these roles, but we should be teaching every believer the absoluteness of His supremacy in these roles and over everything created. Most of what these verses referred to is the material part of creation.
There is also a spiritual creation that has come into existence through the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. Paul reminds us that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). This new creation becomes a “body” and each person redeemed (saved) by Jesus Christ is placed “in one Spirit…baptized into one body. The body does not consist of one member but of many” (1 Corinthians 12:13-14). This body or assembly of believers is called the “body of Christ” (12:27).
In Colossians 1:18, Paul is affirming that Christ is the Head of this body or assembly of believers. This position is superior over every other person or role in the body. Paul connects with this place of headship the truth that Jesus is “the firstborn from the dead.” Many have argued that others were resurrected before Jesus was raised from the dead, how can He be the first born? All those who were raised before Jesus, like Lazarus, did not take on immortal bodies as Jesus did. Paul refers to this as a “spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:42-57).
Jesus rose from the dead as the Head of the new spiritual creation. From Him all spiritual life comes and is animated in us by the Holy Spirit. How important then to let His Headship work in us by the Spirit so we function in the Body of Christ with His life and power.
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