Jesus: Head of the Church

“And he is the head of the body, the church.” Colossians 1:18

Your body is an amazing organism. Just think about the functions it is able to accomplish on a daily basis. You can see with your eyes, hear with your ears, smell with your nose, taste with your tongue, talk with your mouth, run with your feet, work with your hands, and feel with your skin. All of these abilities are organized and controlled by your brain. Without it, the functions of the human body would be wasted.

Paul used this idea to describe the relationship of believers to the Lord Jesus. The members of the Church are like a body; each member has been given a gift to use for the good of the Body (Rom. 12:3-8). Some are gifted teachers. Others have the gifts of preaching, exhortation, giving, leadership, ministering, mercy, and many other helpful abilities given by God to the Church. But these gifts (like the abilities of the human body) are meant to be organized under the leadership of Jesus, the Head of the Body.

Along with his position as Creator, Jesus is also the Head of the Church because of his resurrection. After dying on the cross in our place, the One who said, “I am the Resurrection and the Life” rose from the dead. “Now Christ is ‘the firstborn among many brethren’; he is ‘the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep’; his own resurrection is the harbinger of the great resurrection-harvest of his people.”1 As the first to rise from the dead and receive his glorified body, Jesus is the Beginning and pre-eminent Head of the Church. Now through what he accomplished, all who believe are given new life and the promise of the coming resurrection.

Who else deserves to be the Head of the Church? No man can take that responsibility except the resurrected founder of the Church, Jesus Christ. He alone has been given the pre-eminent position of leadership over the Body of believers. And only he can perfectly organize the Body so that “each part is working properly, [and] makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (Eph. 4:16). So, as you consider your part in the Body today, follow the loving leadership of the true Head of the Body, the Lord Jesus Christ.

1Bruce, F. F., The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians, in The New International Commentary on the New Testament, (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1984), 71.

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