15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him 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 him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (Colossians 1:15-20).
Balancing the Song of Christ’s Humility from Philippians 2:5-11 is the Song of Christ’s Preeminence from Colossians 1:15-23. Philippians 2:5-11 primarily addresses the doctrine of Christ’s humanity. Colossians 1:15-20 primarily addresses the doctrine of Christ’s Deity. Not only is Jesus Christ completely human, He is also completely God. Both doctrines are biblical and must be held together.
To begin with, we have examined that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God, the first born over all creation, that by him 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 him and for him, and Jesus is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Today, we examine the first part of Colossians 1:18 which says, “And he is the head of the body, the church.”
The phrase “and he is the head of the body, the church” is the theme of the Apostle Paul’s Epistle to the Colossians. When Paul said that Jesus is the head (κεφαλή; kephale) of the body, he meant that Jesus is the superior. He is presently and actively in authority and in charge. There are those in the church who often believe that they are in charge due to their position, power, wealth or popularity. The Bible says otherwise.
Jesus Christ is the supreme authority over the church. The word church (ἐκκλησία; ekklesias) refers to a congregation, or assembly. Paul referred to the church as the body. This common New Testament figure of speech refers to believers in Christ being joined together with each individual having a specific responsibility for the health and well being of the church. Paul develops this theme extensively in I Corinthians 12-14.
Dr. John Walvoord explains that, “Christ is the Head of the body, the church. Besides being the Lord of the universe He is also the church’s Head (cf. Eph. 1:22–23; 5:23). The reference here is to the invisible or universal church into which all believers are baptized by the Holy Spirit the moment they believe in Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). This work of the Spirit began on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 1:5; 2:1–2; 11:15–16). It is a special body in which there is “neither Jew nor Gentile” (Gal. 3:28) but a whole new creation of God (Eph. 2:15). The church is a “mystery … which was not made known to men in other generations” (Eph. 3:4–5; cf. Rom. 16:25–26; Col. 1:26).”
What role and responsibility do you have within the Body of Christ? If you are not sure, begin praying to God for wisdom and insight as how you may serve Him and others (I Peter 4:10-11).
Soli deo Gloria and Merry Christmas.