Jesus - Number One
Jesus is Number One! Already in this chapter, Paul has described Jesus Christ as the 'image of the invisible God' (v15), 'Firstborn over all creation' (v15), 'Creator of everything' (v16): now Christ is presented as 'Head of the church' (v18), 'Firstborn from the dead' (v18); and later the 'Fullness of God' (v19) and the 'Reconciler of all things' (v20). There is no doubt that Jesus takes the highest place in every way.
The church is 'the called-out people': called by God, out of the kingdom of darkness, into the light with Jesus. This group of people is not a democracy; every single member of the church is under the authority of Christ, and can only function when connected with the head (using the analogy of the human body - Ephesians 4:15-16). He alone has the right to say what is right, and how His purposes are to be carried out - now and for ever, because just as Christ was the first to be raised from the dead, so all His people will also be raised to life, for ever.
Every human grouping naturally has a 'pecking order' of authority and power. But Jesus had said such a style must not characterise the church: "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you." (Matthew 20:25-26a). It should be obvious to us (but often is not!) that if Christ is Number One, then nobody else can be. In religion, Jesus cannot be one of a number of prophets or inferior to another Deity. In the world, whatever the authorities think, Christ is higher than them all. And personally we can never be superior to Him in any way. The greatest wisdom the world can find is to recognise Jesus as supreme. The greatest wisdom the church can show is to submit to its Head and not to seek its own glory. And at a personal level, at work and in the community, we need to let Jesus take the prime place in our lives. Then the world will see that He is Number One because we have stepped down from that position to love and serve Him. That is the Christian's daily challenge and struggle against the demands of self. Take up the challenge again today!
© Dr Paul Adams