THE HEAD OF THE BODY, THE CHURCH
Colossians 1:18 And He (Jesus Christ) 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.
The term "head" has many meanings. It is the seat of reason, memory, and imagination; the mind; the intelligence of mankind. It is the highest, the top, or the uppermost part of a thing. It is that part of a pier farthest from land; the front of a ship; the front part of a column of marching men. It is the jutting part of a spear, arrow, or even a landmass that projects out into water. It is the culmination of a crisis referred to as "coming to a head." Cattle, and other animals, as well as cabbage, as well as many other plants and animals, are numbered in heads. People have headaches, headpieces, and dive headlong into either a swimming pool or their work. We confront problems head-on, become headstrong, and make headway. People "fall head over heals" in love, and tackle a job that is "over their head." As you can very well see, "head" has numerous meanings.
In the lesson text, Christ is compared to the head of the body. Physically, the head is the top part of the human body that contains the brain and sensory organs including the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. However, the body, referred to in this context, is not the human body; rather it is the church that is made up of those men and women that, through obedience, were baptized into its body, and are called Christians. Jesus, then, is the head of this body of Christians. It is His church, the church of Christ, over which He rules as its head. Used here, Christ has dominion over His church. He is first in importance; the foremost person, the headmaster, the leader, the ruler - yea, He is King of His domain, which is His church on earth.
Three reasons are given to assure us that Christ should and, indeed, does hold this preeminent position among Christians that make up the church. First of all, He is the beginning. Through the apostle John, Jesus told the church of the Laodiceans that He was the beginning of the creation of God (Rev. 3:14). To all Christians, this is very significant. What is even more meaningful, and importan, is that Christ is both the beginning and the ending of God's creation. Jesus says I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last (Rev. 22:13). Jesus existed before time on earth began, during the time of its existence, and will exist after time on earth ends. No earthly being can make this claim.
Also, Christ is the head of the body, the church because He is the firstborn from the dead. Jesus raised Lazarus and others from death, yet we must understand that, although they regained their mortal bodies, they undoubtedly died again. The preeminence of Christ is demonstrated in that He was the first to arise from death never to die again; He achieved immortality. Eternal salvation is available only to those making up His body. Resurrection from physical death is the principle on which salvation is based. The resurrection of Jesus Christ, the firstborn from the dead, is our assurance that our spiritual bodies are also immortal, and, like Christ, will arise from earth's grave. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept ...even so in Christ shall all be made alive (1 Cor. 15:20-23). Again, no earthly being can make this claim.
Finally, Christ is the head of the body, the church because in all things He has preeminence. It was God, our Father in heaven that blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ (Eph. 1:3). It was God, the Father that placed His Son, Jesus Christ far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all (Eph. 1:21-23). Matthew recorded these words of Jesus for our learning:all power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth (Matt. 28:18). Let it be known to all; no earthly being can make this claim.
The church you attend - who founded it? Who established its doctrine? Who is considered its head and is given preeminence? Is it the Pope, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, John Smith, Ann Lee, John Wesley, Joseph Smith, Jr., Mary Baker Eddy, or any of a number of "founders," all of which originated churches during the period 500 A.D. to the present? Or, do you attend the church of which Jesus Christ is head, which began on the Day of Pentecost, 33 A.D.? Be assured that Christ is the Head of the church, and He is the Savior of the Body (Eph. 5:23b). No other earthly being can make this claim!