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“And [Christ] is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent” (Colossians 1:18).

STRICTLY SPEAKING, THERE IS NO ONE OVER WHOM CHRIST IS NOT HEAD. But there is a special sense in which He is the head of His body, the church. After having refused His rule, these individuals have returned to their rightful King, sought His forgiveness, and sworn allegiance to Him from now on. Christ is truly their head — not just legally or theoretically, but in the way they live.

We could spend a lifetime unfolding different aspects of the truth that the people of Christ are His “body.” It is a fascinating metaphor, to say the least. All of us have bodies, governed (at least in our best moments) by our heads, so when the Scriptures say we are related to Christ in ways that resemble the link between our own head and body, that is an analogy that resonates with us.

For one thing, the fact that Christ is the head of His body should never become so commonplace that we forget how important that truth is. His rule over the church does not require our permission, nor are His instructions for the church subject to our preferences. We serve Christ, and we do not serve Him in an advisory capacity. To repeat: He is the head of the church.

He is the head of the church because He was made the head of it by God. Paul affirmed this when he wrote, “[God] put all things under [Christ’s] feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:22,23). And Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18). When this world comes to an end, the kingdom will be turned back to God (1 Corinthians 15:24), but for now, God has put all things under the feet of Christ, the Son who rules from the right hand of His Father (Mark 16:19; Hebrews 1:3) until the last enemy has been defeated.

Every Sunday when Christians observe the Lord’s Supper, they remember that their inclusion in the spiritual body of Christ is possible only because His physical body was sacrificed for them. By submitting to the agonizing limitations of a “body,” He gained a “body” of saved people whose own bodies are no longer prisons.

From his imprisonment my freedoms grow, find wings.
Part of his body, I transcend this flesh.
(Luci Shaw)

Gary Henry — +

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