Posted by GregQualls | Posted in Jesus, Re:Train, Religion/Spirituality | Posted on 03-12-2009
While Paul displays Jesus’ preeminence and authority over all of creation, he also takes the time to show Jesus in authority over the church. Right before Paul declares Jesus’ preeminence over everything in Col. 1:18, he states that Jesus “is the head of the body, the church.” Wright states:
It is to this Jesus Christ, none other, that the Colossians now belong in belonging to the church. This is the moment when…the thought moves from creation to new creation. Paul starts where the Colossians are, as members of the one world-wide people of God. If God’s people are the new humanity, the metaphor of a human body is utterly appropriate to express not only mutual interdependence (as in Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 12:12ff.) but also, as here, an organic and dependent relation to Christ himself.
Jesus isn’t just the ultimate authority in the church, but he intimately leads his church. As it is impossible for our bodies to survive and move without our head, so it is true of the church. Jesus is in a deep and intimate relationship as he leads his church. Jesus is the head and we are “his body, that is, the church” (Col. 1:24).
Jesus’ headship in the church is also reiterated in Paul’s references to his and Colossians place in the church under and for Jesus. From the very first sentence in his letter to the Colossians, Paul shows Jesus’ headship by saying that he is “an apostle of Christ Jesus” (Col. 1:1). Paul’s apostleship is only shown to be of value because of its relationship to Jesus. When Paul speaks of Epaphras, he says that Epaphras “is a faithful minister of Christ” (Col. 1:7). Being called to one body in Christ, the Colossians are called to “let the peace of Christ rule in [their] hearts” (Col. 3:15). As the body of Christ, they are called to “do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col. 3:17). Lastly, Paul gives them a clear perspective on their work, saying that “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men…You are serving the Lord Christ” (Col. 3:23-24). As members of the body of Christ, the person the Colossians ultimately work for isn’t here on earth but the person of Jesus Christ.
Jesus isn’t just the head of the church, but he is also displayed at the source of the church. Paul continues in verse 18 to say that Jesus “is the beginning.” MacArthur gives a better understanding of what Paul meant when he used the word beginning:
Arche (beginning) used here in the twofold sense of source and primacy. The church has its origins in Jesus. God “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4). It is He who gives life to His church. His sacrificial death and resurrection on our behalf provided our new life. As head of the Body, Jesus holds the chief position, or highest rank in the church. As the beginning, He is its originator.
Because of the work of Jesus on the cross, the Colossians have been brought into the body of Christ. The source of the church is Jesus, as “in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (Col. 1:19-20). The Colossians have been saved from their sin to Jesus and his body, the church.
 Wright, Colossians and Philemon, 73-74.
 MacArthur Jr., Colossians and Philemon, 51.