Jesus and his Preeminence

Jesus Christ is the Head of the Body and the Church

In Colossians chapter 1, an impressive section of Scripture intensifies, building to verse 18, which expresses God's plan and priority from the beginning, that in all things, Jesus Christ is the preeminent One. Preeminent means superior to or notable above all others; superiority in excellence; distinction above others in quality, rank, etc. Only Jesus Christ is worthy of this exalted status.

Colossians 1:18 proclaims, “And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.”

No one else has the right to claim this distinction. Jesus Christ is the head of the Church, the Body of Christ. God worked His mighty power in Christ when He raised Jesus from the dead and seated Christ at His right hand in the heavenlies, “far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”

These powerful truths are in the first chapter of Ephesians. Jesus Christ was appointed to be “the universal and supreme Head of the church [a headship exercised throughout the church]” as the Amplified Bible puts it.

The word 'church' comes from the Greek kuriakos, belonging to the Lord, that is, the Lord's house, or oikos kuriakos. The word in the New Testament translated church is ekklesia, literally meaning called out. Its usage in the New Testament refers to all of the redeemed believers who are called by and to Christ, the church universal, as well as an assembly of believers in one location. The context will then determine its usage, whether universal or local or both.

In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said, “I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” One could wonder how this could be since Jesus was crucified and then raised from death, only to ascend. Jesus always spoke God's Word so there must be a way to understand how Jesus is building His church today.

In John 12:32, Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” God had planned for the reconciliation of mankind by way of the substitution of Jesus, as is evident in many Scriptures. God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. (2 Corinthians 5:19) Even for enemies, odious and adversarial to God, reconciliation was made available to God through the sacrificial death of His Son. (Romans 5:10)

God made access to Himself for both Jews and Gentiles as Ephesians 2:13-18 teaches, “that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross; For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.” Colossians 1:20-22 also clearly establishes that only through Jesus Christ was reconciliation to God made possible.

Before Jesus ascended, He said to His disciples, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” He then commissioned his chosen apostles to go and make disciples of all nations. Acts 1:8 adds some vital information to this assignment. “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”.

Jesus had taught them that after His departure, “the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” Today, Jesus Christ is still building His church by way of His Holy Spirit-filled representatives, “ambassadors for Christ,” as 2 Corinthians 5:20 states. Colossians 1:27 teaches that Christ dwells within all believers, and collectively, they make up the Body of Christ, the Church. “And he is the head of the body, the church.” (Colossians 1:18)

Ephesians 4 teaches that Jesus Christ gave gifts of service ministries to His church, to act in Jesus' name and on His behalf, helping believers to mature spiritually, performing the work that the ministry requires, acting in Christ's stead, building up the body of Christ. This will be essential until all Christians come into “the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”.

Jesus Christ is the Head of the Body of Christ, the Church, and all Christians are instructed to speak and live the truth in love, in order to “grow up in all things into Him who is the head, Christm, from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:12-16)

Written by: Pete Miller