Jesus’ lordship makes him the head of the church.
22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
Over the last few days, we’ve seen this glorious passage reaching a climax as Jesus is exalted to rule over the whole universe. In today’s reading we see that crescendo reach its high point as Jesus is appointed head. Head over everything. The big boss. The ‘head’ honcho. Being head over everything asserts his divine kingship as he rules creation with grace and fairness.
But I think ‘head’ means more than just boss here. He’s not just the ‘head’ in the generic way that someone is a ‘head chef,’ ‘head of state’ or ‘head of department’… a leader in charge of overseeing others and taking responsibility. His headship has much richer meaning than that.
See, the next verse describes the church—us—as his body. He is the head and we are his body. Now the thing about bodies is that they kind of need to be connected to heads to be any good… neither the head nor the body work very well if they are separated.
Paul is using this beautiful metaphor to remind us of our deep union with Christ. We have been joined to him so closely that we are part of the same body now—we can’t exist apart from our head that gives us life, consciousness, understanding. Jesus, our head, is connected to us in a way that can never be taken away from us. What an extraordinary privilege to be connected to the living God!
This also challenges us to leave behind our individualistic identities. Our old identities that want to make a name for ourselves and exalt ourselves to be the head honcho. Instead, we become one part of a body, a collective of many people that make up the church and whose collective head is Jesus. He is the head that tells the body how to move and what to do. We have the enormous privilege to be his hands and feet, delighting in serving the God who saved us and made us part of his very own body.
Jesus has been exalted to rule as head over everything. This especially includes the church which is his body, so we have the joy of taking on a new collective identity where he is the head that directs us where to go and how to live for him.
You are the mighty ruler over the universe, and yet you have noticed me and chosen me by name to be part of your body. I don’t deserve to enjoy such an intimate union with God, but I am so grateful you have given it to me anyway! Please help me to submit to your headship over my life and to remain closely connected to the rest of your body through my church family. Please kill the pride in my heart that struggles for my own power and headship and show me that you are a kinder and fairer ruler. Help me to grow closer to you as I enjoy this union with Jesus. In his name, Amen.
A song to listen to: O Breath of Life
Living Church City South