Summary: We examine the second part of a presumed a hymn of the Early Church, glorifying Jesus as preeminent and supreme over Redemption.
“A Hymn to the Supremacy of Christ In Redemption” Colossians 1:18-20
Last week we looked at the first section of this marvelous Hymn to the Supremacy of Christ found in Colossians 1:15-20 and saw that it declares Christ as the Eternal Creator and Sustainer God, who has the highest rank or priority in the entire universe. He is God who holds all things together. Christ shares the Godly supremacy over the entire Created order!
This week we will look at verses 18-20 but we will read Colossians 1:15-20: “He (that is Jesus Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” (not born but the highest rank and authority, all the privileges which would be awarded a firstborn. Jesus could not be a born creature and be the Creator of all things at the same time.) 16 “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.” (Remember that the false doctrine which was prevalent at the time was the belief of a hierarchy of angels in which people said that you should pray to angels. This section refutes that understanding. Angels were created by God too and they are subject to Christ.) “All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.”
Now to the second half in verse18: “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. 19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”
Jesus is Supreme over Redemption
In verses 15-17 we saw Jesus’ pre-eminence, that is, His prominence and superiority in the entire realm of Creation; in verses 18-20 we see Jesus’ equal sovereignty in the realm of Redemption: Jesus is Lord over all. Verses 13-14 were the direct prelude to this Hymn and describe “WHY” the Lord Jesus Christ is Supreme over Redemption; Look at those again: 13 “He (God the Father) has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” (God has picked us up from one place, being dead in our sins, and transferred us into another, into the Kingdom of His Son.)
Kingdom’s have rulers or leaders and God is the ruler of His Kingdom; Verse 14 tells us that we have been placed into the Kingdom of God, or as verse 14 said, “the Kingdom of His Son,” so we can say that the Kingdom of God IS the Kingdom of His Son, and it implies clearly that Jesus shares in all of the power of the Godhead. That is why the beginning of verse 18 can state very clearly that “He (Jesus, and Jesus alone) is the head of the body, the Church.”
Jesus is the Head of the Body, the Church.
In Paul’s earlier writings (Gal., 1 & 2 Thess., 1 & 2 Cor. and Romans), he mentions that the Church is the “Body” of Christ. In Romans 12:5 Paul said: “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 explains this concept in detail, explaining that believers are all part of the ONE Body of Christ, the Church, and that God gives each one of us gifts by which we contribute to the unity, oneness and health of the body and that no one is exempt. No gift is insignificant because all the body parts are essential to the well-being of the body. (If you lose a part of your own body or if a part is not functioning properly, you find out how much you miss it.)
Colossians 1:18 is the first time that Jesus is mentioned as “the Head of the Body”. The primary meaning for the word, “head”, refers to the organic or physical part of the body, and we might say that Christ is the “Organic” head of the Church body.
This is obvious: We all have a head and it is normally attached to our necks, unless we “lose our head”. Many times we have heard that we haven’t USED our heads and that refers to the most important part of our heads which is located inside of our skulls, namely, our brains.
Science teaches us that the head or brain causes body life and growth. The brain is the guidance system of the body. Without the head, life, growth, movement, thought patterns and impulses cease to exist, and so Jesus is the Head of the Body, the Church, and we derive our life, our health, our existence and guidance from Him. He is the one who causes the Church to live and grow.