“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” (Colossians 1:18).
The comparison between the the human body and the church as the body of Christ was a favorite of the Apostle Paul. In addition to its appearance here in the Epistle to the Colossians, Paul also turned to this illustration in the New Testament books of Romans (Romans 12:4-5), 1 Corinthians (1 Corinthians 12:12-27), and Ephesians (Ephesians 4:11-16) as well.
Here in Colossians, the emphasis is upon Christ as the head or leader of His church. To help develop this idea, let’s consider the various functions associated with that part of our body that exists above the neck. For instance, the head of the body…
- Perceives things that other parts of the body do not.
- Possesses the ability to think, reason, and plan.
- Provides guidance and direction for other parts of the body.
- Receives input from other members of the body and responds accordingly.
Just as the individual members of a human body cannot perceive the information known to the head of the body, so it is also true of Christ. Jesus perceives what would otherwise be inaccessible to the members of His body and guides them accordingly. As Jesus said to His followers in John 15:15, “…I speak to you as my friends, and I have told you everything that my Father has told me.”
Jesus also plans and directs the actions of His body. This idea is generally expressed in the well-known passage from Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
We can turn to Gospel of John once again to illustrate the provision Christ makes for our guidance and direction: “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you” (John 16:13-14).
Finally, Jesus said this in regard to input from the church body: “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:13-14).