Jan 10, 2013

Christ as the Head Over All Things

That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

In yesterday's reflection, we focused on the glorious sovereignty of Jesus Christ, whom God the father has enthroned "far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come" (1:21). In verse 22, Paul elaborates further on the authority of Christ, "And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church."

If we read this verse quickly, we might miss its distinctive picture of the headship of Christ. Ordinarily, we speak of Christ as the head of the church. Indeed, this language will be found later in Ephesians (5:23). But, in 1:22, Paul says something different. Translating very precisely, this verse reads, "[God] gave him [Christ] as head over all things for the church [or through the church]." Here, the point is not Christ's headship of the church, but rather his headship over all things for the church. How are we to understand this verse and its relevance to us?

The word "head" (kephale in Greek) can mean "authority" or "source," in addition to "head" as a body part. In our passage, Paul is clearly using kephale in the sense of authority. He has just said that God the Father has enthroned Christ above everything else in all creation. Expanding on this, Paul uses body imagery to illustrate the superior authority of Christ. All things are under his feet, and he is the head over all things.

When we look at our world, it may be hard to envision Christ as head over everything. We are surrounded by so much brokenness, unrighteousness, and injustice. We might wonder: If Christ is head over everything, why is everything so messed up? The quick biblical answer is that things are such a mess because of human sin. But God is in the process of making everything right through Christ. As we saw earlier in Ephesians, in the future, God will "bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ" (1:10).

Meanwhile, we live in the tension between the reality that Christ is head over all things and the fact that all things are not as God intends them to be. Yet, we have the opportunity not only to live under Christ's headship in our personal lives, but also to bring parts of our world under his authority. We do this each day as we serve Christ in our workplaces, our relationships, and through every action.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: How does the headship of Christ over all things make a difference in your life? In your workplace, where you have other "heads," such as your boss, your stockholders, etc., how might you live out the headship of Christ in an appropriate way?

PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ, head over all things, may your authority be honored today. May your will be done on earth as in heaven.

Help me to live today under your authority, working for you and your purposes. Give me wisdom to know what this means in my life, in my work, in my family, and in everything I do.

All praise, glory, and honor be to you, O Christ, head of all things. Amen.

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