Colossians 1:17-18 “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.”
Why do the heavenly bodies continue in their orbits instead of crashing into each other like a box of ping-pong balls poured out on the floor? Why does the chair on which you are sitting continue to support you instead of collapsing in a pile of splinters? Why do the laws of physics keep order, and everything doesn’t fall apart in utter chaos? It is because God’s Son is King. Creation’s Maker continues to hold it all together as part of his ruling work.
Doesn’t this part of his ruling work touch our lives as well? Each morning I eat a bowl of cereal and drink a glass of orange juice that my body is processing at this very moment. It is drawing the energy with which I am able to live and function. When I get up, I inhale a medication which helps keep my lungs open so that I can draw my next breath. None of that happens by chance. Jesus is our Maker whose ruling power is still making all of it work. None of this depends upon my faith in him. It would all still be happening if I rejected him, even if I had never heard of him at all. Whether we acknowledge him or not, God’s Son is the King whose power makes us and sustains us today.
We, however, do acknowledge him. And by faith we enjoy a special relationship with him as our Head. “And he is the head of the body, the church.” As with the Creator-Creation relationship, it is natural for us to think of the head of a body as ruling and directing the body, isn’t it? I don’t mean to be too graphic, but have you ever literally seen a chicken with its head cut off? I used to help my aunt and uncle butcher chickens. I can tell you that without the heads, those bodies literally ran and flapped all over the place. Missing the head, the bodies had no rule, they had no direction. The head rules the body.
But the connection of a head with a body is ever so much more intimate than telling the body what to do. Life flows from the head to the body to which it is directly attached. The head observes the body and directs the proper care to each of the parts. The head is deeply concerned about the health and survival of the body to which it is attached.
So our spiritual Head, who rules and guides us as King, also died and rose again from the dead to promise his body life. “…he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.” Do you spot the promise to us in this description of Jesus? If he is the beginning of those who died and rose again, if he is the firstborn of those who have risen from the dead, then others will follow. As our Head, our King does so much more than rule. He gives us life, life that will never end.
This is not a King who taxes his people into poverty so that he can live in obscene luxury. He holds their entire world together. He gives them direction. He gives them life. Then he gives them life after death. There is a long list of religious hucksters trying to offer us a better deal than the one we have in Jesus–previously undisclosed secrets for a fuller life, religion that lets you feel good about yourself, easier rules to follow. The Apostle Paul wants us to understand that nothing is better than what we already have in Jesus. He is the King supreme.