The Head of the Church
Read Colossians 1:18a (ESV)
And he is the head of the body, the church.
How does Paul’s metaphor explain Christ’s role in regards to the church?
A friend of mine once told me a story about how a headless chicken chased her grandma around the barn. If you’ve ever been a part of butchering chickens, you know that this isn’t an exaggeration. Chickens can move around without their heads! They dart around aimlessly and frantically for a few minutes. But just like all other animals, they eventually succumb. We all need to keep our heads in order to survive.
Our brains are the powerhouse of our bodies. Our brains control our thinking, our emotions, our movements, our involuntary body processes, our speech, etc. Our brains enable us to make decisions, problem-solve, and experience the world around us. If we get disconnected from our heads, we cease to function.
In today’s verse, Paul uses a metaphor to explain Christ’s role in regards to the church. Paul says that Jesus is the head of the body. That means that we are inseparably connected to Him. He is the One who gives us life. He is the One who controls our functions. He is the One who determines our direction. He is the One who coordinates all of the different parts so that we work together to accomplish His will. Though we are all different parts of the body, we are one living organism in Him.
In 1 Corinthians 12:12-23, Paul explains how the church is one body with many members. With this metaphor, Paul illustrates that all members of the body of Christ are equally important. He wrote: “If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members of the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body (vv. 17-20).
As members of the church, we are all different parts of the body. We are uniquely designed and gifted by God to carry out His will in a specific way. But if we are cut off from Christ, we cannot function. Why? Because He is our head. He is the brain of the body. Without Him, we would cease to function. Without Him, the church would be like chickens with their heads cut off—running around frantically and aimlessly until we eventually succumb.
Friends, Jesus is the One who gives the church life. He is the One who provides direction for us, guides our steps, and coordinates our functions. He has complete control over us. He sustains His body. Praise God for that!
Lord, thank You for being the head of the church. Without You, we’d be lost. We need You to lead us and keep us. May we always abide in You. Amen.