Short Meditations on the Body of Christ: 3. Christ the head
Col 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church;
The idea of Christ being the head of his body, the Church, is a fairly obvious one when you think about it and we also find it in Eph 4:15,16 and 5:23, and Col 2:19 as well as our verse above. Because it only comes from the apostle Paul and then only four times, we might think it is of little consequence – and I wonder how many times you have heard this preached upon? But if we are being presented with a picture of the church as the present body of Christ, then a reminder of who or what motivates this body is important.
We have already noted that the body is energised by the Holy Spirit, but the direction for activity of the body – as with any human body must come from the head – must come from Jesus who, we are told in Scripture, is seated at his Father’s right hand in heaven reigning in the midst of his enemies over the last times. Your human body and mine, functions with the aid of the brain (in the head) and the heart. If either stop functioning, your body stops living. The head brings purpose and direction to what the body does.
Now is this just an academic point of theology or are there real, genuine practical outworkings of it. Well Jesus laid down an important principle when, speaking to the Jews, he said, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” (Jn 5:17) This principle starts by suggesting that God is always at work on His earth (we may not see Him and we may not discern His activity but that does not mean He is not doing that). But then Jesus carried on, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (Jn 5:19).
If we link that to verses we quoted in the first study, we see something significant: “when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me… Then I said, `Here I am… I have come to do your will, O God.” (Heb 10:5-7) Jesus is also constantly at work, following the desires of the Father, to do His will. He did it then through one human body and he does it now by millions of human bodies all linked together by his Spirit and he energises them by his Spirit to do the will of the Father.
Now the crucial question comes: do I as an individual member of this body, and my local church as a bigger expression within this body, seek out the will of God and respond to the head to be a working member of this body today? (Mt 6:33, Rom 12:1,2) If not, then our lives are a pale reflection of what they could be.