Chapter 49 The Headship Of Christ

Head over all things (Ephesians 1:22).

Headship is not lordship. Our Lord Jesus Christ is Lord of all, but His Headship must be distinguished from that office. His Headship refers to four things in particular.

Head Over All Creation

“The Head of all principality and power” (Colossians 2:10). These are angelic powers, demonic powers, and cosmic powers in God’s created universe. Angelic powers ordained the law on Mount Sinai (Galatians 3:19). Demonic powers are fallen angels who have power over sinful men. Cosmic powers are laws which govern the universe. The Lord Jesus Christ is Head of all powers and authorities. This is a strong assertion of His deity and uniqueness. His hand moves every wheel in the pages of creation’s story and governs and guides it all.

Head Over All Kings

“The Prince [Ruler] of the kings of the earth” (Revelation 1:5). In the course of human history certain men, such as Alexander of Greece, Napoleon of France, Hitler of Germany, and Stalin of Russia have grasped at the throne of world dominion. All such ended their lives in shame and disgrace. This sad world has no real headship. That headship died in Adam, who was the natural head. The explanation of the confusion that marks world governments is that there is no real head.

At the end of time, these governments will seek to plant a human head on the body of mankind. He will be the beast of Revelation 13. But at our Lord’s appearance, He is to cast the beast, the false prophet, and the devil into the lake which burns with everlasting fire (Revelation 19:20; 20:10). The Headship of Christ will be vindicated and established in all realms of God’s created universe. He alone shall be the reigning power.

Head Over the Millennial Kingdom

“On His head were many crowns” (Revelation 19:12). Thus is our blessed Lord to appear for the inauguration of His millennial kingdom. The crown of Godhood is His, and this shall be acknowledged by all. The worth of this no mental power has ever grasped. The crown of manhood is His. This, too, will be clearly revealed for He is to come as the Son of man, and we shall see Him in glorified humanity in all its perfect excellence and beauty and unclouded glory. The crown of redemption is His, for He is the one and only Redeemer; the marks and exhibitions of His sufferings on the cross will be the evidence that He, and He alone, bore the crushing burden of His people’s sins. This world, which has been the scene of His humiliation, His surrender to shame—to agony, to death—is to be the scene of His glorious reign. In this way He will be totally vindicated before all the universe.

Head of the Church

“The head over all things to the church” (Ephesians 1:22). The difference between our Lord’s Lordship and Headship is that His Lordship is more positional; His Headship more functional. As Head of the Church, which is His body, He has, of course, a supreme position; but we think of the head of our body more in terms of function.

(1) The head is the seat of dignity. “That in all things He might have the pre-eminence” (Colossians 1:18). The head is the highest, the most beautiful, the most highly exalted part of the body. This is where God has placed the head. In the same way, our Lord is Head of the Church. There is no such thing as a vicar or substitute head. God has given no man authority to be the head of the Church. One body with two heads would be a monstrosity. The Lord Jesus is the sole, living Head of the body, which is the Church.

(2) The head is the seat of government. It is the head which tells each member how to act and move—when the arm is to be raised or lowered, when the lips are to speak or remain silent, when the foot is to walk or halt. Only the head can govern. Believers are not under a law of external, carnal commandments, not even “the Ten Commandments” as external laws; but under moment-by-moment direction of the living Head, Christ, who is the embodiment of all moral law.

(3) The head is the seat of wisdom. There is no wisdom in the foot, or the arm, or any other member of the body. Wisdom is in the head. What a privilege, then, to be a member of that body whose Head is the wisdom of God, and who “is made unto us wisdom,” so that we can seek His wisdom in all earthly and heavenly matters.

(4) The head is the seat of sympathy. There is within the human body a marvelously constructed telegraphic system. The very moment a hurt is given the body, even to the farthest member, the head immediately knows and commands members to hurry in their sympathy and help. Thus we see the Lord Himself as the Source of all our comfort. He, too, must appoint those who are to be His messengers of sympathy to those who are in hurt or any distress.

(5) The head is the seat of supply. “The Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God” (Colossians 2:19; Ephesians 4:16). Our Lord is the Supply Center for all the needs of all members of His own precious Body, the Church. Life is starved without Him. His is a constant agency of supply to meet every need, every day, every hour.

(6) The head is the seat of honor. “That in all things He might have the pre-eminence” (Colossians 1:18). Much of our Lord’s glory is seen in the wondrous titles of Colossians 1:13-18. It is like standing on a gold mine or sailing on a sea of glory. In India, when friends garland a person to do him honor, they do not place the garland on the foot or the arm, but only around the head. Thus all the saints cry: “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory” (Psalm 115:1). Said Paul in this same connection, “By the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Corinthians 15:10). Then let us come and adore our Lord as “Head over all things” and recognize His peerless Name.

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation;
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation;
All ye who hear,
Brethren and sisters draw near,
Praise Him in glad adoration.

Praise to the Lord, who, when darkness and sin is abounding,
Who, when the godless do triumph, all virtue confounding,
Sheddeth His light,
Chaseth the horrors of night,
Saints with His mercy surrounding.

Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him;
All that hath life and breath come now with praises before Him;
Let the Amen
Sound from His people again:
Gladly for aye we adore Him.

Neander: Winkworth