How does Jesus have the preeminence?
The writer is a church pastor and a regular columnist for The Journal.
By Dave Havir
BIG SANDY, Texas--The apostle Paul wrote that Jesus Christ has preeminence over all (Colossians 1:18).
The context of Colossians shows that Paul was emphasizing the Father (verses 3, 12). He was stressing how God had bestowed many functions upon Jesus (verses 13-18).
In another letter Paul explained that Jesus would rule until He delivered the Kingdom to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).
Paul obviously knew that Jesus does not have dominion over the Father. Yet he also knew that the Father gave Jesus preeminence over all religious men and religious systems.
Old Testament patriarchs
It is true that the patriarchs in the Old Testament were important people in history. Yet Jesus has preeminence over all of them.
They assumed that having a relationship with a physical leader and being a part of a physical group could make them free. The truth is that their relationship with Abraham did not make them free.
However, the Son could make them free (verses 34-35).
John the Baptist confirmed that Moses was important, but he also demonstrated Jesus' superiority (John 1:17).
Also, later in the book of Hebrews we read: "For this man [Jesus] was counted worthy of more glory than Moses" (Hebrews 3:3).
The death and resurrection of the Son make it possible for saints to fulfill the spiritual law in their lives (Romans 8:3-7).
John the Baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:17) and was identified by Jesus as the Elijah to come (Matthew 11:14; 17:11-13).
Just as Elijah was a prophet to help people know God, John the Baptist was a prophet who prepared the way for Jesus' coming.
Jesus will be the one who comes to restore all things (Acts 3:19-21).
Peter confirmed that David was important, but he also demonstrated Jesus' superiority (Acts 2:24-36).
David had written about Jesus (verses 25-28). The Christ was prophesied to sit on the throne of David (verse 30).
But Peter showed David's limitations when he mentioned that David was in his sepulcher (verse 29) and had not ascended into the heavens (verse 34).
By contrast, Jesus rose from the dead (verses 24, 36).
New Testament servants
It is true that various people in the New Testament were historically important servants. Yet Jesus Christ has preeminence over all of them.
Paul corrected saints in Corinth because they polarized around Peter, Apollos and himself (1 Corinthians 1:12). He reminded them that no man was crucified for them and that they were not baptized into the name of any man (verse 13).
Later in the letter Paul identified some of their behavior as carnal (1 Corinthians 3:3-4).
If the shoe fits
For the record, I am not denouncing the idea of saints being organized and cooperative. However, the Bible condemns the practice of saints polarizing around men and giving them dominion over their faith.
Someone will undoubtedly say: Okay. We shouldn't polarize around men. How does that apply to me?
Let me mention some concepts that influence people to make mistakes. To him who has eyes to see, let him see:
Don't blame the leaders
It is common for saints to blame leaders for the polarization that is occurring. It is true that leaders often presumptuously assume for themselves dominion over the faith of people.
But God holds saints responsible for how they react to the behavior of other people--whether they are self-appointed rulers or servers for God.
Mom was right
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