The Head of the Body

Anecdotal evidence passes along the fascinatingly morbid information that a severed head retains consciousness for several seconds after its decapitation. If this is true, it is horrific to contemplate. Whether this gruesome information is true or not medical science has proven that a person without a head is soon dead.

The body is a collection of complex, integrated systems. The processes that keep the body working properly are spread throughout the body. The organs essential to sustaining life are found in the head and torso. The channels for nutrients and information run to every part of the human body in an elaborate system of wires for communication and pipes for transporting goods. In fact, someone discovered that if you took all the blood vessels out of your body and laid them end to end, you’d be dead. The control room which guides every one of the body’s complex systems is contained in the cavern behind your eyeballs.

From the head comes the commands necessary for the heart to beat, the lungs to expand, the stomach to digest, the throat to swallow, the eyes to blink, the feet to move and the hands to close. All nerve endings terminate in the head. The control of hormones, the transmission of information, the signals to fight infection and the correlation and response to stimuli all happen within the head. Everything done by the body is done because of direction from the head.

The first chapter of Colossians uses the human body to describe Jesus’ relation to the church.“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” (Colossians 1:18) Jesus has complete and final authority in the church. In the human body, the head makes all the essential decisions. The functions essential to life are spread through the body but none can operate without the control of the head. Likewise, the church can do nothing apart from its head. (John 15:5)

Jesus exercises His authority over the church through His Word. Christ’s headship is not mystical. No church member or pastor has the authority to declare that God woke them up in the middle of the night and gave a vision of what He wants the church to do. Jesus has already revealed His will for the church in His Word. The Holy Spirit applies the truths of the Word to the church by convicting of sin, directing in mission, compelling to obedience and empowering for service. A church that is submitted to the active headship of Jesus is one that is passionate to know and obey His Word.

The church that is submitted to the headship of Jesus makes much of Him. It celebrates His saving work on the cross. It proclaims Him, His gospel and His glory to itself and to those outside the church. It actively and consciously acknowledges it’s total dependence on Jesus. The members work together humbly for the advancement of Christ’s kingdom and glory, not for the increase of their own notoriety. Jesus is the Head of the church who rests supreme over His body. Let’s make much of Him.