He (Christ) is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in all things He might have the pre-eminence (Colossians 1:18)
Symptomatic of mankind’s desire for something better than it now possesses is the excessive use of superlatives to describe people, places and things. Madison Avenue and Wiltshire Boulevard expend themselves in efforts to magnify whatever they may be promoting as being the most of this or the best of that. Such-and-such a motion picture is the most fantastic ever produced. This beauty cream or that one is even better than last year’s formula which, less than twelve months earlier, was the best of all. A purely provincial restaurant proclaims that it serves the world’s best apple pie, by which it might be assumed that the proprietor has travelled round the world tasting apple pie morning, noon and night.
There is, however, one supreme Person. Nothing good that can be said about this Man, whether related to His position, character or work, can be less than superlative. I am speaking of our Lord Jesus Christ, God’s unique Son who became incarnate and offered Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. God raised this peerless Person from the grave and seated Him at His own right hand, “far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this world but also in the that which is to come” (Ephesians 1:12). God the Father has done this for His Son in order that He, the Son, might have the pre-eminence in all things (Colossians 1:18).
1. Christ was pre-eminent in creation. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth (Genesis 1:1). The agent of that majestic creative act was Jesus Christ, the Son of God, “for by Him (Christ) were all things created, that are in heaven, that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:16). “All things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3).
2. Christ is pre-eminent in revelation. Not in the New Testament alone but in the Old Testament as well Christ is the subject matter, in fact the centre. “Search the Scriptures,” Jesus said to the people of His day. “for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39). The Scriptures of which He spoke are the writings of the Old Testament. In them He is pre-eminent. For example, the Seed of the woman of Genesis 3:15 is Christ. The passover Lamb of Exodus 12 prefigures Him. He is the shepherd of the twenty-third Psalm, the Immanuel of Isaiah 7:14 and the Man “like the Son of God” in Daniel 3:25.
3. Christ is pre-eminent in the incarnation. When God became manifest in the flesh, all three persons of the Godhead were involved: God the Father gave His Son (John 3:16). God the Holy Spirit overshadowed the virgin, Mary, in the conception of God the Son (Luke 1:36). God the Son took upon Himself the form of a servant when he was made in the likeness of men (Philippians 2:6-8).
4. Christ is pre-eminent in salvation. Embodied here in the word “salvation” is all that it implies in its widest sense: redemption, regeneration, justification, restoration and conformation. It is the crucified, resurrected, ascended and indwelling Christ who redeems, empowers and preserves those who trust in Him. “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12) .
5. Christ is pre-eminent in the consummation. The heathen may rage, people may imagine vain things and rulers of the earth may defy the Lord, as the psalmist tells us (Psalm 2), or godless men may seek to relegate Jesus Christ to mythology, as they do today, but God will have the last word and it will be spoken through His Son. For some day the One who was rejected by so many people will reign. The kingdoms of this world will become Christ’s kingdom (Rev. 11:15). At the name of Jesus every knee is going to bow — of things in heaven and on earth and under the earth — and every tongue will confess that he is the Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11). Christ is pre-eminent in the consummation.
What of your own heart? Is He pre-eminent there? There is His desire and God’s very best, His superlative, for you.
—E. Schuyler English
in The Pilgrim