The Headship of Christ
James Smith, 1860
Various are the figures selected by the Holy Spirit, to represent and set forth the connection which exists between Christ and his people.
If the Church is the temple of the living God — then Christ is the entire foundation, and the beautiful stone, which at each corner, unites and binds the whole building together.
If the Church is a tree — then Christ is the root and trunk, which supplies every part with nourishment and strength.
If the Church is a kingdom — then Christ is the King and Lawgiver, who rules and governs the whole.
And, if the Church is compared to a body — then Christ is the living and life-giving head. He is head over all things for the good of the Church, thrones, and dominions, and principalities, and powers, being made subject unto him; he is head of the Church, as he represents, rules, and supplies her.
Christ stands in the closest and most endearing relation to his Church. "He is the head of the body, the Church." Every member is closely and vitally united to him. Each and all are absolutely dependent upon him. Each member is interested in all that Christ is, and in all that Christ has. The whole body is the object of his tender and watchful care. His Church is called his fullness and his glory. As the head, he cannot be complete without each and every one of his members. At his second coming, he will come to be glorified in his saints, and admired in all those who believe.
The Church, therefore, stands in the most important relation to Christ; she "is the body, the fullness of him who fills all in all." Jesus as her head rules her, not only by his laws — but by his love.
He thinks for her, all the thinking of the natural body is done by the head, and Christ, as the head of his body the Church, has thought for her, does think for her, and ever will think for her. Every need, every woe, and every trial occupies his thoughts; and for her comfort he says, "I know the thoughts that I think toward you, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."
He provides for her. He has made provision for all her needs, and he will send her supplies, both spiritual and temporal, just as his wisdom sees most fit.
He exercises the senses for her. He sees for her, watching all the movements of her foes, her allies, and of herself too.
He hears for her, listening to all that is whispered against her, every prayer that is offered for her, and all that is uttered by her.
He feels for her, her joys vibrate in his heart, and her sorrows awaken in him the deepest sympathy.
He speaks for her, replying to the accusations of all her foes, and pleading her cause before his Father.
He represents her, and is her beauty. As the head represents the man, and as the countenance is the glory and beauty of the man; so Jesus represents his people, and is their glory and beauty.
The Church has but one head, can have but one head — and that is Christ. A body with two heads, is a monster; and a Church with two heads would be monstrous. The wisdom, the safety, the life, and the beauty of the Church — is in her head. She is dependent on him for all she needs — but she is only dependent on him. She is safe in union with her Lord, and because he lives, she shall live also. Christ once suffered for his body, and now the members of that body are called to suffer for him. The head and the body will soon be glorified together, glorified alike, and glorified forever. As Jesus said, "The glory which you gave me, I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one."