Spiritual Headship in the Church and Home, Article #2
“Jesus is Lord”
Our Lord said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:19) What part of that do we not understand? In regard to the whole topic at hand, when it comes to “headship,” be it in the church and home, that about covers it all, wouldn’t you say? Headship belongs to Christ.
In his letter to the church at Ephesus, St. Paul talks about how God the Father raised Christ from the dead “and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:20-23)
We also have these wonderful words in Paul’s letter to the Colossians, that Christ “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities- all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” (Colossians 1:15-19)
Do me a favor and reread both of the previous passages and consider all that they say about our Savior, the One to whom “every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11) Indeed, you and I in our personal devotions cannot spend too much time considering what it means that Jesus is Lord… that Jesus is my Lord and the ramifications of the same.
I would venture to say that most people do, in fact, understand conceptually that Christ is the head of the church. They likewise understand that He is the head of the home. The problem or issue is not a matter of “comprehending.” Rather, it is one of accepting, embracing, admitting and confessing this spiritual truth with one’s lips and in one’s very own life. How is that working for you?
In our daily reflection of our life in Christ, we need to again and again ask ourselves if we are only paying lip service to the fact that Jesus is Lord and that He is head over all things in heaven and earth. Certainly, Christ’s headship is not contingent upon our acknowledging the same and living accordingly. He is head and Lord over all regardless of our actions. Still, we fervently pray that Christ may truly be head over our lives – in our home and in our church – and that this is oh-so evident in the way we think and in what we do and say.
So how does that happen? It happens when we, by the power of the Holy Spirit, listen to and obey the words which come from the holy mouth of our most sacred Head. It happens when we read, mark, learn and inwardly digest the Scriptures and apply the same to any and all aspects of our lives. Then and only then are we upholding the headship of Christ.
When our Lord says one thing in His holy word and we have the audacity to say another, when we change and rearrange His words (even if it is ever so slightly) or interpret His will to fit our will, our desires… we have, in reality, tried to usurp the power and authority of Christ. In these instances, we have tried to take Christ’s headship from Him and make it our own, declaring ourselves to be in charge. Dare I say that we, through our actions, declare ourselves to be God? And if not God, we try to at least be His “vicar,” standing in His place, functioning and acting like some pope.
Sadly, this happens a lot in our homes and in our churches. It has been the case down through the centuries and it is still to this very day. So how is it in your home? How is it in your congregation? How is it in our Synod? In these places, is Christ the head? He is, of course. He always is. But is it true in regard to what we are doing?
As I mentioned in my first article, we will now turn our attention first to the home and examine what all is happening there in regard to spiritual headship. Such a discussion will be anything but boring.
Pastor Mark Hein
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Lockport, Illinois