And has put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
If a stream be a symbol of the multitude of the believers, Jesus is the fountain. If a tree be an image of the whole Church, Jesus is the root and the trunk. If a kingdom represent the disciples of this dispensation, Jesus is the prince. Or does the conjugal union in the person of the wife illustrate the relation of the Church to our Saviour? Then, as the husband is the head of the wife, so is Jesus the Head of the Church. Or, if the human body, in its parts, and as a whole, represent the Church and the Saviour, then Jesus is the Head of the body. We will briefly attempt to define the sovereignty of Jesus Christ as here declared, and then inquire into some of the circumstances which this headship involves — circumstances, the consideration of which may tend to produce confidence and repose of soul.
I. "AND HATH PUT ALL THINGS UNDER HIS FEET, AND GAVE HIM TO BE THE HEAD OVER ALL THINGS TO THE CHURCH." We must supply the antecedent, "The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory." "The Father hath put all," "and gave Him." "Gave," here means, as you know, appointed, or constituted. The pronoun "Him" distinctly refers to Christ, "Christ" being the antecedent in the twentieth verse. And there can be no doubt as to the meaning of the word "Head": it expresses the highest authority, and the supreme power. This explanation is confirmed by the words, "and hath put all under His feet." Ancient conquerors sometimes trampled the vanquished Under the feet of their horses, and crushed them with their chariot wheels. Our Lord Jesus Christ, then, now reigns supreme. His mind devises, His will determines, His lips decree, and His power executes. Jesus does not now serve; He ordains and exacts service. He does not now obey; He commands. He does not now submit; He rules. And Jesus asserts and maintains His sovereignty in every sphere with special relation to His Church. And it may help further to develop this topic if we remark, still briefly, that Christ's Headship in His humiliation is distinct from His Headship in His exaltation. In His humiliation He was the Head in the sense of substitution and representation. That Headship was, however, mere representation; the Headship of which our text speaks is dominion. The former was temporary; this is forever. That was for man only; this is over all. That was in humiliation and sorrow; this is in a state of exaltation and joy. That was the foundation; this the beautiful and sublime superstructure. We must also remark that Christ's Headship to His Church is distinct from His Headship over all. The two are one in design, but they are distinct in character and manifestation. As the Head of the Church, Jesus dwells in the highest and best affections of those who compose the Church. He rules them by conviction, and by persuasion, and in love.
II. WHAT DOES THE HEADSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST INVOLVE? Universal government, then, is really in the hands of that Being whom you trust with yourself, and whom you trust as your Saviour. His authority is not nominal, but actual; and His power is not in word and in boast, but in deed and in truth. No hireling power supplants Him; no flattering sycophant blinds Him; no lawless opposition awes Him. And, brethren, the redemption of a countless multitude, glory for the redeemed, and honour to God, will be the result of Christ's dominion. Not a slave among them; not a captive; not a prisoner; none widowed; none orphaned; none poor; not a sinner a sinner still; not sufferer a sufferer still; not a sinner nor a sufferer — no, not one! It was not always so. Time was when poverty, sickness, oppression, death, and evil of every kind, ran riot among the subjects of this very King; but the Head, Christ Jesus, shall then, from all these evils, have saved them; and having saved, glorified them. And God shall be glorified in them. As the maiden in the mirror sees what manner of person she is; and as the fisher in the clear lake beholds his full length image; so God in this glorified multitude shall see Himself — His power — His righteousness — His wisdom — His love — Himself. And in this glorified multitude, the angels, as in a crystal sea, shall behold their God. But, brethren, look at the process. The process is as remarkable as the consummation is glorious. The establishing of righteousness and blessedness among fallen men is an object of eternal purpose. The goings forth of the Head, Christ Jesus, are of old, from everlasting. The promise of this Headship relieved the expulsion from Eden of its dark and dense gloom. Abraham rejoiced to See the day of this King Jesus. As "the Angel of the covenant" He was with the Church in the wilderness, and with the Church upon Zion. From Adam's fall until the incarnation of Jesus, the world was in a course of preparation for the founding of His empire. The world was allowed to grow weary under human dominion; and at the climax of its groaning this empire was born. The King Himself is a martyr King; and He passed through death to reach His throne.
Parallel VersesKJV: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,