I must put Jesus first. Jesus is the main thing about the main thing. His rank in God’s country is supreme. Jesus is the King, High Priest and Prophet in His role as Messiah. I must acknowledge that always and forever.
Jesus has been exalted to a place of pre-eminence. The word preeminence is the Greek word proteuo, which means “to be first in rank or influence.” It comes from the word protos, meaning “foremost in time, order, or importance.” We see this word in the English word prototype—“the first type or model of something.” It is therefore the idea of being first, and in that sense, holding the number one position in the order of things.
“Jesus is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” | Acts 5:31 (NASB)
Preeminence simply means that the Messiah, as the head of the church, should be held in the highest esteem in each of our lives. As we think about His exalted status, there ought to well up within us an appreciation for His supreme position in the universe. In the priority structure of everything, He is in first place. He is the preeminent One.
Here are things I believe and know to be true.
- Jesus is the Son of God
- He came to earth to be born of a virgin
- He lived a perfect life
- Jesus died to redeem me from my missing God’s goal for me
- He rose from the dead in an incorruptible body defeating death
- He ascended to heaven to be the King of God’s country and sits at the right hand of God.
He is also the head of the body, the church;
he is the beginning,
the firstborn from the dead,
so that he might come to have
first place (πρωτεύων (prōteuōn) in everything. | Colossians 1:18
Jesus the Messiah is the Head of the assembly of disciples (aka the church), and the Beginning of the church; and He is also the Firstborn from the dead. Paul did not say that Jesus was the first person to be raised from the dead, for He was not. He is the only one to be raised to an incorruptible body. But He is the most important of all who have been raised from the dead; for without His resurrection, there could be no resurrection for others.
It seems odd that Paul used the word born in connection with death, for the two concepts seem opposed to each other. But the tomb was a womb from which Jesus came forth in victory, for death could not hold Him. The Son was begotten in resurrection glory; i.e., an incorruptible body.
This brings us to the theme of this entire section: “That in all things He might have the preeminence” (Col. 1:18). This was God’s purpose in making His Son the Savior, Creator, and Head of the assembly of disciples. The word translated “preeminence” is used nowhere else in the New Testament. It is related to the word translated “firstborn,” and it magnifies the unique position of Jesus the Messiah. “The Messiah is all, and in all”.
- Acts 5:31 — 31 “He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
- Acts 2:33 — 33 “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.
- Acts 7:55 — 55 But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God;
- Ephesians 1:20–21 — 20 which He brought about in the Messiah, when He raised Him 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 every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
- Ephesians 4:8–10 — 8 Therefore it says, “When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, And He gave gifts to men.” 9 (Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.)
- Philippians 2:9–11 — 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus the Messiah is Master, to the glory of God the Father.
- Colossians 3:1 — 1 Therefore if you have been raised up with the Messiah, keep seeking the things above, where the Messiah is, seated at the right hand of God.
- Hebrews 8:1 — 1 Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,
- Hebrews 10:12 — 12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God,
- 1 Peter 3:22 — 22 who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.
- Revelation 3:21 — 21 ‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Col 1:18). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 117). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.