JESUS CHRIST, the BEGINNING and the END
"And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely" (Rev 21:6). "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last" (Rev 22:13).
Devotion 10 of 20
PREEMINENCE AND LORDSHIP
The Word of the Lord is not vague on the matter of Christ's preeminence. I am using the word "preeminence" rather than "lordship." One reason is that the word "lordship" is never used in reference to Jesus. No major version ever applies this term to the rule of Jesus! To many, this is a startling consideration. This does not mean Jesus is not absolute Lord of all. He is declared "Lord," and Lord He is (Acts 10:36).
In some circles, "the lordship of Christ" is used as though it were a revealed expression; but it is not. It is a term contrived by men to describe what they believe "Lord" means. As an English word, it is good, and does describe Christ's true position. Jesus, however, used the term to denote the leaders of the Gentiles who used coercion rather than beneficial leadership (Mark 10:42; Luke 22:25).
The word translated "lordship" ("lord it over," (NASB), "rulers," (NIV) in these verses (KJV), comes from a word meaning "to lord against, i.e. control, subjugate:--exercise dominion over (lordship), be lord over, overcome." To be sure, the Lord Jesus is in control, and His enemies will all be subjugated to Him. However, this is not the primary reason for His exaltation. He did all of that prior to being made flesh! He has been exalted "to give repentance . . . and the remission of sins" (Acts 5:31).
The purpose of Christ's rule is to effect salvation, bringing many sons to glory. To be sure, Christ will subdue all of His enemies. They will become His footstool, publicly and apparently. This will not, however, require unusual effort on His part. In His death He "destroyed" the devil and "spoiled" principalities and powers (Heb 2:14; Col 2:15).
No one that requires subjugation when they leave this world will be glorified! The emphasis of some religious sophists on the "lordship of Christ" is nothing more than the assumption of recalcitrance on the part of those to whom they speak. It is imperative that we use words "taught by the Spirit" (1 Cor 2:13), when speaking of our blessed Lord. No attempt should be made to couch holy concepts in terms not employed by the Spirit of God! This is not a matter of condemnation, but of spiritual wisdom.
The word used in Scripture to describe Christ's position is "preeminence." It comes from a word meaning, "to be first (in rank or influence):--have the preeminence." The difference in the words ("preeminence" and "lordship") lies in the nature of the one dominating. Christ is preeminent by nature; i.e., He is Himself above all others, recognized or not. Gentile rulers have either derived or coerced power. They are not rulers by nature. The Lord Jesus is the Ruler by nature! His reign is an expression of His holy character. He does not lord it over the people, but is longsuffering until the appointed day of judgment.
While this may appear to be a useless technical diversion, it is not. The Lord will openly subdue His enemies by force, against their will, and without mercy. But that is not the way He is bringing the sons of God to glory (Heb 2:10). He is leading, feeding, and instructing them. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He has been given to the church as Head over all things--as One who IS preeminent by nature as well as commission. God has "placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be Head over everything FOR the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way" (Eph 1:22-23, NIV).
PRAYER POINT: Father, in Jesus' name I thank You for providing a Captain of salvation to whom all authority is subject.
-- Tomorrow: PREEMINENT IN EVERYTHING --