By Dave Duris

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning,
the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
(Colossians 1:18)


The world’s standard of what is most important is vastly different from God’s standard. In fact, many things that are highly esteemed in man’s opinion are viewed as worthless in God’s estimation. Jesus Christ shared this truth with Pharisees who were trying to justify themselves.

Luke 16:15:
And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

Isn’t it ironic that the Pharisees, in their efforts to justify themselves, ultimately rejected the one whom God esteemed the highest: his only begotten Son. Their rejection of the Messiah was an abomination in the sight of God; however, despite this outright denial, the Scriptures declare in Philippians that there will come a future day when every one will acknowledge his preeminence. Every knee will bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. When Jesus Christ walked the face of the earth, many did not recognize the importance of who he was. Despite the resistance that Jesus Christ received from the generation of people he was sent to reconcile, he continued to unfold the significance of who he was.

Matthew 12:42:
The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

The book of 2 Chronicles records the queen of Sheba’s visit to King Solomon, who was a type of Jesus Christ. She came a great distance to prove Solomon with hard questions. What she found surpassed all her expectations.

2 Chronicles 9:3–7:
And when the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built,
4 And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel; his cupbearers also, and their apparel; and his ascent by which he went up into the house of the LORD; there was no more spirit in her.
5 And she said to the king, It was a true report which I heard in mine own land of thine acts, and of thy wisdom:
6 Howbeit I believed not their words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the one half of the greatness of thy wisdom was not told me: for thou exceedest the fame that I heard.
7 Happy are thy men, and happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and hear thy wisdom.

The queen of Sheba was completely astonished by the wisdom and majesty of King Solomon, to the extent that there was no more spirit in her, which some translators interpret as she had her breath taken away. In the book of Revelation the apostle John has a reaction to the vision of the “greater than Solomon,” Jesus Christ, which was even more profound than the reaction of the queen of Sheba to Solomon.

Revelation 1:17–18:
And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

The queen of Sheba’s example of seeking the wisdom of Solomon and leaving with all her expectations surpassed, stood as a sign against the unbelieving generation that had the “greater than Solomon” in their midst. Today, we have something even more glorious right in our midst, surrounded by our current generation of unbelief. At this time, God has not sent the spirit of his Son to dwell among us, but rather, to reside within every born-again believer. Additionally, the queen of Sheba recognized the great love that God had for his people by having Solomon rule over them. We also should recognize the demonstration of God’s great love for us in that he placed his Son in the preeminent position as the head of the body of Christ.

Colossians 1:18:
And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

The riches of the glory of God’s grace that has been extended to us is beyond what words can express. Our understanding and expression of this great reality is most clearly demonstrated in the priority system of our lives. One author stated it beautifully when he said, “Christ is not valued at all, unless he be valued above all.”

In the epistles, the relationship that Jesus Christ holds to the church is expressed figuratively as a marriage relationship where he is the groom and the church is the bride. Paul highly esteemed Jesus Christ and was very concerned that the church would be deceived from the glorious blessings of participating in this divine union.

2 Corinthians 11:2–3:
For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

These verses paint a picture of a father with his daughter on a wedding day. However, this is not just any groom that the bride will be joined to, because this daughter will be joined with one who will surpass all her expectations. The father and daughter are both anticipating the point when he will present his precious child to one who cares for her more than she knows in order to be joined in a divine union of perfect love. This same father is also very protective, for he is aware that there is an evil tempter that will try through subtilty to seduce his daughter away from her perfect mate. We should be keenly aware that Satan is working against us in our efforts to maintain a single-hearted devotion and commitment to our Lord Jesus Christ and our loving heavenly Father.

Matthew 13:45–46:
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

As the pearl of great price was found, the man who sold all to obtain it did so because it was esteemed above all he had. Let us pray for the grace to fully realize the opportunity before us to live in union with one who deserves to be esteemed above all.



From the November 2008 issue of The Vine & Branches