1 Corinthians 11:3
But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.
The head of every man is Christ. It may be of the man as distinct from the woman that the apostle here speaks, but the truth asserted is one in which all human beings, without regard to sexual or any other distinctions, are alike interested. The relation in which we each and all stand to Christ, or rather in which Christ stands to us, is one that surmounts and absorbs into itself every other relationship. As the vault of heaven surrounds the world, and the atmosphere in which it floats envelops everything that lives and moves and has its being in it; so does the authority of Christ embrace all that belongs to the existence of every one of us, and from it we can never escape. The supremacy here indicated has certain distinct phases.
I. EVERY MAN SEES HIS OWN HUMAN NATURE PERFECTED IN CHRIST. Manhood is perfectly represented in him. He is the Crown and Flower of our humanity; its realized ideal, the Man - the complete, consummate, faultless man - "Christ Jesus." Not a development from the old stock, but anew beginning, the Head of the "new creation." The ideal of humanity, defaced and destroyed by the Fall, was restored again in the Incarnation. "The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven" (1 Corinthians 15:47). Adam was formed in the image of God - a sinless, symmetrical, perfect man. But he lost the glory of his first estate, and became the father of a degenerate humanity that could never of itself rise again to the original level, however long the stream of its succeeding generations might roll on. Christ, the God Man, in the fulness of time, appears - true, perfect manhood linked in mysterious union with Deity, the "Firstborn among many brethren;" "Partaker with the children of flesh and blood," that he may "lead many sons to glory." We must look to him, then, if we would know what the possibilities of our nature are, what we ourselves may and ought to be. It is curious to note how different, as regards physical form and feature, are the artistic conceptions one meets with of the person of Jesus; what various degrees of serene majesty and tender sorrow they express. Some of them, perhaps, exaggerate the element of tenderness at the expense of that of power. They none of them, it may be, answer to our own ideal. And we conclude that it is vain to think of representing upon canvas the mingled splendours - the heavenly lights and earthly shadows - of that wondrous face in which
"The God shone gracious through the Man." But we are scarcely in danger of error in any honest and intelligent moral conception of Christ. The glorious Original appears too plainly and luminously before us. "Behold the Man!" - the consummate type of all human excellence. Do we really admire and adore him? Do we admire everything that we see in him; every separate lineament and expression of his countenance? Would we have all men, specially those with whom we have most to do, to be like him? Is it our desire to be ourselves fashioned at every point exactly after such a Model? This is involved in a true recognition of the headship of Christ over ourselves and every man.
II. THE SPRING OF THE HIGHER LIFE FOR EVERY MAN IS CHRIST. However we may deal with the subtle questions suggested here respecting the original constitution and prerogatives of man's nature, one thing is plain - that nature now has no self recovering power of life in it. It has in it rather the seeds of decay and death. "In Adam all die." The second Adam, the Lord from heaven, is a "quickening Spirit." In him the power of death is overmastered. Through him God pours into our being the stream of a new and nobler life, a life in which every part of it, both physical and spiritual, shall have its share (John 5:21; John 6:47-50; John 11:25, 26; 1 John 5:11, 12). The Fountainhead of a blessed, glorious immortality forevery man is he. Looking abroad over a languishing, dying world, he says, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." And there is not a human being on the face of the whole earth who is not personally interested in this Divine revelation of the Life eternal.
III. THE SUPREME LAW FOR, EVERY MAN IS CHRIST. We are all necessarily under law. It is not a question as between law and no law that has to be decided. The question is - What shall be the law that we voluntarily recognize? What shall be the nature of the governing force to which we yield ourselves? Shall it be true, righteous, beneficent, Divine? or shall it be false, usurping, fatal, Satanic? There is no middle course. God would have us make our own free, unfettered choice. Our whole daily life is actually a choice of servitude, and it is emphatically our own. The true servitude is the service of Christ. All holy law is summed up in his authority. He is the proper, rightful Lord of every human soul. He demands the unreserved allegiance of every man. His claims are sovereign, absolute, universal. They admit of no qualification, and from them there is no escape. As well think by the caprice of your own will to render your body superior to the laws of matter, to defeat the force of gravitation, to escape from your own shadow, as think to shake off the obligation of obedience to Christ when once you have heard his voice, and he has laid his royal hand upon you.
IV. THE REST AND HOME OF EVERY MAN'S SOUL IS IN CHRIST.
"Oh, where shall rest be found,
Rest for the weary soul?" We scheme and toil to surround ourselves with earthly satisfactions, but the secret of a happy home on earth is that the spirit shall have found its true place of safety and repose. And Christ only can lead us to this. O blessed Lord Jesus, thou Friend and Brother and Saviour of every man, bring us into living fellowship with thyself!
"Here would we end our quest;
Alone are found in thee
The life of perfect love, the rest
Of immortality." W.
Parallel VersesKJV: But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.