For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him…that in all things He may have the preeminence. (Colossians 1:16, 18—NKJV)

It is quite natural for people to unabashedly display their preeminent interests and identities. Cars are a case in point. Family vans flit from errand to errand with stickers representing the family members lined up on the rear windshield. Vanity plates provide psychologically revealing creations of the drivers. Sports team flags attached to car windows or antennas tell you of the owner’s allegiance. College names emblazon windows to show student identity and the source of family impoverishment. Special cause symbols tell the world there is some personal connection between the cause and the driver of the car. Bumper stickers give voice to often-visited thoughts of the one in the driver seat. For some, the make of the car declares their allegiance. And, let’s not forget that the Christian fish symbol (ichthus—the Greek word for fish used as an anagram) on a car, if it is driven by an authentic, born-again believer, is proclaiming to all the drivers passing and being passed, “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior,” and his belief that Jesus has saved him for eternity.

The simple point is that it is entirely natural to identify and broadcast the priorities of our lives. Our text speaks to every believer that Jesus Christ is to occupy the place of preeminence in his life, and all else must fall into its subservient place accordingly. Nothing should be allowed to mute this declaration. Jesus is preeminent.

The preeminence of Christ is displayed in the context of His headship in nature and in grace. Verses 15 to 20 are the words of what was probably an early church hymn as evidenced by its cadence and almost doxological tone. The hymn covers such lofty subjects as Christ’s redemptive work bringing forgiveness, His deity, supremacy, creative work, maintaining work, His headship over His body—the church, and His groundbreaking work of resurrection in which all believers have an interest. It is in light of His excellent work both in creation and redemption that He deserves first place.

The believer’s release from the bonds of sin (verse 14), gained through the payment of Jesus’ precious blood, occurred at the cross. It is this blood purchase of each saint and subsequent bestowal of eternal life that leads every born-again Christian to yield to the personal lordship of his sovereign Savior. Jesus owns His own people, and therefore retains first priority, and the right of prior commitment goes to the Lord. Romans 5:8 plainly states “while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.”

The fact that Jesus is declared to be “firstborn” twice in verses 15–20 is not a statement of birth order (first in time). It is a declaration of being in first place, being first, the Head of all, being first is His preeminence of position.

He bears the express image of His Father and is the Creator. Verse 16 proclaims that He has priority of sovereignty as Lord of creation. He is declared to be the Creator, just as, and in tandem with, His Father. There are no exceptions to His creative priority. Jesus is the direct cause of all creation and each creature, visible and invisible, saved and unsaved. You are a direct result of the creation of Christ. He holds your molecules together as verse 17 indicates. When you yield to Him and you rightly assess to Him first place in your life, then all the rest of your life will find its spiritual significance.

Jesus’ preeminency is something every saint must personally own. Jesus is first in your ownership, redemption, devotion, obedience, allegiance, and decisions. This is why it is particularly galling to the authentic believer when he is told he may not offer his public prayers in Jesus’ Name. Prayer is not adequately exhalting without accurate address (to God the Father), mediatorial work (through Jesus’ Name), nor effective agency (by the Holy Spirit), thus displaying prayer’s dependence upon all three Persons of the Godhead. To deny a Christian the privilege of praying in Jesus’ Name is akin to telling a serviceman that he must remove every insignia of the nation for which he serves, and any vestige of the military branch through which he serves. No believer should submit the Lordship of Christ in worship to some manmade set of dictums, nor should he forget that to Jesus belongs his prior commitment in all things. Jesus is your Creator, and Jesus is preeminent.

Who is it that occupies the throne of your heart? How have you displayed the Lordship of Christ over you this week—what sins confessed and forsaken, what task undertaken, what victory gained in Him? Trust and obey.