“Put Jesus first.” I feel like I hear this a lot. The scripture that has informed our current sermon series, Colossians 1:15-20, supports this directive. It says, after all, in verse 18
He is the head of the body, the church,
who is the beginning,
the one who is firstborn from among the dead
so that he might occupy the first place in everything.
But what does “putting Jesus first” look like?
In our society, people who “get to go first” don’t have to stand in line like everyone else. They receive protection from all the normal people; they can have guards and gates and get ushered to the front row or the luxury boxes.
Not only was Jesus NOT treated this way; there is no indication that Jesus ever sought to be treated this way. In fact, I’m reminded that he said that “Whoever wants to be first among you will be your slave— just as the Son of Man didn’t come to be served but rather to serve and to give his life to liberate many people.” (Matthew 20:27-28)
Jesus WAS the head, the firstborn from among the dead. He DOES and WILL occupy the first place among everything. He was also so secure in his relationship with God that he felt no need to act like it, or to show it off. In fact, he emptied himself, humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:7-8)
May you and I, and all who are trying to follow Jesus, be secure enough in our relationship with God that we, too, might not seek to be recognized as first, or as more important than others. May we follow the way of Jesus – and, in doing so, we’ll find we are putting Jesus first.