“Wives submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, His body, and is Himself its savior…For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of His body. ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:22; 29-32)
There are a lot of metaphors in the Bible for what the Church is like. We are the branches, connected to the True Vine. Apart from this Vine we can do nothing. We are part of a building, and we have a Cornerstone, without whom we would fall. But the most common image we have is of a body. We are the body of Christ and He is our Head. All of these metaphors point us to a very important truth. Without Jesus we would be nothing. As branches, as the body, as the church of Christ we owe everything we are to Him. Branches that aren’t connected to the Vine die. A body without a Head is lifeless. A church without Jesus can’t exist. We can’t live as individual members, or even as a whole body, if we aren’t connected to Jesus. As members of Christ’s body we are completely dependent on Him for everything. The Bible says we were dead in our sins, but we have been made alive in Christ. God brought us into the body of Jesus Christ. He attached us to this Head and in doing so He gave us life.
Christ the Head of the Body
The Head is where every action of the body flows from. In Ephesians Paul talks about how the relationship between husbands and wives is like the relationship between Christ and the Church. He quotes Genesis when he says “Therefore a man should leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife…” He then says that this great mystery is really talking about Jesus and the Church. This chapter in Ephesians is often cause for a lot of debate and grief for people. And that’s unfortunate because when we get so caught up in debates we lose sight of something much more beautiful that Paul is trying to communicate here.
The man leaves his father and mother, everything that defines him and is known to him. He leaves them for his bride. When he comes to her, he holds fast to her. He clings to her because he loves her. He holds to her in such a way that they become one flesh. He becomes so close to his wife that they cannot be defined apart from each other. He gives himself up, not just to be with her, but also to become one with her. He becomes her head and she becomes his body, they become one in such a way that they can never be separated.
Jesus left His home in order to be joined to His bride. He left His Father so that He may become our Head. Now, He clings to us in such a way that we become one flesh with Him. He brings us so close to Himself that we cannot be defined apart from Him. We now have His identity and His righteousness as our own, because He is our head. We are connected to Jesus in such a way that we can never be separated.