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  • Writer's pictureElaine Kelly

How is Christ the Head of the Church?

Updated: Feb 25

Hint: it's not about being the boss. Looking at all the places where the Bible says Christ is the Head, it refers to the head of the corner, the chief cornerstone, keystone and the capstone. These passages talk about Christ as the foundation, beginning, and source of our faith, like a foundational cornerstone. They also talk about Christ as the keystone that finishes our faith and holds us together in strength and unity. Being the head of the church is more about serving the church.

The function of the chief cornerstone is to connect the whole structure. It is from the chief cornerstone that the direction is set for the other cornerstones, angles, and walls. The chief cornerstone creates, strengthens, builds up and holds together the building.

The cornerstone may be at the bottom, the first stone laid in the foundation.

A cornerstone may also be the stone placed at the corner of the building or at the entrance or over the door of a building. It indicates the establishment, formation or beginning of the building.

A keystone, also called a capstone, has the function of holding together an arch or entrance. The keystone affects all of the stones in the arch, strengthening and holding them together. It is the final piece placed in the construction of the arch, finishing and perfecting the construction.

At the top of a pyramid or obalysk, the final capstone that connects all of the angles of the four walls into one point is called a benben stone or a pyramidion.

In ancient Egypt, the benben stone represented the mound that arose when God shaped the world. It symbolized rebirth and new life.

Jesus called himself the head of the corner, the chief cornerstone.

Jesus was quoting from the Hebrew Scriptures, explaining how he was fulfilling prophecy. He quoted from Psalm 118 and from Isaiah 28.

Peter explained to the elders, rulers, and teachers of the law that Jesus was the Christ, using the same quote that Jesus himself used. Peter explained that Jesus, who was rejected by the leaders of the day, has become the precious chief corner stone of faith.

Jesus is the precious chief cornerstone, yet all who believe are also stones building the new temple of God. The cornerstone strengthens and holds together all the other stones.

Women and men are all living stones, priests in this new living temple, co-heirs in God's household. Jocelyn Andersen, in "Woman this is War! Gender, Slavery and the evangelical Caste System", points out that Psalm 144 is explicit that women are included as precious cornerstones.

Now we understand better what it means that Jesus is the head of the corner, or chief cornerstone is and that women and men are also cornerstones and living stones in God's temple. With that understanding, we can take a fresh look at other passages that refer to Jesus as the head of the church.

These passages in Ephesians reinforce that we are all fellow citizens with the saints, all belong in God's household, and all living stones built with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone. It is through Christ, the chief cornerstone that the building is formed and fits together in strength and unity. Being the chief cornerstone, or head of the corner, means that Christ is the originator, foundation, and beginning of our faith. Christ holds us together in strength and unity.

Christ is the head of the corner because it is through Christ that believers are created and held together to form the church. The man Adam was the source God used to create the woman. God is the source of Christ, with God's very word taking human form.

You may see Christ as both the beginning and foundational stone and the keystone and capstone, If you stumble over the foundational cornerstone of who Jesus is, you may fall. If you walk under the keystone of Jesus, the stone may fall on you.

Christ is both the beginning and the end, the alpha and omega, the foundation and the finishing stone, the author and perfector of our faith.

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