Gather • Devotion #1: Phantom Pain

Dr. Randy T. Johnson

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.” Colossians 1:15-18

This passage describes Jesus so well. He is God. He existed before all of creation. Actually, He created everything. It is all about Him. He is the boss. He even rose from the dead so others can. This is such a beautiful picture.

In describing so many details about Jesus, Paul points out that “he is the head of the body, the church.” The concept of Jesus being the head of the body (the church) is not a new concept in Scripture (1 Corinthians 11:3; 12:12, 27; Romans 12:5; Colossians 1:24; 2:19; Ephesians 1:22; 4:15; 5:30). He is the source, chief, and leader. He is to be in charge.

These passages also mention His body, which is the church (all believers). As I was thinking through this passage, the concept of phantom pain came to mind. Phantom pain is when someone has a sense of pain even though the limb is missing. A friend of mine lost his left leg below the knee when he was in a car accident as a teenager. Even though it has been over 40 years, his left “foot” hurts or even itches from time to time.

In discussing church gatherings, I wonder how those who are “missing” send pain to the Head. Obviously, the loss of a limb affects the whole body, but the effect on the Head is most significant. Fortunately, those “missing” parts of the church can be reconnected and very useful.

Evaluate for yourself, “Are you connected to the body of Christ?” As you take your next step forward, remember how important each part of the body is.