In our family, “marching” was a season. Each of our kids were part of the school marching band that entertained us at the football games. From the oldest to the youngest, we spent about ten consecutive years in the stands watching them gyrate back and forth and weave in and out with precision. It was fun but sometimes tedious. A few of the routines were rehashed all 10 seasons.
Theirs was a military style band which required them to wear enormous hats with a brim that came down over their eyes. Add a trumpet or sax to their lip and you could never be sure who it was. In fact, we have a lengthy VHS video of a kid marching that we thought was ours but wasn’t.
Our son K.C. continued to march out of the high school band and into the U.S. Air Force.
My wife and I were present when he graduated from basic training. When his unit entered the parade grounds, we were proud to see him marching in the very first row of the unit. We thought two things, “Wow, we can see his face!” and “I wonder what he did to merit that?”
We later learned the answer was simply – he grew tall. He is 6’ 5”. He and every other towering airman were deliberately placed at the head of the marching unit.
He told us that this was a tradition that dated back to the Romans. They did it for psychological intimidation. By placing the biggest, meanest, broadest men at the head the column, it gave the impression to the enemy that the entire army were all bruisers. This also helped to obstruct the view of the soldiers behind them so that the enemy had no idea of their number.
The apostle Paul tells us that God ordered His ranks in a similar way. In Colossians 1:15-16 he wrote of Jesus, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. for all things in heaven and on earth were created in him—all things, whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominions, whether principalities or powers—all things were created through him and for him.”
Christ was called the “firstborn!” Firstborn refers not to a birth order but to the preeminent rank that belongs to one who was first born.
For instance, David was called the “firstborn” though we know he was the youngest of his brothers. (Psalm 28:20 & 27) Jacob was called the “firstborn” though we know that Esau preceded him. (Exodus 4:22) The title has nothing to do with actual birth order and everything to do with the rights, privileges, honor and authority that were given to the first born.
Paul tells us Christ is the firstborn, in that He was prior to, distinct from and highly exalted above every other creature. He stands at the head of God’s marching column.
Paul continued in verse 18. “He is the head of the body, the church, as well as the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he himself may become first in all things.”
Jesus bears the title firstborn again – firstborn from the dead. This reminds us that He was the first and most important in rank to ever be raised and have His body transformed with immortality.
Because of His saving work on the cross, many more of us will one day be raised from the dead, but none more important than Jesus who faced the devil at the cross and prevailed at the empty tomb.
Take comfort my brethren. Jesus marches at the head of our ranks. He towers over all others. He even hides us from the view of the enemy. He shields us with the power of His might and leads us onto certain victory. Praise His name!
A PRAYER: Lord, thank you for leading us and shielding us from our foes.
Scripture references are from the NETBible®