Men, Do You Submit to Christ’s Headship?
“The head of every man is the Christ.”—1 COR. 11:3.
1. What shows that Jehovah is a God of order?
“YOU are worthy, Jehovah, even our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power,” states Revelation 4:11, “because you created all things, and because of your will they existed and were created.” By reason of his Creatorship, Jehovah God is the Supreme Sovereign of the universe and is above all of his creation. That Jehovah “is a God, not of disorder, but of peace” can be seen by the way in which his angelic family is organized.—1 Cor. 14:33; Isa. 6:1-3; Heb. 12:22, 23.
2, 3. (a) Who was Jehovah’s first creation? (b) What position does the firstborn Son have with respect to the Father?
2 Before anything was created, God existed by himself for countless ages of time. His very first creation was the spirit creature known as “the Word” because he was the Spokesman for Jehovah. The Word is the one through whom all other things came into existence. Later, he came to earth as a perfect human and became known as Jesus Christ.—Read John 1:1-3, 14.
3 What do the Scriptures say about the relative positions of God and his firstborn Son? Writing under inspiration, the apostle Paul tells us: “I want you to know that the head of every man is the Christ; in turn the head of a woman is the man; in turn the head of the Christ is God.” (1 Cor. 11:3) The Christ is under the headship of his Father. Headship and subjection are essential for peace and order to prevail among intelligent creatures. Even the one ‘by means of whom all other things were created’ is required to submit to God’s headship.—Col. 1:16.
4, 5. How did Jesus feel about his position with respect to Jehovah?
4 How did Jesus feel about submitting to Jehovah’s headship and coming to earth? The Scriptures state: “Christ Jesus, who, although he was existing in God’s form, gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that he should be equal to God. No, but he emptied himself and took a slave’s form and came to be in the likeness of men. More than that, when he found himself in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient as far as death, yes, death on a torture stake.”—Phil. 2:5-8.
5 At all times, Jesus humbly submitted to his Father’s will. He said: “I cannot do a single thing of my own initiative; . . . the judgment that I render is righteous, because I seek, not my own will, but the will of him that sent me.” (John 5:30) “I always do the things pleasing to [my Father],” he declared. (John 8:29) Toward the end of his life on earth, Jesus said in prayer to his Father: “I have glorified you on the earth, having finished the work you have given me to do.” (John 17:4) Evidently, Jesus had no problem with recognizing and accepting God’s headship over him.
Submission to the Father Brings Benefits to the Son
6. What wonderful qualities did Jesus display?
6 When on earth, Jesus demonstrated many wonderful qualities. Among them was the great love he displayed for his Father. “I love the Father,” he said. (John 14:31) He also demonstrated great love for people. (Read Matthew 22:35-40.) Jesus was kind and considerate, not harsh or overbearing. “Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down,” he said, “and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for your souls. For my yoke is kindly and my load is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30) Sheeplike people of all ages, especially those who were downtrodden and oppressed, found great comfort in Jesus’ delightful personality and uplifting message.
7, 8. Under the Law, how was the woman with a flow of blood restricted, but how did Jesus deal with her?
7 Consider how Jesus dealt with women. Throughout history, many men have treated women very badly. That was true of the religious leaders in ancient Israel. But Jesus treated women with respect. This is made evident in his dealings with a woman who had been sick for 12 years with a flow of blood. “She had been put to many pains” by physicians and had spent all her resources trying to get well. Despite all that effort, she “had got worse.” Under the Law, she was considered unclean. Anyone touching her would also become unclean.—Lev. 15:19, 25.
8 When the woman heard that Jesus was healing the sick, she joined the crowd surrounding him, saying: “If I touch just his outer garments I shall get well.” She touched Jesus and immediately got well. Jesus knew that she should not have touched his garment. Nevertheless, he did not scold her. On the contrary, he was kind to her. He understood how she must have felt after all those years of illness and discerned that she was desperate for help. Compassionately, Jesus told her: “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be in good health.”—Mark 5:25-34.
9. When Jesus’ disciples tried to prevent children from coming to him, what was his response?
9 Even children could feel at ease in the presence of Jesus. When people brought children to him on one occasion, his disciples reprimanded them, evidently feeling that he would not want to be bothered with children. But that is not the way Jesus felt. The Scriptural account tells us: “At seeing this Jesus was indignant and said to [the disciples]: ‘Let the young children come to me; do not try to stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to suchlike ones.’” Further, “he took the children into his arms and began blessing them, laying his hands upon them.” Jesus did not just tolerate children; he warmly welcomed them.—Mark 10:13-16.
10. How did Jesus come to possess the qualities that he displayed?
10 How did Jesus come to possess the qualities he displayed during his life on earth? In his prehuman existence, he observed his heavenly Father for aeons of time and absorbed his ways. (Read Proverbs 8:22, 23, 30.) In heaven, he had seen Jehovah’s loving way of exercising headship over all His creation and had made that way his own. Would Jesus have been able to do that had he not been submissive? It was a delight for him to be in subjection to his Father, and it was a pleasure for Jehovah to have such a Son. When on earth, Jesus reflected perfectly the marvelous qualities of his heavenly Father. What a privilege it is for us to be in subjection to Christ, God’s appointed Ruler of the heavenly Kingdom!
Imitate Christ’s Qualities
11. (a) Whom should we work hard to imitate? (b) Why should the men in the congregation especially strive to imitate Jesus?
11 All in the Christian congregation, especially the men, should continually work hard to imitate Christ’s qualities. As already noted, the Bible declares: “The head of every man is the Christ.” As Christ imitated his Head, the true God, Christian men should strive to imitate their head—the Christ. Upon becoming a Christian, the apostle Paul did just that. “Become imitators of me,” he exhorted fellow Christians, “even as I am of Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1) And the apostle Peter said: “To this course you were called, because even Christ suffered for you, leaving you a model for you to follow his steps closely.” (1 Pet. 2:21) The admonition to imitate the Christ is of particular interest to men for still another reason. They are the ones who become elders and ministerial servants. As Jesus found joy in imitating Jehovah, Christian men should find joy in imitating Christ and his qualities.
12, 13. How should elders deal with the sheep in their care?
12 The elders in the Christian congregation are under obligation to learn to be like Christ. Peter gave the older men, or elders, this exhortation: “Shepherd the flock of God in your care, not under compulsion, but willingly; neither for love of dishonest gain, but eagerly; neither as lording it over those who are God’s inheritance, but becoming examples to the flock.” (1 Pet. 5:1-3) Christian elders are not to be dictatorial, domineering, arbitrary, or harsh. Imitating Christ’s example, they endeavor to be loving, considerate, humble, and kind in their dealings with the sheep entrusted to their care.
13 Those taking the lead in the congregation are imperfect men, and they should constantly be aware of that limitation. (Rom. 3:23) So they must be eager to learn about Jesus and imitate his love. They need to ponder over the way that God and Christ deal with people and then strive to imitate them. Peter exhorts us: “All of you gird yourselves with lowliness of mind toward one another, because God opposes the haughty ones, but he gives undeserved kindness to the humble ones.”—1 Pet. 5:5.
14. To what extent should elders show honor to others?
14 In their dealings with God’s flock, the appointed men in the congregation are to exhibit fine qualities. Romans 12:10 states: “In brotherly love have tender affection for one another. In showing honor to one another take the lead.” Elders and ministerial servants show honor to others. Like Christians in general, these men are ‘to do nothing out of contentiousness or out of egotism but with lowliness of mind are to consider that the others are superior to them.’ (Phil. 2:3) Those taking the lead should certainly view others as being superior to them. By doing so, the appointed men will be following Paul’s counsel: “We, though, who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those not strong, and not to be pleasing ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor in what is good for his upbuilding. For even the Christ did not please himself.”—Rom. 15:1-3.
‘Assigning Wives Honor’
15. How should husbands deal with their wives?
15 Consider now Peter’s counsel to married men. He wrote: “You husbands, continue dwelling in like manner with [your wives] according to knowledge, assigning them honor as to a weaker vessel, the feminine one.” (1 Pet. 3:7) To honor someone means to hold that individual in high esteem. Thus, you would consider the opinions, needs, and wants of such a person and may defer to that one where there is no vital issue at stake. That is how a husband should deal with his wife.
16. What warning does God’s Word give to husbands in regard to honoring wives?
16 When telling husbands to honor their wives, Peter adds a warning: “In order for your prayers not to be hindered.” (1 Pet. 3:7) That clearly shows how seriously Jehovah views the way a man treats his wife. Failure to show honor to her could hinder his prayers. Moreover, do not wives generally respond positively to being treated honorably by their husbands?
17. To what extent should a husband love his wife?
17 On the matter of loving one’s wife, God’s Word counsels: “Husbands ought to be loving their wives as their own bodies. . . . For no man ever hated his own flesh; but he feeds and cherishes it, as the Christ also does the congregation . . . Let each one of you individually so love his wife as he does himself.” (Eph. 5:28, 29, 33) To what extent should husbands love their wives? “Husbands,” wrote Paul, “continue loving your wives, just as the Christ also loved the congregation and delivered up himself for it.” (Eph. 5:25) Yes, a husband should be willing even to lay down his life for his wife, just as Christ did for others. When the Christian husband deals with his wife tenderly, considerately, attentively, unselfishly, it is easier for his wife to submit to his headship.
18. What help do men have in caring for their responsibilities in marriage?
18 Is assigning honor to wives in this way too much to expect from husbands? No, Jehovah would never ask them to do something that is beyond their capabilities. Besides, Jehovah’s worshippers have access to the greatest force in the universe—God’s holy spirit. Jesus said: “If you, although being wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more so will the Father in heaven give holy spirit to those asking him!” (Luke 11:13) In their prayers, husbands can ask that by means of his spirit, Jehovah will help them in their dealings with others, including their wives.—Read Acts 5:32.
19. What will our next study article consider?
19 Indeed, men bear a heavy responsibility to learn how to be submissive to Christ and imitate his headship. But what about women, wives in particular? The next article will discuss how they should view their role in Jehovah’s arrangement.
Do You Recall?
• What qualities of Jesus should we imitate?
• How should elders deal with the sheep?
• How should a husband treat his wife?
[Pictures on page 10]
Imitate Jesus by showing honor to others