Jesus Is #1

David Landegent

READ : Matthew 20:20-28

That in everything he might be preeminent. (Col. 1:18)

Jesus is #1. Our English translation uses the adjective preeminent to say this, but the Greek language uses a verb here that we don't have in English. Literally, Paul says that Jesus is “firsting forth.” Unlike a has-been athlete who used to be at the top of his game, Jesus continues to be firsting forth eternally.

Jesus does not first forth so that he can be king of the mountain. He is not the kind who enjoys lording it over others, having supremacy by putting others down. Instead Jesus follows his own teaching, becoming first by making himself last. He demonstrated that both in his life and in his death. He did not come to be served but to serve. Even at the end of time, Jesus still will serve. Like the master in the parable who finds his servants faithfully waiting for him, Jesus “will dress himself for service and have them recline at table and he will come and serve them” (Luke 12:37).

Sometimes we talk about making Jesus first in our lives—as, of course, we should. This is a good call, but not if it makes us think that it's up to us to make Jesus #1 in the world. God has already done that. Just as we love God because God first loved us (1 John 4:19), so we make Jesus #1 only because God did it first. All we can do is line up our lives with that good news.


Thank you, Jesus, for firsting forth in our lives.