One of the facets of Jesus is His preeminence. The dictionary defines preeminent as “above and before others; superior; surpassing.”
The Bible uses the word preeminence to mean “holding the first place.” The apostle Paul uses this idea of Christ’s supremacy when He describes Him this way—
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the FIRSTBORN over all creation. For in Him ALL things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; ALL things have been created through Him and for Him. 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 and the FIRSTBORN from among the dead, so that in EVERYTHING He might have the SUPREMACY. For God was pleased to have ALL His fullness dwell in Him. (Colossians 1:15-19, emphasis mine)
Therefore God exalted Him to THE HIGHEST PLACE and gave Him the name that is above EVERY name, that at the name of Jesus EVERY knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and EVERY tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11, emphasis mine)
Praying in Christ’s preeminence means that we never have to settle for less than God’s best!
When we began this series, I mentioned that there were some people who misuse the words of Jesus. Specifically the phrase where Jesus says, “I will do whatever you ask in My name” (John 14:13, 15:16, 16:23). They have taken this as license to ask for things for their own comfort, or claiming that praying “in the name of Jesus” means that we never have to experience pain, poverty, or any setbacks.
But preeminence ≠ prosperity!
Prosperity wrongly says Christians will never have trouble, never experience poverty or lack, and can claim and obtain lavish things just by invoking “in the name of Jesus.”
Preeminence correctly says that Christians may have trouble, or poverty, or even martyrdom, but that Christ’s preeminence gets the final word, the decisive word, and the best word!
Jesus didn’t pray to be removed from trials. The godly apostle Paul experienced ample trouble, and so did the heroes of faith (John 12:27-28; 2 Corinthians 11:23-27; Hebrews 11:35-38). Yet even in all of these troubles and pain and hardship, Christ’s preeminence prevails!
As Paul said in Colossians 1, Jesus was the “firstborn from among the dead,” meaning that He is now preeminent even over death! Jesus said that His followers will—not “may”—experience persecution here, just as those heroes of the faith listed in Hebrews 11 did, but that the rewards in eternity are beyond compare (see 1 Corinthians 15:55, 57-58; Matthew 5:11-12; Hebrews 11:39-40).
Horatio Spafford wrote the hymn It Is Well With My Soul. One of the stanzas reminds us:
Praying in the name of the preeminent Jesus does at least four things for us:
- Gives us a surpassing victory—Romans 8:31-32, 37
- Keeps us humble and God glorified—2 Corinthians 4:7
- Detaches us from earthly things that would take our eyes off of Jesus—Philippians 3:8
- Keeps us focused on Heaven—2 Corinthians 4:17
Let me say it again: Praying in Christ’s preeminence means that we never have to settle for less than God’s best!
God’s best is not awaiting us here on earth, but it is our promised eternal reward for persevering to the end. It may seem tough at times, but our preeminent Savior walks with us every step of the way!
If you’ve missed any of the other messages in this series on prayer, you can find links to all of those messages by clicking here.
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