The Bible tells us in Matthew 23 that the Pharisees had power over the people. They got to tell them what to do, what to say, what to observe and what not to do. The Bible shows us that the Pharisees got plenty of honor and praise. They were seated in the highest rooms of every feast, and in the synagogues. Men would follow after them calling them master! They received a lot of riches from the people, and are always a spectacle of admiration.
Well, we can say they had it pretty good, right? Now, whenever there was someone that rose up, someone that preached the truth, and that the multitude would travel to come and listen to... did the Pharisees rejoice over a prophet like John the Baptist? Or did they want to destroy him? Did they rejoice when the promised Messiah finally came? Or did they want to kill him?
Power,glory, and riches is not meant for man to have. This belongs to God alone. If God intended for man to have these things, then surely the disciples of Christ would have been the richest men in the world! Instead, these things turn a person rotten to the core.
Now, we are bringing the focus on the key word: "Preeminence."
According to the dictionary, this is a title given to the most important one. A superior person. He is Sovereign. He is the authority. This is a distinguished title.
God, the Father, gave Jesus Christ the preeminence.
"And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence." Colossians 1:18
Paul also wrote that he spoke to a church in Diotrephes, but they received him not. Now, why on earth not?? Check this out:
"I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not." 3 John 1:9
They wanted the preeminence for themselves! They didn't want Paul. They didn't want anybody. As far as they were concerned, they had all the answers, and the power and authority they thought was entitled to them.
Unfortunately, this is so common. We see this everywhere on so many levels.
Perhaps, you may recognize it in a religious leader. You might recognize it in the papacy. You might even recognize it in a baptist preacher. The signs are that they are exalted, proud, and rich. They might find it a threat if you went somewhere else or to someone else besides them. They give more of their own opinions and judgments than they do to the Word of God. They might be known to belittle those who are not fully under their control. Those are just a few to name..
And well, sometimes we may find it in ourselves. Do we desire the preeminence for ourselves? Do we want to judge for ourselves what is right and wrong? Do we want to be our own God? We're seeing a rapid rise in the new age movement where man is his own god.
Let the preeminence be Christ's alone. Watch out for whoever else wants to keep it for themselves. Recognize them and flee. Let us evaluate our own lives and look into our hearts- Do we have the preeminence, or does Christ in us?