Knowing the Power that Raised Jesus from the Dead
That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
Three weeks ago, we were coming to the end of Ephesians 1. As you may recall, the final section of Ephesians is one long sentence, a prayer report comprising nine verses and 168 words. In this prayer, Paul asks that the recipients of his letter might know God better. The more this happens, the more we will also know the hope and power that are ours in God.
As Paul prays for us to know God's power, he begins to expound upon this power and the way it reveals the glorious power of Christ. In effect, Paul has begun preaching in his prayer. (See the reflection for December 14.) Yet he is doing this not to be manipulative, but rather to exalt Jesus Christ and draw us into the exaltation.
The power of God for us was seen most dramatically when God "raised Christ from the dead" (1:20). The resurrection of Jesus was not some poetic way to express the victory of goodness or a myth dreamt up by the first Christians to dress Jesus up as divine. Rather, the resurrection was something many of the earliest followers of Jesus experienced as a real, historical event. To be precise, they did not witness the resurrection itself, but the resurrected Jesus who, much to their surprise, had conquered death.
This passage says that the very power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to us. We do not control this power, of course, as if it were some universal force. Rather, we have access to such power because God dwells in us and among us through the Holy Spirit. As we do the work God has given us to do, he helps us with power that exceeds our comprehension and expectations.
Don't you want to know more of God's power? Don't you want to experience his power working in you and through you? I do! And I expect you do too. Thus, we join Paul in his prayer that we might know the power of God for us, the power that actually raised Jesus from the grave.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: When have you experienced God's power in your life? In what areas of your life right now do you need God's power?
PRAYER: All-powerful God, I do want to know your power, the power that raised Jesus from the dead. I do want to experience this power as it continues to transform my life and as you work through me for the works of your kingdom.
Help me, Lord, to know you well so that I might know your power. Help me to live with confidence in your power. Empower me to do your bidding, to live for your glory in every part of life. Amen.