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Seeking to equip people to live as Christian disciples wherever God has placed them.

Friday, April 13, 2018

“All Authority”

Eph. 1:15-23

Paul repeatedly refers to the power of Jesus Christ in this passage.  He speaks of the “great power” that has been manifested in the risen Christ.  This power was fully demonstrated in “Christ’s resurrection.”  The result of this is that God has not only raised Jesus from the dead, he has seated him at God the Father’s right hand.  Paul adds in exalted terms that this is “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come.”

The Roman authorities of Paul’s time would have laughed at this description.  Christianity in this era was a tiny movement with no strong social, political or cultural leadership.  How could this Jesus be over “all rule and authority and power and dominion.”  This would place him even above Caesar himself.

Paul knows that the gospel will appear as “foolishness to Gentiles” (I Cor. 1:23), He calls believers to look with “the eyes of faith.”  Faith enables us to see things that reason cannot penetrate.  However Paul is not saying that faith is blind.  Seeing with faith enables us to see the triumph of the Resurrection which in truth no one witnessed directly (an Easter knock-knock joke I heard at a recent Montclair Clergy meeting: “Knock, knock,” “Who’s there?” “No one. The tomb is empty”).

The ruling authorities knew the tomb was empty but they did not see the risen Christ.  Yet Jesus’ death and resurrection unleashes incredible power.  Lives are transformed.  The sick are healed.  In some cases the dead are raised.  Christianity eventually conquers the Roman Empire.

We see struggle, injustice and indifference to the gospel all around us.  We however have to open our eyes with faith.  The power of Christ continues to expand.  We take for granted human rights that the Romans would not have imagined.  This is not to mention health care and public education.  All of these developments have their roots in Christianity.  There are more Christians in the world today than at any point in world history.

We need to be encouraged by these trends, not complacent.  Finally we must recognize that Jesus is in charge of all of history.  He is the “fullness” who fills all in all.  Everything is under him and him alone.

I praise you Lord for the power revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ.  May I commit myself to live in that power sharing the good news of his death and resurrection.  I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.