God’s Power in You (Reflections of Ephesians 1)

In Ephesians 1, Paul prays that the Church would know and understand the power of God available to us. He then spends five or so verses describing this power.

First, Paul calls God’s power “exceedingly great,” using the phrase “hyperballo megethos.” This basically means “mega-hyperbole.” In other words, it’s entirely impossible to exaggerate or overemphasize God’s power.

We then read that this power is the same power that raised Christ from the dead. You know, that resurrection thing. Basically the single greatest event in the history of the universe.

In that moment, God brought a Man who was both physically and spiritually dead, suffering in hell for the sins of the world, back to life.

And the resurrection didn’t just bring Jesus back from the grave. It brought the human race back from the grave. Billions and billions of people stretched out over thousands and thousands of years, from the beginning of time to the end of time.

Suddenly, where there was despair, now there was hope. Where there was death, now there was life and peace. Humanity was brought back, and given eternal life. It was kind of like that final snap of the Infinity Gauntlet, but infinitely greater.

And that power of God didn’t just raise Christ from the dead; it seated him far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion.

Let’s break that down.

First, notice it didn’t say He “sat” down. He was “seated.” This is a legal term. Jesus didn’t just plop down on the couch; He was appointed over His kingdom, where He reigns as King of the Universe.

Think Aragorn’s coronation at the end of Lord of the Rings. The battle is won. The enemy is defeated. And now He is officially and unequivocally seated on His throne. And where is He seated?

“Far above.”

Ever been in a plane as it’s taking off? As the plane lifts off the ground, you can still see those guys with the orange flashlights. Then they shrink down to the size of ants. Then they’re gone.

But you can still see cars whizzing by. Then they disappear. Then the houses go. Then it’s all gone. Just you in the clouds, far above everything else.

And Jesus, by that exceedingly great power of God, is seated far above all principality and power and might and dominion. We often see those words grouped together, but because we don’t know exactly what they mean, we just figure they mean “powerful stuff” and then move on to the next verse. But what do they actually mean?

The first word (principality) is “arche” in the Greek. It’s where we get the suffix “-archy,” used in words like “monarchy” or “anarchy.” It refers to entire forms of government. And Jesus is far above all those monarchies or anarchies or whatever other –archies may crop up.

Next is “power,” or “exousia.” It means delegated authority, and refers to the legal rights and powers a ruler or official might have. Picture a police officer, or an ambassador. When they act, they aren’t simply acting on their own power; they have the full force of their government backing them up.

And Jesus is higher.

“Dynamis” is the word “might.” It’s where we get the word dynamite. It’s power that really packs a punch. It was used historically to refer to the power and might of giant armies.

For instance, it appears on a burial epigram from the Battle of Marathon, commemorating the Greek army’s decisive victory over the (more numerous) Persian army. Nations hold off invading armies when they have greater dynamis.

And yet Jesus is greater.

Finally, we have dominion, or “kyriotes,” meaning complete ownership or lordship. It’s almost never used outside of Christian texts, and typically refers to God’s lordship over the universe. Any dominion, power, or rule falls under kyriotes.

And still, kyriotes falls under Jesus.

Next, we read that this exceedingly great power of God has set Jesus far above every name that is named. Think about that for a second. We just got through defining arche, exousia, dynamis, and kyriotes.

And just in case anything slipped through the cracks, any other named thing is also far beneath Jesus’ feet.

There are 171,476 words in the Oxford English Dictionary. There are over 470,000 English words in Webster’s Third New International Dictionary. All of them: far beneath Jesus.

There are 6,909 distinct languages in the world. Many of them have 100,000 to over 500,000 words. Every last one of those named things: far below Jesus.

And that’s just the names that have already been named. Jesus was seated far above things that HAVEN’T EVEN BEEN NAMED YET.

Who’s going to be the richest or smartest person 10,000 years from now? Doesn’t matter. Jesus is far above. What nation will be the most powerful to ever exist? Doesn’t matter. Jesus is far above. Any future plague, any tyrant, any thing pales in comparison to the power of God.

And Paul’s prayer was that you would know and understand that incredible power of God, because that power WORKS IN YOU.

The exceedingly great, impossible-to-overemphasize power of God? It’s in you.

The same power that raised Christ from the dead, and set Him far above all authority and explosive power and world governments and mighty armies and everything else you could possibly imagine? In you.

Do you know that? No really, do you KNOW that the unstoppable, undeniable, unchallengeable power of God courses through your veins? Then act like it.

Stop quibbling about the nonsense the exists in the realms far below, and start doing the work of God.

Heal the sick.

Raise the dead.

Free the captives.

Preach the gospel.

And change the world.

 

 

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