The main thing: What is this all about? It is about the pre-eminence of king Yeshua [Jesus]. So, look in the mirror and ask yourself, Do I acknowledge the Messiah’s preeminence? Do I give Him first place in all I do and think? Is His character what people see when they look at me? Preeminence doesn’t mean only once a week on Sunday. It means every day and all the time—in everything—that in all things He might have preeminence.
Jesus is in charge. Through His resurrection, we see the power of God at work. We have an inheritance. God has placed Jesus in authority. Not only for the future, but now as well. Jesus is our King and the Messiah.
For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Master[Lord] Jesus the Messiah [Chris]t, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in the Messiah [Christ] when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
English Standard Version. (2016). (Ephesians 1:15–23). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
By making us His inheritance, God has shown His love. By promising us a wonderful future, He has encouraged our hope. Paul offered something to challenge our faith: “the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe” (Eph. 1:19).
So tremendous is this truth that Paul enlisted many different words from the Greek vocabulary to get his point that Jesus is pre-eminent, across: dunamis—“power” as in dynamo and dynamite; energeia—“working” as in energy; kratos—“mighty”; ischus—“power.” Ephesians 1:19 can be translated, “What is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the operation of the might of His strength.” He is talking about divine dynamic, eternal energy, available to us!
After all, what good is it to have wealth if you are too weak to use it? Or if you are so afraid of robbers that you cannot really enjoy it? John D. Rockefeller was the world’s first billionaire. It is said that for many years, he lived on crackers and milk because of stomach troubles caused by worrying about his wealth. He rarely had a good night’s sleep, and guards stood constantly at his door. Wealthy—but miserable! When he began to share his wealth with others in great philanthropic endeavors, his health improved considerably and he lived to be an old man.
The disciples of Jesus need power for several reasons. To begin with, by nature we are too weak to appreciate and appropriate this wealth, and to use it as it should be used. “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41). To turn this vast spiritual wealth over to a mere human being, living by human wisdom and strength, would be like handing an atomic bomb to a two-year-old. God’s power enables us to use God’s wealth.
But there is a second reason why we need God’s power. There are enemies who want to rob us of our wealth. We could never defeat these spiritual foes in our own power, but we can through the Spirit’s power. Paul wants us to know the greatness of God’s power so that we will not fail to use our wealth, and so that the enemy will not deprive us of our wealth.
The power is seen in the resurrection of Jesus the Messiah. In the Old Testament, people measured God’s power by His creation or by His miracle at the Exodus of Israel from Egypt. But today, we measure God’s power by the miracle of the Messiah’s resurrection. Much more was involved than merely raising Him from the dead, for Jesus also ascended to heaven and sat down in the place of authority at the right hand of God. He is not only Savior; He is also Sovereign. No authority or power, human or in the spirit world, is greater than that of Jesus the Messiah, the exalted Son of God. He is “far above all,” and no future enemy can overcome Him, because He has been exalted “far above all” powers.
But how does this apply to us today? In Ephesians 1:22–23, Paul explains the practical application. Because we are believers, we are in the church, which is Christ’s body—and He is the Head. This means that there is a living connection between you and Christ. Physically speaking, the head controls the body and keeps the body functioning properly. Injure certain parts of the brain and you handicap or paralyze corresponding parts of the body. Jesus is our spiritual Head. Through the Spirit, we are united to Him as the members of His body. This means that we share His resurrection, ascension, and exaltation. (Paul will amplify this later.) We too are seated, in the heavenlies, and all things are under our feet.
No wonder Paul wants us to know “the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward”! Apart from this power, we cannot draw on our great wealth in Christ.
The power of the Holy Spirit, through the resurrected, ascended Messiah, is available to all disciples—by faith. His power is to “us-ward who believe” (Eph. 1:19). It is grace that supplies the wealth, but it is faith that lays hold of the wealth. We are saved “by grace, through faith” (Eph. 2:8–9), and we live “by grace,” through faith (1 Cor. 15:10).
In the four good news books [Gospels], we see God’s power at work in the ministry of Jesus, but in the Book of Acts, we see that same power at work in ordinary men and women, members of the body of the Messiah. What a transformation took place in Peter’s life between the end of the Gospels and the beginning of Acts. What made the difference? The resurrection power of Jesus the Messiah.
The greatest power shortage today is not in our generators or our gas tanks. It is in our personal lives. Will Paul’s prayer be answered in your life? Will you, starting today, begin to know by experience God—God’s calling—God’s riches—and God’s power?
- Colossians 2:15 (NASB) — 15 When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.
- Ephesians 1:21 — 21 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 one to come.