Last Sunday, we had a great time discussing Ephesians 1:1-14 together. I was greatly challenged and encouraged by my brothers and sisters in Christ as we talked about how God has blessed us in Jesus Christ and how the proper response is to bless (praise) him back with both our words and our lives.
Next week, we plan to discuss the Ephesians 1:15-23, which is Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian church. He prays that God would grant them revelation and wisdom through his Spirit so that they would know him better. (Ephesians 1:15-17) He asks that God would enlighten their hearts which would result in the Ephesians also knowing three things: 1) the hope that God had called them to, 2) how valuable they are to God, and 3) the amazing power of God that is at work in and through them. (Ephesians 1:18-19)
For the next several verses, Paul “camps out” on this power of God. He reminds them that the power that’s in them is the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead and caused him to be ascended into heaven. (Ephesians 1:20) The power that is in the Ephesians is the same power that placed Jesus above any other power or authority… any other power… in any time. (Ephesians 1:21)
Then, Paul makes the statement that I want to consider for the rest of this post:
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. (Ephesians 1:22-23 ESV)
Now, we know that later in the letter Paul stresses that Jesus is the head of the church:
For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. (Ephesians 5:23 ESV)
And, he says something similar in Colossians:
And he is the head of the body, the church… (Colossians 1:18 ESV)
But, in the passage in Ephesians 1:22-23, Paul focuses on something else: Jesus is the head over all things. In fact, Paul says that God gave Jesus Christ to be head over all things… and God gave him to the church.
Remember that Paul is using this statement as an indication of the great power of God that is at work in the believers in Ephesus. It was not only the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, it was also the power that placed Jesus above all things, the power that placed all things under his control (“under his feet”), and the power that made Jesus head over all things for the benefit of the church.
Finally, remember that Paul wanted the Ephesians to know this power. He asked God to enlighten them so that they would know this power (among other things).
Now, looking at the passage raises several questions for me: 1) What does it mean to know this kind of power? 2) Why do we need to be enlightened in order to know this power? 3) What does it mean for the church for Jesus to be head over all things? 4) If Jesus is head over all things, why does it not seem that way when we look at the church and the world?