Wednesday 18 November 2015

Bible Book:

Ephesians 1:15-23 Wednesday 18 November 2015

Psalm: Psalm 128


This passage, another long unbroken sentence in Greek, dividesinto three sections. There are prayers of thanksgiving (verses15-16) and of intercession (verses 17-19), which lead into anaffirmation of the supremacy of Christ (verses 20-23).

Although the writer does not link words of praise with aspecific situation, thanks are given for two important aspects of aChristian community - faith and mutual love. The letter goes on topray that God will grant wisdom and understanding as recipientsgrow in their faith, so that they may enter into the fullness ofall that God has to give. This will enlighten the eyes of theirheart, a memorable phrase meaning spiritual enlightenment.

Verse 19 emphasises the power of God, and the writer then givesthe example of God's power at work in the resurrection of JesusChrist from the dead. Some suggest that the remainder of thechapter is a liturgical formula or creed, possibly used at aBaptism.

The power of God did not just raise Jesus Christ from the dead,but also exalted him to the seat of power at God's right hand. Thusthe power of the exalted Christ is comprehensive, above all otherpowers, and it extends into the future. The writer quotes from Psalm8:6 to underline the extent of that power, which includes theuniversal Church. Paul uses the metaphor of the body to teach aboutthe Church (eg 1 Corinthians 12:12-27) and the writer of theLetter to the Ephesians draws from that powerful imagery andintroduces the idea of Christ as head of the Church as his body. Weare accustomed to think of Church in that way, acting for Christand as Christ in the world today. Verse 22 reminds us that as inphysiological terms, the head controls the rest of the body, andthe body cannot function without it, so the Church needs Christ andcannot survive without him.

To Ponder

  • Do you find the word pictures of the power of Christ over allthings helpful or unhelpful? Why?
  • What are your feelings about the future of the Church, inBritain, and in the world?
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