15 Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, 16 I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, 17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. 18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.
19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. 21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. 22 God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.
Ephesians 1:15-23 New Living Translation (NLT)
Today is Ascension Day. Forty days after Easter and just 10 days before Pentecost. It is on this day that we remember that Jesus said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) Not long after He said these words, Jesus was taken up to heaven.
Our reading today comes not from Acts, but from Ephesians. Paul is writing to the church in Ephesus. Paul prays a prayer for the church and this prayer alludes to the themes of Easter – light, hope, resurrection power, and Jesus’ authority.
During this season of Easter, we have been looking at the writings of John – specifically his first letter, in which John reminds us to live in the light as God is in the light. Paul prays for the Ephesian believers that there heart may be flooded with light. It is this same light that we are to be witness of. This same light gives us a confidence – a hope of God’s glorious inheritance.
Paul prays for the believers that they may be filled with God’s power – the same power that Jesus prayed for his disciples – the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. This same power is the Holy Spirit and Paul prays that the Holy Spirit would be living in us.
Not only is this the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, and the same power that lives in us, but it is the same power that raised Christ on the day of ascension…and place Jesus at the place of honor and authority.
Jesus is above all. As Paul writes, “Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else!” He was put in this place of authority by God himself. This authority is for all time – in this world and the world to come. Christ is also the head of the church – the body of believes around the world.
The church is made full and complete (or mature or perfect) through Christ. That means we as believers – as Christ-followers can be made full and complete (or perfect) through Christ. Because Christ fills us with himself, therefore we have the same power that raised Christ from the dead – the power of the Holy Spirit – living in us. We don’t have to live in spiritual poverty – having no power over sin, but we can live in spiritual richness. After all we are called to be his holy (set apart) people who have a glorious inheritance.
As we remember this day that Jesus was raised back to heaven, let us remember to live in the power that raised Jesus from the dead and put him in the place of authority – over everything in this world and the one to come – and over the church. Let us live in the fullness of Jesus’ presence!