…that he worked in 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. – Ephesians 1:20-23 ESV
Paul ends his prayer with a rather strange, but highly appropriate reminder of the source of the hope of our calling, our glorious inheritance and the immeasurable power at our disposal. It is Christ, the resurrected, ruling, righteous, and soon-to-be-returning Son of God and Savior of mankind. It is Jesus Christ who makes it possible for us to have a restored relationship with God. His death satisfied the just demands of a holy God. He died in our place so that the penalty for our sins might be paid in full and our condemnation be removed once and for all. His death made possible our adoption by God and our new status as His children. Our calling, our future inheritance and the power of God available to us are all a result of the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the cross. The amazing thing is that He willingly left His rightful place at God’s side and came to earth, took on human flesh, and died so that we might live. But Paul reminds us that, after His resurrection, made possible by God’s “great might,” Jesus returned to His Father’s side and was restored to His rightful position with all the power and authority that was His.
As important as it is that we believe Jesus came as a baby and lived His life as a human being, died on a cross and rose again, it is essential that we understand that Jesus is God, with all the “rule and authority and power and dominion” that God possessed. He is “above every name that is named.” God “put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church.” In other words, Jesus Christ possesses unsurpassed power and authority, and deserves our unwavering allegiance as the King of kings and Lord of lords. We tend to think that when Jesus cried out on the cross, “It is finished!,” He was saying that His work was done. And while His earthly work had come to a point of completion with His death, He is far from finished. He has returned to His Father’s side and He continues to work on our behalf as the head of the church, His body. That means that we, as members of that body, report to Him. And the power and authority that Jesus Christ possesses passes down to us as members of His Kingdom. He has every right to rule and reign over our lives. But we have a responsibility to act as His ambassadors, extending His reign over the earth and living as obedient citizens of His Kingdom as we do so. It is interesting that Paul ends his prayer with a reminder of the power and authority of Christ. In a sense, it is when we come to understand the rightful place of Jesus Christ as our ultimate authority and the unquestioned ruler over our lives, that we really come to know God. Jesus isn’t just a doorway through which we walk to get to God. He is God. He is God the Son, the second person of the Trinity. He is a vital part of the Godhead – God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Mysterious and inexplicable, but essential to what we believe about Jesus Christ and His subsequent role as our returning King. The apostle John was given a vision of what His future return will look like. “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:11-16 ESV).
He is coming again and this time it will be with power and authority. He is coming as the King of kings and Lord of lord. He has no equal. No one will be able to oppose Him. He will bring judgment to the earth. He will destroy the enemies of God. He will establish His Kingdom on the earth and reign in righteousness. But while all of that is somewhere out in the future, we must not forget that Jesus Christ possesses that same power and authority right now. We are to treat Him as our King and Lord each and every day of our lives. It is He who makes it possible for us to pray. Our very ability to come before God is a byproduct of His death on the cross. We enter into God’s presence because of Christ’s blood, not because we somehow deserve to be there. Even in our prayers we should acknowledge the great debt we owe to Jesus for what He has done. We can know God because we know Christ.