Paul's First Prayer for the Ephesians
Ephesians 1:15-23
Why I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love to all the saints,…

Having spoken of the inspiration of the adopted children, the apostle proceeds next to his first prayer on their behalf. He has a still more remarkable prayer in Ephesians 3., but the present one is most instructive too. It begins, as usual, with thanksgiving for the faith towards the Lord Jesus, and love to all the saints which the Ephesians cherish. This need not detain us, but we may at once proceed to the substance of his petition for them. In a word, it is that they may know spiritually the Divine purpose regarding them, and thus be able the better to co-operate with God in the fulfillment of it. This Divine purpose is determined by the Divine power, and the progress of the Christian is simply an experience of "the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power." The point of the passage and of the prayer consists in the measure of the mighty power. This is found in the experience of Christ. His experience, in fact, becomes the measure of the Christian's hope. When the Father can do such wonders in the person of Christ and in the interests of Christ's people, how much may we expect him to do for ourselves!

I. THE FATHER SHOWED HIS MIGHTY POWER IN RAISING CHRIST FROM THE DEAD. (Ver. 20.) The mighty power of God is illustrated in the work of creation; but, as A. Monod pointedly puts it, "Creation is an emanation; resurrection is a victory." Christ was dead; apparently he had been vanquished; the king of terrors seemed supreme. But the first day of the week dawned upon a "risen Savior," and the Father's mighty power received ample illustration. Now, it must have been a marvelous experience for our Savior to Dass from death into newness of life. For the life after he rose was different from the life before he suffered. It was immortal. He could henceforth die no more. Hence he said in apocalyptic vision, "I am he that liveth, and was dead, and, behold, I am alive for evermore." It was thus a transformation from mortality to immortality, from death to everlasting life. The previous resurrections, as far as we know, were only to mortal life. The children raised by Elijah, Elisha, and Christ, and the adults as well, rose to die once more. So that previous resurrections were only foreshadowings of the resurrection of Jesus out of death into life eternal.

II. THE FATHER SHOWED HIS MIGHTY POWER IN CAUSING CHRIST TO ASCEND TO HIS OWN RIGHT HAND IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES. (Vers. 20, 21.) Had Christ been left in this world with his immortal nature, he would have had a wide sphere for influence and authority. The opposing terrestrial powers would have gone down before him in due season, and an emancipated world been the result. But when we consider how limited in size this earth is compared with the rest of the system, we can understand how the Father would resolve to put his best beloved Son in a wider sphere of influence than this world affords. What principalities, powers, mights, and dominions lie beyond this "little sand-grain of an earth" we cannot yet tell; but we are assured here of one fact, that the Father has set the Son above them all, at his own right hand in the heavenly places. Now, the "right hand of God" means the seat of power. It is the very focus and center of that mighty energy which we are now considering. Consequently the Father has lifted the Son in his immortal human nature into the very center of power, and given him the universe as his empire. This, again, must have been a marvelous experience for Christ. What a joyful enlargement! To pass out of the narrowness and provincialism of this tiny world into the magnificence of a universal empire; to have all created things and beings as his subjects; to be supreme Administrator under the infinite Father; - this must have been a mighty and a joyful experience for the risen Christ.

III. THE FATHER SHOWED HIS MIGHTY POWER IN PUTTING ALL THINGS UNDER CHRIST'S FEET. (Ver. 22.) The administration is thus guaranteed to be triumphant. Some portions of the vast empire may be rebellious. They may refuse the reign of the Man Christ Jesus. Their rash words may be, "We will not have this Man to reign over us." But they are only putting themselves under the feet of the reigning Christ. Their defeat is certain; the Father's mighty power is pledged to Christ's supremacy. And though, in the words of the Epistle to the Hebrews, "we see not yet all things put under him, we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor," and this is the Father's pledge of ultimate triumph.

IV. THE FATHER SHOWED HIS MIGHTY POWER IN GIVING CHRIST THE HEADSHIP OF THE CHURCH. (Vers. 22, 23.) Now, the administration of a state and the headship of a Church are very distinct things. If the Church is the body and Christ the Head, then it stands in closer relations to Christ than subjects do to any sovereign. Christ thinks for the Church; the Church acts for Christ. Just as the body is the instrument of the head, carrying out in the details of practical life the commandments of the head, the seat of the mind and will, so the Chinch is designed to be the instrument in the hand of Christ for the carrying out of his purposes. What a mighty power is needed to bring about a relation so close as this! What gracious power is needed to subdue the individual self-will, and enforce submission to the will and the word of the living Head! This intimate and glorious union between believers and their Lord is what the mighty power of the Father has brought and is bringing about, and this again must be a glorious experience on the part of Christ. Here, then, we have resurrection, ascension, enthronement, and headship all secured to the once dead Christ by the mighty power of the Father. In such a system what possibilities are opened up for each of us! If this is the measure of the Father's mighty power, which Paul invoked on behalf of his Ephesian converts, truly they may lift up their heads in hope of redemption, complete and glorious, drawing nigh. The more we meditate upon the mighty power of the gracious Father, the more we are assured that mighty grace shall be manifested to us as we need it. When our Lord has had such experience granted him, his members may expect similar experiences in their season. We shall see a parallelism in the experience when we advance to the succeeding section. - R.M.E.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

WEB: For this cause I also, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which is among you, and the love which you have toward all the saints,

Observance of Others' Religious Progress
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