Head over all things -- An Ascension Day Meditation (Ephesians 1)
15 Since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, this is the reason that 16 I don’t stop giving thanks to God for you when I remember you in my prayers. 17 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, will give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation that makes God known to you. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart will have enough light to see what is the hope of God’s call, what is the richness of God’s glorious inheritance among believers, 19 and what is the overwhelming greatness of God’s power that is working among us believers. This power is conferred by the energy of God’s powerful strength. 20 God’s power was at work in Christ when God raised him from the dead and sat him at God’s right side in the heavens, 21 far above every ruler and authority and power and angelic power, any power that might be named not only now but in the future.22 God put everything under Christ’s feet and made him head of everything in the church, 23 which is his body. His body, the church, is the fullness of Christ, who fills everything in every way.
The second half of the first chapter of Ephesians (1 :1 5-23) continues the vision of worship with which the chapter begins. The focus here is upon Christ, in whom God has chosen to bring all things together in wholeness. As it moves toward a climax, the author revels in the power of the resurrection, by which God raised Christ into the heavenly places, where he would stand far above all rulers and authorities, not only in this age, but in the age to come. While the incarnation may have brought limitation upon Christ, in the resurrection those bonds have been broken. The doxology moves forward to a powerful scene in which Christ, sitting at the right hand of God, receives the tribute due one who is head over all things. In this new station, Christ is made head over all things “for the church.” And the church is defined here as being the body of Christ, which is “the fullness of him who fills all in all.”
What is powerfully laid out here is a vision of the church itself, reflecting and even embodying the glory that now belongs to the risen Christ. This vision of the church as the body of Christ, with Christ as its head, will appear again in the Ephesian letter (see Ephesians 5:21 ff). This vision of the church, embodying the fullness that is Christ, serves as a call to missional action — returning to the idea that begins the chapter, that the church has been blessed with every spiritual blessing, so that it might in turn be a blessing.
Excerpted from my book: Ephesians: A Participatory Study Guide, (Energion, 2010), p. 17.