Ephesians 1:18-21 (NIV). 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
Of all the legacies the apostle Paul left the Church, his legacy of prayer emerges as most impactful. In his epistles, recorded for our benefit, we discover an outpouring of Paul’s intimate intercessions for the Church, his unfathomable longing for God’s people to walk fully in their glorious corporate destiny. What surprisingly clear windows into the hearts of Paul and of God, who surely animated the apostle’s prayers by His Holy Spirit, these passages provide.
One of Paul’s most poignant prayers, meandering deep into the first chapter of his letter to the Ephesians, reveals some amazing secrets of God’s desire for His Church. In Ephesians 1.18-20, we learn Paul prayed that, with our hearts–not merely with our minds–but that with our hearts, we would most assuredly know and be convinced of three things: first, that we would be convinced of the hope that is ours in the gospel–we are not destined to despair; second, that we would be convinced of God’s utter delight in all of His people–God likes us; and third, that we would be convinced of His power–the same power that raised Jesus from the dead!
This Easter, it behooves us not merely to rehearse and relive the deep agony of Christ’s suffering and the stupefying joy of His resurrection, although such rehearsal has phenomenal value. But we must also apprehend afresh for ourselves what it means to have access to the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead–His resurrection power!
Practically speaking, for such power to be experienced, it must be needed. Jesus accessed this resurrection power after having been beaten down by the worst that diabolically-bruised humanity could offer: betrayal, mocking, shaming, and a barbaric, tortuous execution. Likewise, we find ourselves most able to experience the resurrection power of Christ when confronted by our own powerlessness against the death, decay, and deception of our fallen creation.
We need only a brief look at the issues Cornerstone is currently addressing–the unfettered destruction of innocent life in the womb, the ramrodding of a gender ideology that utterly denies the Creator’s design, the angry push for easy access to marijuana despite the known and quantified resultant social ills, to name a few–to ascertain that we are facing infernally sophisticated forces, forces that can only be overcome by a superior supernatural power–resurrection power.
In Ephesians 1.19, two different Greek words are translated as power. Dynamis, meaning force or miraculous power, carries with it the image of a massive army arrayed and ready for battle. Imagine the sheer potential energy of an army comprised of soldiers beyond number, tanks, bazookas, and mortars, all ready to be unleashed. Only, imagine that their purpose is to unleash creativity and life on a scale exponentially grander than the destruction a normal army would unleash. This is dynamis. And kratos, the second word translated as power in Ephesians 1.19, indicates vigor, completion, perfection, and dominion. The word connotes a mature energy that exercises a benevolent authority.
If there were ever a time we believers in the Easter miracle needed to access resurrection power, a power characterized by an enormous potential energy of life at the ready and by a mature vigor, it is now. If to us the resurrection of Jesus is indeed a historical fact necessitating an extra-celebratory worship service but nothing more, then we nullify most, if not all, of the purpose of His crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. If we are to believe the apostle Paul’s prayers as recorded in Scripture, then Jesus’ victory over death itself has purchased for us a direct and real access to His resurrection power. And that power animates us to action.
In the face of diabolical schemes to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10.10) our culture’s most vulnerable, will we as God’s people fully grab hold of what was purchased for us at Easter? Will we reflexively reach out and into that resurrection power in our day-to-day work of confronting these fiendishly clever machinations?
Nearly two thousand years ago, the apostle Paul began praying that we would. May this Easter be another step towards the fulfillment of Paul’s Spirit-inspired prayers. Taking a hold of Jesus’ incomparable resurrection power, may we reaffirm our resolve to act, to advocate, to pray, to move, to speak, and to work. Jesus’ empty tomb empowers us for nothing less.
Alleluia. He is risen indeed.