Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ephesians 1:20-22

. . . seated him at his right hand in the heavens, far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things beneath his feet . . . (Ephesians 1:20-22).

I have to admit, sometimes I forget who really is in charge of this planet: people, Satan, or God. To surf the internet news, or listen to the radio, one could get the idea that the sky is falling.

And it very well may be.

When I put what I know of bible prophecy about the End Times together with current national and international politics and economics, I can almost hear the trumpet.

I have to also admit, I sometimes (and quite unconsciously) place the Lord Jesus in my mind as less than He truly is – God. That’s as in -- uh, G-o-d. Almighty. Omnipotent. Omniscient. Co-eternal and co-equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus is seated physically at the Father’s right hand (as we discussed briefly in the last study), but He is no less Almighty God than either of the other two Persons in the Holy Trinity.

As the writers of the Nicene Creed (325 A.D.) so ably stated, Jesus is “God from God, light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in being (essence) with the Father.”

And that is the point St. Paul is driving home when he tells his readers Jesus is “far above every principality, authority, power and dominion" -- that ALL things – as in ALL things – are under Jesus’ feet.

One of my favorite passages from the prophet Isaiah speaks directly to this point -- and a person would have to work very hard to miss that point -- “Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales; Behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust. . . . All the nations are as nothing before Him, they are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless.

I'm not sure if Scripture makes God's view of humankind's prowess any clearer.

And then there is this passage in Psalm 2 in which the Lord derides all of earth's rulers and princes who cast God's authority aside. Nor should we forget this telling verse in the last chapters of Scripture that record earth’s future history (history which is, from God's vantage point, already accomplished), or this passage from the prophet Daniel.

And, while we are talking about the absolute power of Jesus, this scene in St. John’s gospel is among my favorites in the New Testament and concludes with this passage: So Jesus . . . went forth and said to them, "Whom do you seek?" They answered Him, "Jesus the Nazarene." He said to them, "I am He". . . . So when He said to them, "I am He," they drew back and fell to the ground."

Can you see the scene in your mind? A furious and malevolent mob surrounds Jesus, wielding their clubs and swords. Jesus knows why they are there. But what does He do? He walks up to them (see who's really in charge here?) and when He identifies Himself the mob falls to the ground, overcome by the sheer (and, as I imagine, the VERY controlled) power of God.

I'm surprised they didn’t jump to their feet and flee in terror for their lives. But they – as political, religious and economic bullies have always done (and do) – they brushed wisdom aside, grabbed the Lord and dragged Him away -- and in so doing, merely fulfilled the master plan of the Master.

Listen -- I need to hear this truth about Jesus' power again and again. And perhaps you also can benefit from being reminded of it a time or two, as well. Heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain the power of our almighty God. Demons tremble at the very name of Jesus; how much more at His presence? And God’s children, born through baptismal faith, are invincible as long as Jesus says we are. And He permits us to be touched only when our suffering is for our good and for His glory.

And that, (as some might say it), is shoutin’ stuff. Glory to God!

Questions for Reflection:

1. You and I – indeed, everyone on planet Earth – has the choice how we will serve the Master. Some will do so as His children. Others, as His tools. Which will you be?

2. God is forever on His throne. That is why God-in-the-form-of-Man told us, when we see the sky falling, “look up and rejoice, for your redemption draws near.” Why shall we be afraid when Jesus promised He goes before us, and nothing will overtake us that He has not prepared us to meet?

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