Resurrection Power


Paul prays “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know… what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe” (Eph. 1:17-19). Paul knows it’s often demoralizing when we look at the world around us—even at the church around us—with merely earthly sight. So he prays for the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of wisdom, the Spirit of revelation.

John was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s day” (Rev. 1:10) when he had a vision, Jesus’ Revelation from God (1:1). “Revelation” means unveiling, the pulling back of the curtain of this visible world to see the heavenly, eternal, spiritual realities at work behind and over it all. Paul knows that, if believers are to take heart in this apparent world of death, we’ll need to be able to “see” God’s immeasurably great power at work behind the scenes. It’s like Elisha in Dothan, who prayed for his fearful servant when he saw Syria’s army, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” God answered the prayer, and the servant saw the Lord’s angelic armies, and took courage (2 Kings 6).

When Paul prays for Christians to know God’s immeasurably great power, he knows it’s not something instinctive for us. God’s kind of power is difficult for us to recognize and appreciate. We tend to think of real power as the ability to prevent bad things from happening. But God’s power is different. His power is resurrection power. His power takes us right through bad things, and out the other side into glory. Resurrection power is the power of suffering love that dies, then rises again, victorious, to rule over all things forever.

Paul shows that we have, in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ, the proof and the pattern of God’s resurrection power at work for our good. God “raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:20). The one who wields resurrection power wields the greatest of all powers. Because of Jesus’ resurrection, we have the guarantee of our resurrection. Because of Jesus’ ascension, we know that God’s resurrection power will always rule over every other power. This is how God’s immeasurably great power worked in the life of his Son, and this is how it will work in our lives.

Faith sees God’s resurrection power everywhere, unstoppable, ruling over all things. Earthly eyes don’t see it. We need the Spirit of revelation to enlighten the eyes of our hearts with the light of the Gospel. So we pray. And when God answers this prayer, we love. And when our love backfires—as we fully expect—we’ll be hurt, disappointed, frustrated, saddened. We’ll suffer rejection, abandonment, betrayal, persecution, humiliation, and defeat. We’ll lose control. Loving, we will give ourselves, even to death. All the while, behind that curtain, is the glorious pattern of grains falling into the earth and dying… then bearing much fruit (John 12:24).

In Christ, in God’s resurrection power, we have the true and everlasting victory of love and life over death. Ultimately we’ll have this victory in the eternal Spring of the New World that God is preparing for us. But we have this victory today by faith, which is “the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). By faith, with the eyes of our hearts, we have peered behind the curtain of this world of death, and we know it actually to be a resurrection world because of God’s immeasurably great power toward us who believe. Amen.

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