Ephesians 1 : 17 - 23 ( NRSV )

I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him,(17) so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints,(18) and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power.(19) God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,(20) far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come.(21) And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church,(22) which is his body,1 the fullness2 of him who fills all in all.(23)

Comment

     The brief reference to the ascending of Jesus in the Letter to the Ephesians, functions as part of the author's general theme of praise about God's actions in Christ, on behalf of humankind.
     The ascending of Jesus signals the empowerment of the Christian community. It's life is linked to the 'heavenly' Christ whom God has made ruler of all things and head of the community (vv.22-23). The author prays that the, "Father of glory" will grant the Ephesian Christians a clear knowledge of God's reigning through the risen Jesus(vv.17-21).
     The author wants God to enlighten Christian disciples at Ephesus with the hope that is their birthright! Only then they will be able to appreciate the power-for-life this hope inspires. The power derived from this hope is compared to the powerful raising by God of Jesus to glory (v.19b-21). It is an appropriate comparison to make, because the object of a disciple's hope is in Christ's new life. The divine power is reflected infaithful disciples as a pledge of their future inheritance. Christ has already received hope's promise in full. As Christ's body,the Christian community is sure of the hope that is made real in the One who, "has ascended" to head their community.
 
footnotes:
Ephesians 1:17-23 The prayer moves from God and Christ (vv.17,20-21) to the Ephesians (vv.17-19) and the church (vv.22-23). Paul asks that the blessing imparted by God the Father (v.3) to the Ephesians will be strengthened in them through the message of the gospel (vv.13,17-19). Those blessings are seen in the context of God's might in establishing the sovereignty of Christ over all other creatures (vv.19-21) and in appointing Him head of the church (vv.22-23).
1. [ v.23a ] His body: The church v.22; Only in Ephesians Colossians is Christ the head of the body, in contrast to the view in 1 Co.12 and Rm.12:4-8 where Christ is equated with the entire body or community. 2. [ v.23b ] The fulness: Some take the one who fills as God, others as Christ (cf Eph.4:10). If in Christ "dwells the fullness of the deity bodily" (Col.2:9), then, as God, "fills" Christ, Christ in turn fills the church and the believer (Eph.3:19; 5:18). But the difficult phrases here may also allow the church to be viewed as the "complement" of Christ who is "being filled&qpuot; as God's plan for the universe is carried out through the church (cf Eph.3:9-10).


 

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