Ephesians 1:22-23 “God has placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”
Many things challenge our faith that Jesus has everything under his control, don’t they. Every day it seems as though the forces of evil are gaining the upper hand. Do any of us really believe we can reverse the moral decay that has taken hold of our country? Sometimes Christianity itself seems to be crumbling from the inside. Church after church caves in to our secular culture. They give up their Biblical heritage. Does that look like everything is under Jesus’ power? Can we really believe that Jesus has secured our little planet, much less the entire universe?
Add to that Paul’s description of Jesus’ as “head over everything,” and we find ourselves in a real quandary. God has “appointed him to be head over everything.” What does a head do? The head is the leader, isn’t it? The head calls the shots. If Jesus is the head, then he is the one who is running our world and making the events in my life happen the way that they do.
Here the challenges to our faith reaches its peak. It might be easier to believe that Jesus has all that power, if we could believe that he chooses not to get involved, or doesn’t care about the details and just lets things go their own way. But if Jesus is actively running the show as the head, and he claims that he loves me, would he let my kid land in the hospital and the starter on my car die in the same week when I have two big projects due at work and a family funeral to attend?
The answer to our trial of faith is not to be found in greater demonstrations of Jesus’ power. Power alone doesn’t win converts. Rather, we find our faith, our joy, our peace in his promises and in his love.
The Church over which Jesus is the head is not some impersonal institution he wants to succeed for reasons of personal pride, or to please the shareholders, or to pad his resume. This is his people. This is his family. This is you and I. For a moment, let’s look away from how he has been running our lives and look at how he ran his own.
Jesus has always been for the church, hasn’t he? Why did he leave heaven and become one of us? He wasn’t improving his own living conditions by doing so. He did it to save us. Why did he expend so much of his time and energy healing the sick? He didn’t do it to pad his own pockets like so many faith-healers today. He did it out of genuine compassion and mercy. Why did reach out to the outcast and the sinners and the poor? It didn’t improve his personal social standing. He did it because he sincerely wanted them to be his people, too. Why did he let his body be used as a punching bag, and let them rip the skin from his body with whips, and die an agonizing death on a cross? He owed no debt to society that needed to be paid. He did it because he loved us, the church, and gave himself up for her to make her holy so that he could present her to himself as a radiant church without any stain or wrinkle or any other blemish. Jesus has always been for his people.
That hasn’t changed now that he has returned to heaven and secured the universe under his power. God placed all things under his feet and appointed him head over everything for the church. Although it’s true that his own living conditions have improved immensely since he has returned to heaven, he hasn’t forgotten us. Just as he once gave it all up for his people, now he has taken it all back. But still does so for his people. He uses all that power on our behalf.
I may not understand why he runs the world the way he does. But then, I don’t have to. I don’t understand why he suffered hell so that an unappreciative, self-centered sinner like me wouldn’t have to, either. It is enough to know that whether he is making the ultimate sacrifice, or securing and running the universe, he does it for me and for you and for everyone else who belongs to him by faith.
Blankets and teddy bears, popular best friends and hefty bank accounts, well-equipped soldiers and a strong military can’t give us lasting security. But Jesus can. He has secured the entire universe under his power and that gives real security to the people who know his love.