Summary: The power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead, raised Him...and us...far above all things. (#13 in the "Every Spiritual Blessing" series)
Despite the Fall of man, or perhaps, because of the Fall, there has always existed in the human breast the desire ~ the need ~ to rise above one’s circumstances; outside of one’s own limitations.
Whether it be for escape, or self-improvement, or just for adventure and a yearning to explore the unknown, there has always been a reaching upward-and-outward from every mode of expression known to man.
The athlete works many hours of every day toward an ever-higher goal. The scientific researcher burns the midnight oil to find that ever-elusive answer.
Dorothy sings of a place ‘over the rainbow’. Don Quixote reaches for the unreachable star. Peter Pan laughs heartily at the poor, unbelieving earth-bound, and sets his course for ‘second star to the right, and straight on till morning‘.
H.G. Wells, Isaac Assimov, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Ray Bradbury, Gene Roddenberry and so many others have granted us passage on board their imaginations and taken us, as Roddenberry put it, “...to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before”.
Astronomers have lost themselves in the stars since long before they even knew the shape of their own planet; and since the late 1950s our own scientists have dedicated their lives and careers to getting away from this earth as far and as fast as possible.
Y’know what? The more I think of it, the more I’m inclined to believe that it is because of the Fall, and not despite the Fall.
Man, in his original state, un-fallen and in harmony with his Creator, would have been content in the most perfect and absolute definition of the word. But sin entered in, and death through sin, so that all died.
And that death was much more than physical; and the effects of man’s spiritual death cover an infinitely broader scope than I think we’re capable of realizing.
Everything about us was immediately and progressively affected by sin (or should I say, ‘digressively’ affected).
Our physical health, our average life-span, and, cutting right to the topic, our ability to reason and to imagine.
And as is the nature of all men, the fact that we cannot, makes us want to all the more.
We can’t fly, so we imagine super heroes.
We can’t travel through space, so we make up people who do it and show us what it is like.
We can’t understand the spiritual realm, so (and this is the sad thing), instead of going to the One who knows about the spiritual realm, we make up our own ‘facts’ about it, absurdities with no foundation in any known truth, thereby proving Paul’s words, when he said, “Professing to be wise they became fools”.
But it all comes out of that innate longing to know what’s around the next bend; over the next hill; past the next star; even, the other side of death.
Now, I know that it is due to our sin nature, that no man can come to God apart from the Holy Spirit’s enlightening and regenerating power. We do not need here to go over all that territory again.
We remember that Jesus told Nicodemus he could not see the kingdom of heaven unless born from above. We know Paul well-established to the Corinthians that the natural mind cannot comprehend the things of the Spirit. We’ve said that several times in recent weeks.
But aside from that, it just strikes me as so ironic, that men continue to refuse to consider the claims of the very One who came from there. Came from heaven. Came from the other side of death. Came from that other ‘morning’... and could eventually give them all the answers they need; could someday take them to see for themselves.
Let’s look at these words of Paul’s close to the end of the first chapter of Ephesians today, and get a clearer idea of what awaits us who are called “...His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all”.
“...which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but in the one to come.”
THAT POWER RAISED HIM FAR ABOVE DEATH
You may remember that last week we talked about the strength of His might and the things He accomplished for and in us by the working of it; and we established that the word “working” implies an on-going, never-ceasing exercise of this energy.
Well, this same power has placed our Lord far above death.
Romans 1:4 tells us that the Father ‘declared’ Jesus to be His Son, by the very act of raising Him from the dead.