God’s Power in Christ
Open Your Bible
Ephesians 1:20-23, Psalm 8:1-9, Isaiah 11:1-9
Have you ever heard the story of Mike the Headless Chicken?
In 1945, Mike was a five-month-old chicken when his owner tried to kill him for dinner. But he missed the barnyard bird’s jugular vein and Mike somehow survived—with just a brain stem on top of his body. His owner figured out a way to feed him with an eyedropper, and Mike went on to live for eighteen more months.
Mike became a sideshow, a traveling, income-producing wonder whose existence was certified and studied. Here was a chicken with no head, not running around like a chicken with his head cut off, but rather running around like a chicken that still had a head even though its head really had been cut off.
Stick with me here.
When Paul writes to the church in Ephesus, he explores what it means to be the Church. What does it mean to be the people of God saved by grace? (Ephesians 2). What does it mean for Jews and Gentiles to come together as one people? (Ephesians 4 and 5).
In Ephesians 1:20–23, Paul explores what it means to be the embodied Church on earth while the head of the Church, Jesus, is seated at the right hand of the Father in the heavens (v.20). Jesus, who is above all rulers and authorities, powers and dominions, and every title, is head over everything, over His entire body, the Church.
The Church is the embodied, flesh-and-bone, active Body of our beloved King Jesus, who rules with all things under His feet. When Jesus ascended into heaven, He left with these words: “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth,” which is the qualification for His command and is followed by “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:18–19).
Jesus was telling believers to be the Church and build the Church, but to do so by His authority, which is the sentiment Paul echoes in the first chapter of Ephesians. Jesus is the head of the Body, the Church, an illustration Paul uses throughout his letters (Colossians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 12:27; Romans 12:5), and as such, we’re not left on our own to aimlessly wander through this life, directionless.
When I read this passage from Ephesians 1, and I realize what it really means—that I am the hands and feet of Jesus in this broken world, called to exude His love to both my neighbor and my enemy, to fight for righteousness, justice, and truth—I am overwhelmed by my own inadequacy. I think of King David’s words in Psalm 8: “What is a human being that you remember him, a son of man that you look after him?” (v.4).
Jesus left the care and keeping of His Church to a wildly unqualified group of people. We sin, stumble, and soak in our own self-righteousness while we recklessly pursue our glory instead of His. Who am I? Part of the Body in which the fullness of Christ dwells. Why me? Because I am a sinner saved by grace, daily growing more like Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. This is what qualifies us. To Him and Him alone be the glory now and forever more.