GodReflection: The Ultimate IN Sider.
What would it be like to be present in the City of Ephesus and sit among the first people who listened as a letter is read from their beloved teacher who is in prison? He is in jail due to false charges by those who despise him.
Some among the assembled were with him when he said his final goodbye when passing through their city. Listen to how Luke describes it: When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt with all of them and prayed. They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship. (Acts 20: 36-38).
And now here is his first letter to them. Perhaps it was one of the old church elders, who had known Paul since their church started to meet, who begins to read. Silence permeates the room and ears listen in great anticipation:
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Bless the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! He has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing that comes from heaven. God chose us in Christ to be holy and blameless in God’s presence before the creation of the world. God destined us to be his adopted children through Jesus Christ because of his love . . .
We have been ransomed through his Son’s blood, and we have forgiveness for our failures based on his overflowing grace, which he poured over us with wisdom and understanding. God revealed his hidden design to us, which is according to his goodwill and the plan that he intended to accomplish through his Son.
This is what God planned for the climax of all times: to bring all things together in Christ, the things in heaven along with the things on earth. We have also received an inheritance in Christ.
As we listen it is almost more than we can grasp. Ephesian Christians cannot go home and re-read what they heard. The letter had been packed with loads of news they would need to navigate their new walk. Copy machines are still hundreds of years in the future. There is no Bible. This is all new. And the letter is only just begun. How are we going to be able to comprehend it all?
When we read what we have come to know as chapter one of the Ephesian Letter, Paul shares with us the privileges God had given us in Christ to experience on this greatest trip ever. Hope is in Christ (vs12), truth, and the good news of our salvation are found in Christ (vs13). Because we believed in Christ we were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit (vs13). God’s power was at work in Christ when God raised him from the dead and sat him at God’s right side in the heavens. . . God put everything under Christ’s feet and made him head of everything in the church, which is his body. . . the church, is the fullness of Christ, who fills everything in every way (vs20-23).
The Spirit of Father and Son lead us in victory on this greatest trip ever. Yet the letter has hardly begun and the good news, rich ideas, and gracious gifts that are ours in Christ are already more than we can imagine.
Do you remember when you were five years old? Rather than write a letter to Santa Claus, what if the postal worker delivered one address to you, postmarked from the North Pole, signed by Saint Nicholas himself? It arrives weeks before Christmas to communicate directly with you. Because you are chosen there will be no need this year for you to send him your Christmas Wishlist.
Instead, he begins to list all the gifts he will bring chosen especially for you. You don’t even need to ask. His list is more than your little mind can imagine. Your only request is to anyone who will listen, “WOW! Read it again!”
Repeatedly, your little five-year-old mind will want to hear it again and again as you express all the joy you have and anticipate the gifts that will be yours when Christmas Arrives.
Back to the assembly with the Ephesian church. Paul’s gift list mentions thirty-six times in Christ as the wrappings for countless gifts. Surely one reading wasn’t enough. Can’t you hear voices across the assembly as they vibrate with joy and anticipation, WOW! Read it again!
I can’t seem to fathom it all in one reading either. I must read it again. How about you?
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection on WOW! Read It Again!
2 thoughts on “WOW! Read It Again!”
Great piece Gary
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Denise, Thanks for reading along and for your words of encouragement.