How Powerful Do You Feel Right Now?
Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel was looking for ways to harness the explosive power of unstable nitroglycerin more safely. In 1867, Nobel invented dynamite as a “safer” substance than nitroglycerin. He continued by inventing ever more stable and more powerful versions of explosives for the next several years. At the time of his death in 1896, he owned 355 international patents and had started 90 armaments factories. However, he had a life-changing experience when an obituary was accidentally written for him in the newspaper (it should have been for his brother). The French newspaper announced, “The merchant of death is dead!” It upset him that he was going to be thought of forever as this merchant of death. Nobel then established the five Nobel prizes with the fifth one being the “Nobel Peace Prize.”
In our last time together, I wrote of “hope” in the Bible and “riches” of God’s inheritance in people of faith. The third concept that Paul mentioned here is that of “power”:
“. . . and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” [Ephesians 1: 19-21. NIV]
What a conglomeration of words, all having to do with variations of power and packed together here. God’s power is so strong that it’s “incomparable” (NIV) – without comparison – and “immeasurable” (RSV). The Greek word translated as power is a form of “dunamos.” What does that look like? Yes, dynamite. It’s also the word from which we get dynamo. This used to mean a large and powerful electric motor, but it has now been used to describe people who seem to have lots of energy and ideas: “She’s a real dynamo”; “He’s a dynamic speaker.”
Look at the verse above, and you will see “power,” “working” (we get the English word “energy” from this Greek word), “might” and “strength.” Paul was excited as he contemplated the greatness and power of God in raising Christ from the dead and seating him in the heavenly realms.
What do you need power for? How about when you lose electricity due to a storm? Years ago, my wife and I lost power to our house for the first time. No lights with night rapidly approaching. “Well, what are we going to do?”, we thought. I’ll vacuum. No. My wife will catch up on her ironing. No. We’ll cook a meal to be ready for when it gets dark. No, not that, either. No power? Nothing to do for it, except to get out the candles and settle down. Without electrical power, there isn’t much a person can do. God’s power, on the other hand, is capable of doing anything – including being the great and all-powerful creator and sustainer of the universe.
“And God placed all things under his feet and appointed [Christ] to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” [Ephesians 1: 22-23. NIV]
This is a verse that is packed with meaning and implications. I will address it soon, hopefully this week.
Please try to stay healthy. Don’t relax your guard with COVID as it’s getting out of control again. Wear a mask. Stay distant from others. Wash your hands frequently.
Categories: How Can the Bible Relate to Us Today?