Reading: Ephesians 1:15-23 focus on 1:22-23
22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
Questions for observation and application:
What are the two things that God did for Jesus in verse 22?
For whom did God appoint Jesus to be head over everything?
The most challenging question in regarding this text is the question of Jesus’s relationship to the church, and the church’s relationship to Jesus. First, we see that Jesus is head over everything (see rule, authority, power, etc. in 1:21). Here Jesus is the authority, even if his subjects are unwilling. To him “every knee will bow and every tongue confess”, but the blessings (see the spiritual blessings described earlier…) only come to those who believe. Jesus’s headship over the church, though, is one of joyful and willing submission. F.F. Bruce describes it this way:
[T]here is a difference in character between his supremacy over the [powers/authorities] and his headship over the church. The principalities and powers, insofar at least they are hostile, “are subjected, put down by force, and are placed under Christ’s feet by victory.” … On the other hand, the Church is one with him, even if she is subjected to him. Over her he exercises a supremacy only of sanctification and love, and force does not enter into it at all.
Second, we need to understand the final phrase “the fullness of him who fills everything.” That the church is the fullness of Christ does not mean that Christ is somehow incomplete without the Church. Christ is self-existing and complete in Himself. Nevertheless, the Church has a natural and organic relationship with Christ, as body to its head.
Bonus Reading: Psalm 119:81-88