“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven on and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:14-19, ESV)
This is Paul’s prayer for spiritual strength, his recognition of the hard fact that humans cannot get through a difficult situation on their own. He prays it as a blessing over the Ephesians, reminding them how awesome the Lord is.
There are two specific word choices that stick out to me in this passage. First, “to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.” At first this feels like Paul just did a double take in the middle of his sentence. However, when taken in context of the entire passage, it’s incredibly beautiful and filled with hope. There are so many things we cannot know on our own. But when the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our hearts, so much becomes clear. We cannot see the entirety of Christ’s love on our own, and so He sends His Spirit to open our eyes and truly “comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth” of this love.
The second word play that blows my mind is the last piece of this blessing, “that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” To be filled with fullness is to never be empty again. In Jesus, we find everything we could ever need, and then infinitely more. That, my friends, is amazing.
Because of our sins, we are empty. We are gasping for breath and enslaved by our selfish desires. It’s so easy, even inevitable, to be lonely and abandoned. We’ve pushed ourselves so far away from hope that there’s no coming back on our own. That’s where Jesus comes in. He holds out His hands to us and calls us Home, in all our brokenness, to Himself. And when we step out and take His offered hand we see the rich and abounding steadfast love that He pours out on us despite our rejection of Him. This is grace.
Only in Jesus can we be truly filled. Nothing but His blood can cleanse us of our sins. Nothing but His love can welcome us Home again.