ODJ: Surprising Victory

April 13, 2016 

READ: Ephesians 1:15-23 

Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come (v.21).

At the climax of the film Superman II, it looked as if villain General Zod had beaten the world’s superhero. Zod had coerced Superman into a crystal chamber that was designed to expose him to sunrays from their home planet Krypton—rays that would neutralize his superpowers. But Superman secretly reconfigured the chamber so that the power—draining sunrays were released on General Zod and his Kryptonian cronies instead!

When Jesus’ story came to its God—ordained climax, it looked as if the powerful Roman government and Jewish religious hierarchy had scored a decisive victory. The One who had healed the sick, calmed stormy seas, and even raised the dead back to life was unmistakably dead and buried (Mark 15:37,42—47).

But as time passed, by counsel of the Holy Spirit, followers of Jesus began to recognize that His unjust and brutal crucifixion was not a crushing defeat. It was a surprising victory for God’s kingdom over the world’s powers. As one of Jesus’ earliest followers wrote, “[It was God’s] mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand” (Ephesians 1:19—20).

Through the power of sacrificial love, Jesus neutralized the corrupt “rulers and authorities” and established God’s worldwide reign. God was truly in charge, and the world was set to undergo a change just as radical as the events surrounding Jesus’ death itself.

We who claim Jesus as our Savior have access to the same power that turned the horrors of the cross into a stunning victory (vv.21—22). This same force that raised Jesus from the dead 3 days later is the power of the Holy Spirit who indwells and enables us to live for God’s kingdom today (Romans 8:2,11).

—Jeff Olson

365-day-plan: 1 Kings 3:1-15

Read Colossians 2:15 and consider what it says about Jesus’ victory for us. 
What did you do or say recently that proclaimed the reality of God’s kingdom in the world around you? How has the power of the Holy Spirit been made evident in your life?