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From Heaven through All Things

Jesus is filling the world!

To Fill All Things (1)

(Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) Ephesians 4.9, 10

The purpose of the ascension
Linger with me a bit over this text, will you?

First, let’s note the action: “descended”, “ascended.” From above to below to above again. It’s clear that Paul is referring to the incarnation and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the one who “descended into the lower parts of the earth.” He came from the throne of God on high and was incarnated as a lowly servant among the lowliest of people in a strictly backwater sector of the Roman Empire. He was born in a lowly stable, lived a life of poverty, died a criminal’s death, and was buried low in the ground.

From His place beside the heavenly Father, reigning with Him in glory, Jesus “emptied Himself” of certain divine perquisites, took on human flesh, and lived as the Servant of the Lord and His people.

But then, His work accomplished, Jesus “ascended,” first, from the grave to a new glorified life, and then from the earth to a place “far above the heavens.”

The Word of God Who had become flesh now returned to His heavenly throne, still garbed in the now-glorified body of the Man from Galilee. His heavenly throne is “far above the heavens”, that is, the stars and constellations and galaxies of the night sky and deep space. Jesus is enthroned at the Father’s right hand in a realm of unseen spiritual realities, far above and far superseding anything we might be able to see with even the most power astronomical instruments.

And why did Jesus take His place on this throne, far above and beyond the vast material cosmos?

In order, Paul explains, “that he might fill all things.” Jesus ascended to heaven and sits at the right hand of God that He might fill all things.

“All things”? The whole vast cosmos and everything in it? And fill all things with what?

The power of His rule
Let’s step back a bit. Paul reminds us elsewhere that the Word of God, Who has now taken the glorified form of our Lord Jesus Christ, created all things. John put it succinctly: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.”

And in that same Word all things hold together (Col. 1.16, 17). Nothing that exists anywhere in the cosmos has its being from anything other than the Word of God, and nothing continues to exist apart from the powerful upholding work of that same Word of God (Heb. 1.3).

He Who descended to earth and took the lowly form of Jesus of Nazareth is the same One Who made the cosmos and all things, and in Whose power and by Whose Word the cosmos and all things continue to exist. Although Jesus our glorified King is seated at the right hand of God far above and beyond the vast cosmos, His Word continues to pervade, uphold, and sustain the cosmos and everything in it, which He as the Word of God created by the power of God. It is as if He speaks the cosmos into being every moment, in every detail, down to the smallest sub-atomic particle.

We can neither fully fathom nor explain this mystery, how it works, how any Being can be of such a nature as that everything owes its existence and continuity to that Being. But this is what the Scriptures teach, and this is what Christians have always believed. The stamp of the Word of God is everywhere throughout the vast cosmos. All things are as Jesus says they should be, as He upholds them to be, and for the purposes He determines, in line with the glory of God.

It is by the power of His everywhere-rule that Jesus is now filling all things.

But filling all things with what?

In all things
In Ephesians 1.23 Paul again alludes to this mysterious doctrine of the Christ Who fills all things. In talking about the Church, Paul says the Body of Christ is the “fullness of Him who fills all in all.” We might just as accurately translate this phrase, “the One Who is filling all things in all things.” So Christ—the Word of God—Who made and upholds the cosmos, is now engaged in the process of filling all things in the cosmos with Himself, so that He may be in all things throughout the cosmos.

Jesus, in all things by His powerful rule, is filling all things with His Presence and power.

Increasingly, therefore, we should expect the cosmos—let’s be specific to our part of the creation, earth—we should expect the earth, created and sustained by King Jesus, pervaded by His sovereign rule, to become filled with Him and His presence. The world is receiving a make-over; it is being reconstructed and filled to refract the beauty, goodness, wisdom, might, wonder, power, and lovingkindness of Jesus Christ. He is making all things new (Rev. 21.5), and He is doing this by filling all things with Himself.

And—wonder of all—Paul says Jesus is doing this for and by His Church, where His fullness is most operative and evident at this time.

Christ is filling all things with Himself and His glory, and He is doing so through His Body, the Church. What does this mean for us?

For reflection
1. How have you experienced Jesus filling your life with Himself?

2. What might you point to in the world as evidence that Jesus is filling the world with Himself?

3. Is the Church an indication of Jesus filling the world? Explain.    

Next steps—Preparation: What should we expect in the world as Christ is filling it with Himself? Is seeing the world becoming filled with Jesus what your church is committed to pursuing? What about you personally? Talk with some Christian friends about these questions.

T. M. Moore

Right now, from His throne in heaven, Jesus is filling all things with Himself. How is He doing that? Order a copy of our book, What in Heaven Is Jesus Doing on Earth? to learn more. Click here for the book or here for the PDF.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from theNew King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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