Last Sunday, we talked about the core of our worship. Our redemption in Jesus is at the heart of our worship. Yet the result of our worship is different. We have been redeemed (although the full effect of our redemption is our being glorified with Christ); it is something that has taken place in the past. In this week’s text, Paul focuses on the effect of our worship.
What do we hope to experience as we worship? Paul prays that we would know Jesus.
(Ephesians 1:17 NIV) I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
It is one thing to know about Jesus. It is another to know Him. Paul wants, for the church, more than intellectual knowledge of Jesus. He desires that we fully experience living in relationship with Him. He describes,
(Ephesians 1:18 NIV) I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know . . .
There are three Greek words in this verse that are worth highlighting. The first is translated eyes (ophthalmos). The second is translated heart (kardia). The third is translated enlightened (photizo). In the ancient world, the heart was seen as the center of one’s being. We might use the word mind or soul in today’s language. We don’t think of our inner being having eyes. Yet Paul is praying for clarity in our heart (our inmost being); he wants us to comprehend God. And what does he want for the eyes of our heart? He wants them to be enlightened. Notice the Greek word, photizo. It is the root word for photograph or photo. In other words, Paul wants us to be able to clearly see God. He wants us to see, understand God as if we were gazing on a photograph of Him.
Have you ever tried to describe how person looks? It could be very difficult. You might describe their hair color, stature, their weight or something they are wearing. You may or may not have success. Yet when you use a photograph, everything is much clearer; you have to say very little. Paul wants us to know God in this sort of way. His prayer for the church at Ephesus, churches throughout Asia minor and churches throughout the world is that they would have a coherent picture of God. Some say that a picture is worth a thousand words. This sort of unambiguous understanding of God is crucial for a healthy church.
Certainly, God is mysterious. It is impossible to know everything about him. Yet, at the same time, Paul prays that our hearts would be illuminated. He prays that we would begin to fathom God’s wonderful work in the world. May we know God in this sort of way. May the eyes of our heart have 20/20 vision.