We often hear about the power of God, of His greatness and how we can rely on it to get us through difficult trials such as a job loss, a sticky divorce, bankruptcy, hateful persecutions, sufferings through a debilitating illness or loss of a loved one. So, we ask, just how powerful and great is God? And, more importantly, how can we rely on the power of God? The apostle Paul gives us a glimpse of this power in his letter to the Ephesians:
“And what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:19-20, NASB). The Greek word translated “greatness” is megethos which means “strong” or “great,” and it appears only here in the New Testament. This word obviously wasn’t sufficient for Paul to express God’s great power, so he adds the word “surpassing” or huperballo, which in the Greek literally means to “throw beyond the usual mark” or to “excel or surpass.” So, the full idea of the expression huperballo megethos is a power that is beyond measure, superabounding or surpassing power, power that is “more than enough.”
Greek authorities tell us that because this term megethos is found only here in all the New Testament, this reflects the outreach of Paul’s mind when he sought to describe this power of God, his attempt at “stretching at the seams” as he tries to pour more meaning into these words. What Paul is really telling us is that God’s power exceeds or surpasses everything. The God who not only spoke the universe into existence, but who raised Jesus from the dead, and who “put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church” (Ephesians 1:22, NASB), has power far beyond any possibility of being measured. Paul simply could not say enough about the greatness and majesty of God, and even using language as exact as Greek, he still had difficulty finding the words to express his thoughts.
So, how can we rely on such enormous power of God? First of all, the resurrection of Jesus is the great hope of all believers. Because He lives, we will live also (John 14:19). Peter said we have been “born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away” (1 Peter 1:3-4, NASB). We and what we have are protected by God’s power (verse 5). No matter how weak or ill-equipped we may at times feel, we have the assurance that God “is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us” (Ephesians 3:20, NASB). Most importantly, we have the faith He has given us (Ephesians 2:8-9) to strive according to that power (Colossians 1:29), and we do so with the confidence that ultimately God will accomplish His good in our lives. We have this powerful affirmation from Paul: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28, NASB).
Finally, we remember the promises of Christ Himself in regard to the incredible power of prayer: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8, NASB).