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Sample Devotion: Surpassing Knowledge

Tim Chester | January 28th 2021

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)

In today’s prayer, Charles Spurgeon marshals all his considerable powers of oratory to express the love of Christ. He tries to quantify Christ’s love by measuring the distance between what he came from and what he came to: “from the height of majesty in glory to the depths of shame on earth”. But Spurgeon, like Paul in Ephesians 3, readily admits that describing Christ’s love cannot be done. Yet, even though Christ’s love is something that “surpasses knowledge”, Paul still prays that his readers might “know this love”.

We will never bottom out Christ’s boundless love. But we need to see more and more of his love. Every time we sin, we need to appreciate afresh this love that welcomes sinners. Every time we suffer, we need to appreciate afresh this love that mysteriously works all things for our good. Every time we face temptation, we need to appreciate afresh this love that captures our hearts.

“Your love, O Christ,

in its sweetness,

its fulness,

its greatness,

its faithfulness

surpasses all human comprehension.

Where shall language be found

which shall describe

your matchless love,

your unparalleled love,

towards the children of men?

Your love is so vast and boundless

that, as the swallow skims the water

without diving into its depths,

so all descriptive words

merely touch the surface of your love,

while depths immeasurable lie beneath.

For your love took you

from the height of majesty in glory

to the depths of shame on earth.

Who, Lord Jesus, can tell of your majesty?

When you were enthroned in the highest heavens,

you were very God of very God.

By you were the heavens made

and all the hosts within them.

Your own almighty arm upheld the spheres.

The praises of cherubim and seraphim

perpetually surrounded you.

The full chorus of the hallelujahs of the universe

unceasingly flowed to the foot of your throne.

You reigned supreme above all your creatures,

God over all, blessed for ever.

Who can tell the height of your glory?


And who can tell how low you descended?

To become a man was something;

to become a man of sorrows was far more;

to bleed, and die, and suffer—

these were much for you, who were the Son of God.

But to suffer such unparalleled agony—

to endure a death of shame

and desertion by your Father—

this is a depth of condescending love.

The most inspired mind

must utterly fail to fathom this love.

Here is love!

And truly it is love

that surpasses knowledge.

Oh, let this love fill our hearts with adoring gratitude

and lead us to practical manifestations of its power.”

-Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)


This is an extract from Tim Chester's newest book is An Ocean of Grace: A Journey to Easter with Great Voices From the Past, a collection of devotions and prayers for Lent from writers across church history. 

Tim Chester

Tim Chester is a pastor, author and teacher. Tim is a faculty member of Crosslands Training and has written and contributed to over 40 books. He has a PhD in theology and was previously Research and Policy Director for Tearfund UK. Tim is a trustee of Keswick Ministries, and lectures and teaches widely on Missiology and Christian spirituality. Tim lives with his wife Helen in rural Derbyshire and loves to walk. He has two adult daughters.

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