It's so easy to miss.
But then the apostle Paul slips this in:
"This is a profound mystery--but I am talking about Christ and the church."
This year I am thankful that when Jesus was praying right before he was crucified (John 17), he prayed for the church. Here's how he prayed to his heavenly Father:
...that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.
...not that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one.
...Sanctify them (make them distinct from the world) by the truth; your word is truth.
...that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
...Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
I have sensed his invitation to me this week to join him there and allow him to make his prayer my own.
I love how Paul reflects on what Christ's sacrifice meant for the church in Ephesians 5:
...Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. The church submits to Christ.
...Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
...he feeds and cares for the church, for we are members of his body.
Amen. Make it so, Lord Jesus. In your greater church. In my church.