Weds 19th July - Ephesians 3:1-13
Meditation on Ephesians 3:1-13
3 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles -
2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 8 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.
Another ‘wow’ factor as we continue to climb to the summit.
Paul links the first two chapters as he reminds us of all he has so far written – ‘for this reason’ takes us back to those chapters.
He reminds us that he is in prison – cf v.1 ‘I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus…’ and 4:1 ‘As a prisoner for the Lord…’
Surely, languishing in a Roman jail is not conducive to writing such a letter. However, we know that Paul used any and every circumstance to proclaim the gospel and to encourage fellow-Christians. He was in Rome, under house arrest and for two years he welcomed people to his ‘home’ as Acts 28:30-31 tells us: ‘For two whole years Paul stayed in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ – with all boldness and without hindrance.’
We know, from other references, about Paul being in prison – e.g. Acts 23:18; 2 Timothy 1:8; Philemon verses 1,9 and 23.
God is able to use different circumstances to bring blessings. We read in Acts 16 of another time when Paul was in prison with Silas and the Philippian jailer and his family were converted and baptised following the earthquake.
After the introductory sentence Paul pauses for a while to remind us of God’s purposes and plans for the salvation of Jews and Gentiles. v.2 ‘surely you have heard…’
He then refers to ‘the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly.’ v.3
A ‘mystery’ has the idea of something dark, obscure, secret, puzzling, incomprehensible or inexplicable.
But, in Paul’s case, as John Stott explains, it refers to ‘a truth hitherto hidden from human knowledge or understanding but now disclosed by the revelation of God’.
As we read our Bibles these ‘mysteries’ or ‘secrets’ become an ‘open secret’.
The focus of this revelation is Christ – v.4 ‘the mystery of Christ.’ In Colossians 1:27 Paul expands on this, when he says, ‘to them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.’
The channel of this revelation is the Holy Spirit.
The authority of this revelation are the ‘apo