Lectionary Year B
July 27, 2003
Ephesians 3:14-21

Step III: Immediate Context


Pre: 3:7-13:
Paul has become "a servant" (Gr. - diakonos) of the Gospel by the grace of God, which is a gift (v. 7). He knows that he does not deserve this gift (v. 8), that he is the "very least of all the saints." [However, he does appear to believe that he is one of the saints!] And he also appears to know that he is not supposed to keep this gift for himself but in order to "bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ (v. 8)," to open eyes that were shut in order to recognize the Creator's plan for all creation which was hidden for a long time (v. 9). This, according to the writer of Ephesians, is a mystery. And once he has handed on this mystery, the church, now, has the task of making God's wisdom known to "to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places (v. 10)." [Are these heavenly places on earth, or are they in heaven?] This is God's eternal decree, a decree which is already carried out in Jesus Christ (v. 11). Through Christ, then, believers have access to God through faith (v. 12). Christ is the Mediator between creature and Creator. All that a "called one" is supposed to do, according to "Paul," is to glorify God and those to whom s/he is appointed as "diakonos," and him/herself.

Post: 4:1-6:
In this situation, Paul is a "prisoner in the Lord (v. 1)." As such, under this authority, he begs the ones who are called to "lead a life worthy of [their] calling." He, then, launches into a series of exhortations in which he specifies what he understands to be a life worthy of God's calling: it is a life lived in "humility and gentleness, ... patience, [and] bearing with one another in love (v. 2)." One should make "every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (v. 3)," because there is only one body, one, Spirit, one baptism, and one Father of all (v. 4-6) who is "above all and through all and in all (v. 6)."

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