Lectionary Year B
August 24, 2003
Step III: Immediate Context
(DH) A. IMMEDIATE CONTEXT
Ephesians 6:10-20 concludes an entire series of exhortations, starting in
chapter 4. It appears to be the last link of a chain, which is indicated
by "finally" (tou loipou - v.10).
This pericope is concerned with the relationship between slaves and
masters. According to the writer, slaves owe the same obedience with fear
and trembling to the earthly masters, as they owe Christ. It is an
obedience of singleness of heart that comes from the heart and is rendered
even if nobody watches. Thus, being obedient has everything to do with
living as slaves of Christ, doing the bidding of the Master, i.e. the will
of God. The good we do, then, will not be rewarded by humans, but by God.
But service to earthly masters is not a one-way street Earthly masters are
to treat their slaves with respect, without threats, because slaves and
master alike have only one Master in heaven. And this Master does not
regard earthly hierarchy as anything special. This Master is impartial.
The writer of Ephesians alludes to a certain Tychius who will vouch for the
writer's credentials and work. In return, the writer identifies Tychius as
a "dear brother and a faithful minister in the Lord (v.21)." This minister
has a twofold task: he is messenger as well as encourager. The writer,
then, concludes with a benediction.
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