Ephesians 3:1-5

In Ephesians 3:1-5 Paul is preparing to reveal the mystery that God has revealed to him. During his Roman imprisonment Paul was under house arrest. In the day he was free to move around the house with the supervision of soldiers, but every night he was chained to a soldier to make sure he did not escape before his trial before Caesar. “For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly.”

Paul saw himself as the prisoner of Jesus Christ, serving a sentence on behalf of Gentiles. He knew that Jesus was the Lord of his life, not the Roman government, so if he was a prisoner, he was Jesus’ prisoner. The entire reason he was under arrest and awaiting trial was because of his missionary efforts on behalf of the Gentiles. He was suffering because of the truth he was teaching to the church at Ephesus – that the Gospel was for all mankind whether Jew or Gentile. Paul wasn’t asking for sympathy at all. In fact, he wanted the people in Ephesus to realize it was a benefit to them that he was a prisoner.

Paul knew his particular calling to the Gentile world was well known among Gentile Christians. And he knew the Gentiles would also be reading this letter. Paul is revealing the strategy for God’s plan for the church. Paul wanted them to know, “I’m not making this up. This isn’t my invention. God gave me the revelation and I am only His messenger of this truth.” It cost Paul a lot to hold on to this mystery. “When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.”

Stott writes “In English a ‘mystery’ is something dark, obscure, secret, puzzling. What is ‘mysterious’ is inexplicable, even incomprehensible. The Greek word mysterion is different, however. Although still a ‘secret’, it is no longer closely guarded but open… More simply, mysterion is a truth hitherto hidden from human knowledge or understanding but now disclosed by the revelation of God.” God used Paul to declare specifically how Jews and Gentiles would be brought together in one body of Christ. This was something hinted at through other writers of scripture, but only specifically detailed through Paul’s revelation. Paul trusted that his readers would understand what God revealed to him.

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