Missionary to The Gentiles

One’s point of view makes all the difference in the world. There is a famous story of the days when Sir Christopher Wren was building St. Paul’s Cathedral. On one occasion he was making a tour of the work in progress. He came upon a man at work and asked him: “What are y … More

Prison

Paul starts out this chapter by saying “I am a prisoner of the Lord so that I can help you Gentiles” (vv. 1-3). It is striking that nowhere does he ever refer to himself as a prisoner of Caesar. Would that we had the faith of this mighty apostle who understood so clearly (while in chains) that Caesar was not in control but that Jesus is. He goes on to say that when you read this you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ (vv. 4-6).

This mystery was never disclosed to human beings in past generations as it was now being revealed to His messengers and prophets by the Holy Spirit. In order to understand this part of Paul’s letter we must remember that Paul, a Jew was an apostle primarily to the Gentiles. For many years there had been hostility between the Jews and Gentiles. Paul was God’s chosen instrument to publish the fact that Gentiles were not second-class citizens of heaven.

Over the years many Christians have been imprisoned for their faith. In fact as the Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the Ephesians, he did so from a Roman prison as he was chained  to a guard. He was a prisoner because he believed in God’s program of uniting believing Jews and Gentiles into one body, the Church. Because he was an “apostle to the Gentiles” he was accused of being prejudiced against the Jews. Thousands of Jews had accepted Jesus Christ as their true Messiah, but they were still “zealous for the law” especially believing that the rite of circumcision was to be a part of their religious experience. It was some of these Jews who caused bad feelings against Paul in Jerusalem. The result was that the people seized him and would have beaten him to death if the Roman soldiers had not stepped in.

Application

When I am undergoing hardship, unpopularity, or material loss for the sake of Christian principles I may either regard myself as the victim of men or as a champion for Christ.

Ephesians 3:1-6 (English Standard Version)


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