Lectionary Year B
July 30, 2000
Step III: Immediate Context
(DH) A. IMMEDIATE CONTEXT
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.
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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