Ephesians 3:1: ‘Paul, a prisoner’
At Bible college during one of the chapel services a pastor by the name of Bill Hughes shared with us. He was a very godly man who was serving in a church that wanted to fire him because of His Calvinistic convictions. It was a long a painful process that ended in him resigning to save the church from a split. During the long and painful time of enduring the difficulties Bill struggled to find a reason to get out of bed being extremely demotivated by the ordeal. But he had a faithful wife who put a sign on the bedroom wall that he would see each day giving him a reason to go out and serve that day. The sign had four words, For Him, For them. For God and for His people, this is the very reason why a minister gets up in the morning. And as we come to Ephesians 3:1, this is what we see motivated Paul as well, ‘For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles—.’
We have been going through Ephesians very quickly doing massive chunks of it, we are going to slow down now. In the context Paul has been rehearsing the amazing salvation that God has wrought. He has spoken about the double alienation of being separated both from God and His people, and in Christ the double reconciliation to God and to become a part of the people of God. In Ephesians chapter 3 Paul was going to go from v1 to verse 14. He wanted to explain why and what he is prying for them. But at the mention of the fact that Paul is a prisoner for the Gentiles he feels he may need to explain to those who are unfamiliar with him in Ephesus why he a Jew is a willing prisoner in service to the Gentiles. So v2-13 is a quick explanation of his calling and ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles.
Today we want to look into Paul’s motivations and the history of the events that led to Paul’s imprisonment. In a day when we are told that we should get up in the mornings for ourselves, to love ourselves, and get busy with our self-help projects, while we are being kind to ourselves, ensuring that we have safe spaces where I can be me, protecting my me-time, carving out legal and ideological place for me to reinvent myself contrary to my biological sex. A look at a gospel driven heart living for God and others is a tonic in an age that has deified itself.