So full and fair disclosure: I’m teaching a week behind what I’m preaching which is often written a week in advance. That is, I taught Ephesians 2:1-10 this morning, then preached (praught?) Ephesians 2:11-22, but I’ve been writing on Ephesians 3:1-13 this last week (and hope to finish it today).
Anyhow, with all these i’s dotted and crossed, let’s talk about how Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, which was none of the three, has a section in which the author pulls big Pauline identity markers to… well, to do what?
Paul’s a prisoner for/of Jesus Christ for the sake of the Gentiles. Paul is divinely commissioned, had the mystery revealed by revelation, and joins the lineage of prophets and apostles, “so that through the Church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenlies.” So this writer is putting a lot of Paul forward to boost up the work of the Church?
I get it, I do–Ephesians is considered the most ecclesial writing in the New Testament–one could read earlier chapters of Ephesians and legitimately ask if the author meant the church was to fill up the universe! And Paul’s ministry… excuse me, “Paul’s” mission is to remind the Church they’re good enough. That it’s not a mistake, or an accident, or a one-off that Christ is working through them.
And I like that. We suffer, but it is for glory.