Ephesians 3:1–12 – This is the reason that I Paul am a prisoner for Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— 2 for surely you have already heard of the commission of God’s grace that was given me for you, 3 and how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I wrote above in a few words, 4 a reading of which will enable you to perceive my understanding of the mystery of Christ. 5 In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: 6 that is, the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 7 Of this gospel I have become a servant according to the gift of God’s grace that was given me by the working of his power. 8 Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, 9 and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; 10 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 heavenly places. 11 This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him.
Summary – Paul makes plain to his audience that those who were not born as Jews physically, through Christ are now made part of one and the same body. As spiritual “Jews,” Gentiles in Christ inherit the same promises as physical Jews because of the Gospel. Paul had the responsibility and privilege of bringing this truth to light which was previously hidden. Though it was “hidden,” there were many, many hints throughout the Old Testament, not the least of which is the face that the Davidic (and thus Messianic line) was passed through Tamar, probably a Canaanite woman, as well as Rahab (a Canaanite prostitute) and Ruth (a Moabite). Inclusion of non-Jews was always God’s plan, but now, using Paul, this mystery was unveiled in its full glory! This was to show God’s wisdom and instill confidence in His plans. When the Gentile magi visited Christ, the Light of the World, the blessing of the Gospel to the whole world whether Jew or Gentile began to become clear.
Insight – Have you ever “house-sat”? One of your friends goes on vacation and wants someone to watch their house for them while they’re away. You’re given full run of the house, and it’s as if you live there. Even though you are not actually the person the deed of the house was given to, you can use the house just as if you were the owner. It is like that with the house of God. God gave the “key” to His “house” or His “people” to the Jews, the sons of Abraham. But when Christ came, He spread out the use of the key to both Jews AND Gentiles so that they could all freely come in and be a part of the House of God. We are all now equal tenants, receiving of the same benefits and blessings!
Child Catechism – What kinds of people does God accepts? All people, Jew or Gentile.
Discussion – List some other “hints” that Gentiles were to be included in the people of God. Why does Paul say this truth was “hidden” before, if we see clear hints that God’s purpose was to include all peoples?
Prayer – Father, in this Epiphany week we thank you that in your wisdom you gave to us the revelation of your Only Son, that through Him we would become recipients of your promised Spirit through faith. Fill us with joy and thankfulness this day, that your Gospel would go forth into the world, drawing in even more Gentiles into your house. In Your Name we ask it, Amen.