Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ephesians 3:14-15

14For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom His whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.

Paul returns to his prayer now. The common way for Jews to pray was standing up (think of the Pharisee and the tax collector in the Temple or leaders from the pulpit); but he kneels before God, showing reverence, humility, and urgency (think of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane). And he says, “For this reason.” For what reason does Paul pray? Paul prays, because he is overwhelmed by God’s eternal plan, laid out prayerfully in Ephesians 1, and explained in more detail in Ephesians 2 and 3. Paul has seen the work of God not only in his own life, but also in the lives of both Jews and Gentiles through the Roman Empire. He’s amazed by God, and so he prays. He’s compelled to pray, and he longs to pray. Paul is overflowing with grace and love, and so he prays. God’s wisdom and power and sovereignty motivate Paul to pray. It’s a fervent and urgent prayer that Paul offers to God. Why do you pray? Is it because you are overflowing with grace and love? Is it because you are overwhelmed by the wisdom and power and sovereignty and goodness and love of God? Let it be so!

Another noteworthy remark is made in v15. Paul is saying, “When I pray, I pray to our Father in heaven.” He wasn’t there when Jesus taught the disciples to pray, but you know that he heard about it from them. Paul is saying that all creation, earthly beings and heavenly beings, are equally under the headship of their Father’s sovereignty. God is to be feared, but He is “Daddy” at the same time; and He is Daddy for the Church Militant and the Church Triumphant, for humans on earth and every spiritual being in the heavens. That’s the God of Paul, and He’s our God. This statement, though translated with difficulty, echoes the context Paul set in v10. Though certain dominion is given to certain creatures, all fall back on the sovereign dominion of God the Father, thus the importance of the derivation of a name. Having the authority to name a creature is an ultimate authority (Consider Adam in the garden of Eden prior to the fall). God names His people (especially consider the Old Testament patriarchs, Simon/Peter and Saul/Paul). He has named us Christians, followers of Christ, the Son of God. Thus we are kinsmen, sons of the living God, along with all creatures in heaven and on earth.

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