SHARING THE SAME DNA
Lord, thank You for grace given to Gentiles
Read EPHESIANS 3:1–13
God’s Marvelous Plan for the Gentiles
3 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—
2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 8 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Help us, O Lord, to see all the people of Your world through the eyes of You who created them in Your image.
Does the opening of this reading hint that Paul is on death row, conscious that this may be his last letter? He worries about its reception. Will readers know who he is? This matters to Paul, especially in a letter which might be received after his death. Paul’s authority, indeed his right to say anything at all, is unalterably tied to his Damascus-road experience, his encounter with the living Jesus, which made him an apostle (Acts 9:1–19). Otherwise, he is an imposter. In that blinding light of revelation and in the darkness that followed, God revealed a ‘mystery’ to Paul (3) – although it was foretold already in his Hebrew Scriptures (Gen 22:18; Isa 49:6). This revelation is that Jews and Gentiles are equal in the sight of God, ‘heirs together’ of the ancient promises, sharing equally in all that Jesus has done for humankind, all of us ‘members together of one body’ (6).
I called my book on Christian missions in Aboriginal Australia One Blood, from the old wording in Acts (Acts 17:26, KJV), a much more powerful image than modern English translations. This verse inspired early missionaries when white settlers claimed that black people were below white people: God has made all human beings of ‘one blood’. There is something powerfully visceral about this. We are blood sisters and brothers to all humankind. All who physically share human DNA are also formed spiritually in the image of God. Jesus died and rose again for all who share God’s image. Once more, the inspired words lift heart and mind to a cosmic level. The physical and moral universes shimmer in Paul’s mind. This had always been the intention of our Creator God. The redemption of Jew and Gentile, of all human beings, was an ‘eternal purpose’ (11), finally fulfilled in what Jesus has done.
‘God that made the world and all things therein … hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth’ (Acts 17:24,26, KJV)
Lord, we who are saved benefit from Your eternal purpose which was formed before the world began. We thank You for our inclusion in this purpose.
Book and Author Intros
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.