Verse: Ephesians 3:14-15
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.
For what reason? Paul has said “for this reason” twice now. In verse 1 and again here. If you read it all through together, you can tell that verses 2-13 are kind of an aside, a pause in his main thought. He is coming out of chapter 2 and saying “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—”and then he gets kind of sidetracked. But he comes back to it here in verse 14.
So, for what reason? You have to look back to chapter 2. The reason is the fact that Gentiles are now a part of this community of Jewish Jesus followers. Jesus has made a way by GRACE, not through Jewish law observance, to find salvation. And he has made it available to all people of all kinds. This is a piece of the “good news” that they are to preach to the ends of the earth.
For that reason – that all people can find salvation in Jesus – is why he bows before God in prayer. He is praying for the Gentile believers to truly know God in his power and love (see devotions tomorrow and the next day!).
In all of this it seems he is trying to convince everyone – Jew and Gentile – to see each other as brothers and sisters. To recognize that we are part of a new family. A family that supersedes all our earthly alliances. Being part of God’s family is more important than our membership in our earthly family, more important that our nationality, more important than our political party, more important than our ethnicity, and more important that our ideologies. Before we are American, or Republican, or Democrat, or conservative or progressive – we are Christians. Our membership in the Kingdom of God comes before all other memberships, and more importantly, defines how we interact within those other memberships.
One more thing. Notice the second line: “from whom every family in heaven and earth derives its name.” This is the picture of heaven here. All families, under one name. The apostle John wrote in Revelation 7:9 a similar vision: “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.”
Is it any wonder that Paul is praying? We wants all kinds of people to … wait for it … get along? And more than that, to treat each other like family! Yes, it seems hard to believe, but this is the high call of the church. And when we are doing it right this is what we should look like. People of all stripes coming together under the common banner of faith in our Lord Jesus. This is a picture of heaven, for sure, but it is also a glimpse of what the church can look like. We are, after all, commanded to pray for heaven to come to earth (Matthew 6:9).
So can this become our prayer too? Can we join Paul in praying (and acting of course) to bring unity in the church, and build that wonderfully diverse family that Paul and John both envision? I’d love to be part of that happening at CityLight. But God’s grace, we will see this more and more as we become more and more like him.
God I pray that your vision for the family of God would catch my imagination and fill my prayers.