Category Archives: Ephesians

Reflecting on Ephesians for the Fourth Sunday of Lent

From Ephesians by Peter S. Williamson, commenting on Ephesians 2:4-6:

After succinctly describing humanity’s desperate predicament, Paul bursts out with a declaration of the good news, beginning with the hopeful words, But God. God has not left us in our misery. God saw the situation of the human race, much as Exod 2:23–25 tells us he saw the plight of his people Israel enslaved in Egypt and acted to save them. Paul describes what kind of God this is: he is rich in mercy. Mercy, eleos, refers to the good will and kindness that seeks to help someone who is in trouble or need.

God’s motive for acting was his desire for our welfare: he acted because of the great love he had for us. The Greek is more forceful, using the word for “love” both in its noun and verb forms: “because of his great love with which he loved us.” Love (agapē) refers to cherishing and caring in a self-giving, disinterested way. To make plain that we did not deserve this love, Paul indicates that God loved us even when we were dead in our transgressions. This line recalls Rom 5:8, where Paul says that “God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”

© 2009 Peter S. Williamson and Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

 

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Reflecting on Ephesians for the Fourth Sunday of Lent

From Ephesians by Peter S. Williamson, commenting on Ephesians 5:11-14:

Paul expects that when Christians confront immorality, whether by shining the light of Christian witness before the world, by gently reproving a brother or sister, or by openly censuring public wrongdoing, the situation will change: but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light. In other words, whatever light shines on becomes illuminated, enlightened. Paul hopes for the conversion of people who are in darkness as a result of the light of Christ shining through Christians.

Of course, things do not always work out this way. Jesus, the perfect light, let his light shine by word and example. Some people received the light and became light; others rejected the light (John 1:9–11; 3:19–21). As followers of Jesus, we can expect the same mixed response to our testimony. However, we can be sure that if we want to overcome darkness, we need to turn on a light.

© 2010 Peter S. Williamson and Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

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Filed under Ephesians, From the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture, Lectionary, Peter Williamson