Although Paul is referring to himself, these attributes or characteristics should be found in all Christians. Ephesians is one of the four so-called “Prison Epistles,” Philippians, Colossians and Philemon being the other three. It is God’s will that every Christian be a missionary, sharing the gospel where he or she resides, whether at home or abroad. All of us need to testify to the grace of Jesus. We must always seek to be in the will of God.
In Eph. 3:1 Paul refers to himself as the prisoner of Christ. Although he was a prisoner of the Roman emperor, he does not designate himself as such. It was the will of Christ that took Paul to prison. Paul did not view this imprisonment as a hindrance or a stumbling block to his ministry. Rather he saw his many imprisonments as opportunities to reach the lost with the gospel and strengthen the saved. They could chain Paul but not his message (Eph. 6:20; 2 Tim. 2:9).
The most important thing to Paul was not his safety but he saw it as a mission for the King. We sing the song, “I came on business for the king.” Christians are to be heralds for our king, proclaiming the good news where ever we are, whether free or in chains. Paul would have been chained to a Roman soldier and had a captive audience. We read in the word of God that many came to the Lord, even those of the Praetorian Guard and those of Caesar’s household.
In Eph. 3:13 we read of the loving pastoral heart of Paul. He is the one in prison but he appears to want to set his readers minds at ease. Paul does not want the church to be disheartened; he wants them to see that his sufferings are a part of God’s glorious plan.
-Larry Miles, August 15, 2015
Camp Cilca, IL