Ephesians 3

1 I think of all this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the benefit of you Gentiles . . . 2 assuming, by the way, that you know God gave me the special responsibility of extending his grace to you Gentiles.

Paul is succeeding in spreading the Gospel because God is taking advantage of this time in world history. In the first century, the Roman authorities require people of all faiths to pay homage to Rome by offering sacrifice to the Emperor. This religious act is to show allegiance to Rome. Jewish people wouldn’t be able to do this because this would directly violate God’s ways. But for various reasons, Jews are given a special exemption and are not required to sacrifice to the Emperor.

Since the earliest Christians are still considered Jews by the Romans, they can travel and teach without trouble. Therefore the earliest Church blossoms. Then there is trouble.

The Christians are not accepted by the Jewish establishment. The Christians are persecuted by the Jewish authorities to the point that the Romans realize there is a split. If the Christians aren’t Jewish, then there will be no exemption from Emperor worship. The Christian faith is outlawed and leaders, like Paul, are imprisoned. Yet, Paul doesn’t get thrown into prison right away. Because, he is also a Roman citizen, he has rights others do not have. And even in prison he is able to write letters and receive news, unlike other prisoners who aren’t citizens of Rome. This isn’t his first time writing.


What is an advantage you have in how God has wired you or the circumstances you find yourself in that make it more likely for you to be a good influence on others?