14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
Reflection On This Scripture
In today’s passage, Paul returns to where he left off in verse 1- his second prayer for the Ephesian church in this letter. “For this reason” Paul is referring back to the truth of being one in Christ, revealed in chapter 2:11–22. God’s plan of redemption through faith in Jesus Christ causes Paul to begin to intercede for the Ephesian Church.
We as humans are wired with the ability to remember and give expression to what we remember. As a little boy growing up, my father would take my brother and I outside to play football, baseball or basketball. While he cheated most of the time to beat us, he said he had to cheat because one day he wouldn’t be able to compete with us. I always remember the fun we had and I expressed this by telling him how much I loved him. This is what we see happening here. Paul is considering the wonder of the cross and the worldwide effect it is having, and responds in the only appropriate way: ”I bow my knees before the Father.”. For a first century Jew or even the Roman soldiers who would have been keeping watch over Paul while in prison, bowing would have been weird. First century Jewish men would have prayed standing, not bowing, and imagine the Roman soldiers who were probably thinking this man is bowing to a God who let him get arrested. But the posture is not as important as the attitude! God is not interested in the physical posture with which we pray. He is interested with the posture of our heart in prayer. Paul comes before the Father in humble adoration understanding that it is He who is over all creation. So whether in prison or out on another missionary journey, Paul’s heart was steadfast because his hope was anchored in the truth of the gospel, not his circumstance.
Paul takes it one step further when he says, “From whom every family in heaven and on earth is named”. Paul is shifting our focus to the truth that God is sovereign over all creation. When I was born, I was named by my father and mother because they have parental authority over my life. Can you imagine if a complete stranger would have walked into the delivery room and tried to give me a name? I am sure my father would have taken care of business with that man and gave me the name he wanted me to bear. That is what happens at the cross! God took care of business and now gives His children a new name and new identity. You are no longer who you used to be! Your new identity is from your Father in heaven (holy and blameless), and the only appropriate response is to bow your heart in complete awe of the one who wouldn’t hold back His best to show you His glory.
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