“I am an ambassador in chains”.
Eph 6:20 NIV
Ambassadors are important people. They live in one country but represent the king or government of their home country. And to be an ambassador in a really important country is a big honour.
Paul saw himself as Christ’s ambassador, duly accredited to represent his Lord at the imperial court in Rome, the capital of the Empire. With such restrictions and in such a place he might well have felt overawed or fearful to be himself and witness to the gospel. “On the contrary he was proud to be Christ’s ambassador, even if he was experiencing the anomaly of being an ‘ambassador in chains’. It is possible even that he plays on this paradox. The term ‘chain’ signifies among other things the (golden) adornment worn around the neck and wrists by rich ladies and high ranking men. On festive occasions ambassadors wear such chains in order to reveal the riches, power and dignity of the government they represent. Because Paul serves Christ crucified, he considers the painful iron chains as most appropriate insignia for the representation of his Lord. What concerns Paul most, however, is not that his wrist may be unchained, but that his mouth may be opened in testimony; not that he may be set free, but that the gospel may be spread freely and without hindrance. It is for this, then, that he prays and asks the Ephesians to pray too. Against such prayer the principalities and powers are helpless” (J. Stott, The Message of Ephesians, p287).
The Christian community corporately is Christ’s ambassador in the world today – not just bishops and preachers. It should rejoice where it can convey the message of Christ and by words and deeds make Christ known.
PRAYER THOUGHT Lord, let us be your ambassador today.