Remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and being without God in the world.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father.
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.
I will hear what the Lord God has to say,
a voice that speaks of peace.
His help is near for those who fear him
and his glory will dwell in our land. (R./)
Mercy and faithfulness have met;
justice and peace have embraced.
Faithfulness shall spring from the earth
and justice look down from heaven. (R./)
The Lord will make us prosper
and our earth shall yield its fruit.
Justice shall march before him
and peace shall follow his steps. (R./)
Jesus said, "Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves."
When he wrote his gospel, some time in the 80's of the first century, Luke's readers were no longer excitedly waiting for Jesus to return in glory very soon. Expecting the end was not keeping them awake at night! As in his version of the Our Father, Luke is more conscious of the daily presence of Jesus in our neighbour and in events. Still some sense of waiting is urged on us, to be ready to open the door (our lives) whenever Jesus comes knocking. The Lord in person is near us every day.
As part of his parable, Jesus overturns convention about the about relationship between authority and service. Normally, when the owner comes home, his servants wait on him. But here the reverse happens: The master gets the servants to sit at table, and serves them supper! If we serve God faithfully it is we who reap the reward. When we try to be of service to others, it is good for us too.
Ephesians offers a broad, mystical vision of the working of God's grace. By this grace our lives, like Christ's, become a living sacrifice. Our bodies become a "temple,.. a dwelling place for God in the Spirit."This grace includes knowing that we are family to all who share our faith. "You are strangers and aliens no longer. You are fellow citizens of the saints and members of God's household."
Imagine the head of the house putting on an apron, getting the staff to sit at the dinner table and serving the meal to them. This would be most unusual either then or now. It brings to mind the scene in John's gospel where Jesus wraps a towel round his waist and washes the feet of his disciples. It appears that he wants to serve us, wants to be our servant. Normally, the roles of boss and servant are poles apart, but in Jesus they are combined.
The master's act of service is a reward for the staff's faithfulness to duty. He wants us to be equally faithful, and be ready to open the door when he knocks. There is a saying of Jesus in the Book of Revelation, "behold, I stand at the door and knock." It makes us thing that perhaps he is always knocking at the door of our lives, giving us a chance to welcome him. If we respond to his knock, he assures us that his reward will be well worthwhile