Summary and Conclusion
We have looked with fresh eyes at this passage in Ephesians 5, conclusions I’m still learning to understand. Yet at this point in my journey, I notice the profound desire of God’s heart for all followers of the Messiah to submit one to another, even in marriage. I know it’s daring and often culturally unacceptable, especially my evangelical tradition. And I know it takes courage.
Yet Paul shows us what this mutual submission looks like. Using the metaphor of the head and body, Paul paints for us a picture that is easily overlooked with a dead metaphor. In that picture we see the Messiah as the Savior of life for the body of the church. The wife is to submit to that kind of life in vulnerability. The husband is also to offer his life, seen through vivid pictures of the Savior’s love to the church in love, washing our feet, laying down his life, submitting to the cross to bear our sin. The husband offers his life in the everyday things, even to the point of death, so that his wife may flourish. In so doing, both husband and wife ultimately receive life and guidance as one flesh from their spiritual authority and mediator, Jesus Christ.
The mystery of submission in marriage is one with continual deferment to one another, in humility and respect and honor and love. Neither the husband is independent of his wife nor the wife of her husband (1 Cor 11:11). The Messiah is their ultimate fountain of life and goodness. And as they draw on him, out of reverence for him, they submit to one another. I’m learning more every day how to press into this mystery and how broad love goes. This mystery is revealed in Jesus, and we are invited to walk into it.
Thanks for your patience in reading this series. All comments welcome!