The notes this week have been provided by Bill and our passage today is Colossians 1:24-2:5.
Paul often shared personal information with his readers. It probably helped them to relate to him in a personal way, to see how he lived out the Christian life, to see the sufferings he endured in fulfilling his ministry and to pray for him. His wasn’t the attitude of the British “stiff upper lip” but genuine sharing of himself with his Christian brothers and sisters. Here we have one of those occasions.
Paul was suffering in prison, where he was in chains 4v3. The suffering which Jesus endured when he made a way of salvation was and is final and complete. But the rejection and persecution continues, after all Jesus said, “No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” John 15.20
Paul writes about his commission from God. He was entrusted with the message of Christ, especially to the Gentiles such as at Colossae. In previous ages it had been under wraps, but now the mystery has been made known by God to the believers.
Paul also writes about the energy and methods he used to do what God had sent him to do. He preached, he challenged and he worked hard with the strength God gave him to fulfil his commission. What is remarkable is that Paul’s focus, even when telling his own story, is on Christ not on himself. In 1v27 his ministry is to reveal to Gentile believers that Christ is in them. In 1v28,29 he says he is striving to present them perfect in Christ. In 2v2,3 he wants the Colossians to know Christ.
For us today Paul’s focus is a healthy correction to the culture around us which places a high priority on putting “self” first, pampering, entertaining and looking after me. Paul was focussed on the Colossians growing in Christ
In today’s passage there is the first hint in the letter (2v4) of false teachers troubling the church at Colossae. But more of that another day.
Paul explains that Jesus, Son of God, maker of all things and head of the Church, is in all who truly trust in him. Their destiny is to be perfect in Christ, or as Paul puts it elsewhere, conformed to the image of God’s Son. Paul’s purpose is for them (and for us) to grow in their understanding of the wisdom and the knowledge of Christ.