The Supremacy of Christ
To the west of modern day Turkey lie the ruins of the small city of Colossae. Written just after Jesus's death and resurrection and at the time of the explosion and expansion of the early church the letter to the Colossians speaks to a group of fired up evangelists and calls them to a life of holiness. Written by the apostle Paul from a jail cell and only four chapters long, this book born of limitations teaches us about the greatness, authority and power of the risen Christ.
1. Tensions and Growth
Paul, the author of Colossians, rejoices in his suffering. He sets an exceptional example, and urges the people in Colossae to do the same. 'So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness' Colossians 2:6-7.
False teachers had suggested that the Colossians would progress as Christians if they kept certain Jewish rituals such as food taboos and observing special days. Unhelpful humans had brought in rules and rituals rather than teaching the grace and freedom Christ has bought for us. Today we too struggle with freedom, but in different ways. Culturally we think freedom is being able to do what we want when we want. As we read this passage we learn that freedom is being able to do what He wants, when He wants.
Paul begins his letter with the phrase 'grace and peace to you', and the phrase acts as the foundation of Paul’s teaching. At times in this passage it may seem as if Paul is reprimanding the church, creating rules and regulations, but as we look closer we can see that Paul is inviting the church to examine their identity, and the issues there in. Paul invites the Colossians to put away the sin of the past and put on the graces of Christ.
Ness and Rich Wilson
What does it look like to relate to one another how God intended? In this passage Paul shares thoughts on husbands, wives, parents, children and slaves. As we reflect on the broader vision of how we relate to one another, we come to understand that this too reflects God and is part of ‘living a life worthy’. Jesus is interested in our relationships. He is the one who created relationship from the perfect relationship.
'Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.'