He’s Coming For You.
Jesus is coming for you.
That is how Paul opens his letter to the Colossians by identifying himself as an apostle.
An apostle is someone sent, that is the exact meaning of the word. If you are not sent with a message on behalf of someone else, then you are not an apostle.
The text says, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus.”
Jesus is coming for you through another person who operates as his messenger. That person will tell you about God and scripture, and lead you into a sacred place.
Of great importance is the nature of being sent, it is as Paul describes, the will of God. Paul is not alone in being sent, according to Matthew 28: 18-20, we are all chosen to be sent. It’s a matter of capacity and specifics, not a matter of God’s will.
In Paul’s case, he affirms to the Colossians, that his apostleship was divine and not of his own chosing, again for emphasis, it is in fact the will of God.
Saints is actually the Greek word for holy but does not mean what you think it means. It is not a direct reference for moral excellence, something that is a surprise to most people. Paul is writing as a Jewish theologian, and his word for holy has deep roots in the Old Testament. The Israelites, for example were not called holy because of their moral excellence, they were holy because they were set apart.
That is what Paul is clearly saying.
If Moses were chatting with Paul about this word, he would affirm what has just been said. Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, and those who followed were then set apart, and in that manner were considered holy. It was their following God’s leadership that made them holy, not moral perfection.
The being set apart for God comes with many residual blessings, and one is found in the Greek word adelphoi most commonly understood as the word for brothers, and the feminine is implied as well—sisters.
Paul is clearly saying that eventually relationships are developed that reache the depths of a second family. The only word to describe the internal connections that Christians enjoy in Church is to call them by some sort of affectionate name that like brother or sister.
It is one of Paul’s highest compliments to say such a thing.
The hard charging apostle loved to call Jesus people saints, and did so on more than one occasion, but what he said next is rare, he called the Colossian Church faithful.
Arguably one of the sweetest things a christian can be called is faithful, a compliment Paul almost never threw around.
There is linguistic evidence to show that the word pistos (faith), with its grammatical nuances found here in the texty, could be translated as believing brothers and sisters.
Grace and peace reflect complete biblical theology. Grace is most clearly illustrated in the New Testament, as seen in the cross, and peace is bathed in shalom, the sacred Old Testament word that pictures the glory and blessings of God.
Paul brings out the Trinity by stating that in both Testaments blessings come from Father God through the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
v. 3 – 4 Prayer
Paul bonded with the Colossae Church through prayer. Epaphras or Timothy, most likely told Paul about the great things God was doing in Colossae, and Paul made it his mission to pray blessings and protection over their lives.
These verses read as if Paul were shouting about the wonderfulness of the Colossae church. Known to many, Paul says, is their love for God, Christians, and Churches.
v. 5-8 Truth
The gospel, Paul says,”is the word of truth,” and all the matters is whether it has in fact come to you.
Of interesting note, and by no means accidental, Paul outlines the gospel by saying the Colossians have faith (v.4), and love (.v4), and hope (v.5). A three fold belief paradigm found most famously in I Corinthians 13.
It’s not far fetched to conclude Paul wrote more than one letter at the same location. He most likely wrote Colossian and Ephesians while holed up in Ceaserea, and probably cranked one out and then the other.
An astonishing claim is made, in the whole world the gospel is bearing fruit and increasing, yet in every part of the world the gospel is strongly opposed by earthly powers.
Paul camps on a theological principle found more commonly in Romans 10. The word must be heard first, then it can be understood. There are mysteries in the gospel, but it is not a mystery religion. The gospel must be communicated verbally in some manner in order for the Holy Spirit to bring about soulful conversion.
Epaphras is mentioned as being a faithful and beloved servant, again some of the highest praise Paul could ever give. It may be that Epaphras was one of those just willing to go. The hip place to go and make an impact at that time was Laodicea, and even nearby Hieropolis. Those cities were happening, not Colossae. Yet Epaphras followed the Lord’s leading and saw revival break out in the place some perhaps thought least likely.
Epaphras, someone we know little about, is called a minister, and the word can also be translated as servant.