1 For I want you to know how much I am struggling for you, and for those in Laodicea, and for all who have not seen me face to face. 2 I want their hearts to be encouraged and united in love, so that they may have all the riches of assured understanding and have the knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ himself, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I am saying this so that no one may deceive you with plausible arguments. 5 For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, and I rejoice to see your morale and the firmness of your faith in Christ.
The Agony In his first words in Colossians 2 Paul implies that he is praying for his readers – I want you to know how greatly I strive for you,…(lit. how much I am struggling for you). At the end of chapter 1, Paul had spoken of the way he agonized over his work of teaching and preaching. Now, he implies, ministry involves more than teaching: it also involves prayer. It was not something he did when all else failed. Prayer was an essential part of the hard work of his ministry. As with Jesus, it was a major investment of his energy.
And notice what he prayed: I want their hearts to be encouraged (strengthened) and united in love,… The issue of unity is at the heart of his concern. Lack of unity in a church often hinders the growth of God’s people and limits the witness of God’s gospel in the city. Paul goes on to set out his goal – that all may know Christ himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. The key to the transformation is a unity in mind and heart centered on Jesus Christ. Paul knows all too well that lasting unity depends on truth and love.
The richest blessings in life are found in knowing Jesus Christ. Paul reminds us that true faith is not a matter of mystical experiences or intellectualism. It involves a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If we don’t know anything about a living, personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we are God’s people in name only. There’s all the difference in the world between waking up in the morning and saying, ‘Good Lord, it’s morning’ and ‘Good morning Lord.’
In Christ all the treasures of God’s wisdom and knowledge are found. In the past these were hidden. Now in Jesus Christ they have been revealed. But Paul is concerned that the Colossians might be drawn to people who would distract them from a vital, unambiguous relationship with Jesus Christ. None of us can add to who Jesus is, or to what he has done for us.
The Ecstasy. Despite his concerns, joy and happiness bubble through Paul’s next words: I rejoice to see your morale and the firmness of your faith in Christ. He had heard good things about God’s people in Colossae. Even though he couldn’t see them in person – he was in prison – he wanted them to know that he was with them in spirit. Prompted by God’s Spirit (1:8), they had responded positively to Epaphras’s preaching and had turned in repentance and faith to Jesus Christ as the Lord from heaven.
You may want to consider:
- the place of prayer in your life;
- why it is that professing Christians can sometimes feel that either their faith is dry or they need a new experience of God.
Let me encourage you to pray:
© John G. Mason, Reason for Hope – 40 Days of Bible Readings and Reflections – 2016. All Rights Reserved.