Thursday, May 04, 2006

Colossians 1:3-4

Paul notes that they, (as leaders [Tim & Epaph?] or as a church?), pray for the believers in Colossae. This isn’t just a once off prayer, but many “prayers” have been prayed for this bursting community of faith. The reason for which will be mentioned later. The direction of thanks and prayer is towards God. Probably because of what God has been doing in the community. God is thus seen to be the source of their flourishing and impact. Note that this is not some impersonal or abstract God, but rather the Father. The intimacy expressed here is one which must have been strange for a Pharisee who grew up in fear of the Almighty and transcendent God. But now, given the fact of Jesus and all that that entails, God is now close. So close the only language to express this is in familial language. God is our Father, the source of all good things. Why? Because of the Lord Jesus Christ and all that he has done, accomplished and is busy doing through his church, the body of Christ.
Vs. 4. The linking of the word “for” to this next verse is important as Paul develops his thought. The causal factor in Paul’s and Timothy’s [and their team or base Church’s?] thankfulness is the testimony of “faithfulness” for Jesus and his mission, which they are accomplishing “in Christ”. They have held on to what was delivered unto them, and they have persevered in putting into practice what was given to them in the gospel. The sphere of this activity is all “in Christ Jesus” by which Paul means a life lived in intimacy with Jesus and a life reflecting the reign of Jesus. But this raises the interesting question of what it is that they were doing, that made their faith/fullness well known, even to Paul? If principally the message of Jesus is an "open secret" to be seen in human lives, not just read in a sacred book, then what is it that these Christians were doing that made their life in Christ newsworthy to the rest of the Christian community? Something for contemporary disciples of Jesus to ponder often...

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