- Gwen Diaz
A Letter to Believers in Colossae
December 3 - Nº 337 Colossians 1 – 4
It was not unusual for church leaders from the different cities where Paul had ministered to show up on his doorstep in Rome. Although he was under house arrest and chained to a guard, he was free to entertain guests. As a matter of fact, many different people took turns staying with him and helping with his daily needs. One of the men who showed up was Epaphras. He was from Colossae, a small city in Asia Minor. Colossae was located in a mountain pass on a trade route from Ephesus to the eastern markets in Syria. It was once a flourishing city, famous for its fertile soil and shiny, black wool. But its importance had dwindled as larger cities (like Laodicea) had grown up around it. Epaphras first met Paul in Ephesus. It was there that he heard the gospel and began to grow in his new faith. He may have stayed in Ephesus for a couple of years learning from Paul before he returned to Colossae. When he arrived back in his hometown, he pastored a church that met in the home of a wealthy man named Philemon. Paul had not yet visited the church in Colossae, but he prayed for them often. Epaphras had now come to Rome to seek Paul’s advice. Although his church had grown in size and faith, it was suddenly facing a problem. Another religion (later called Gnosticism) was becoming popular and influencing the young believers. It was a combination of Greek philosophy, oriental mysticism, and Jewish legalism incorporated into Christianity (see 2:8). It stressed personal religious knowledge and experience, but it also included worshiping angels and obeying the Laws of Moses. In this cult, Jesus was important as a philosopher, teacher, and example, but he was not believed to be God! In the first half of his letter, Paul stressed the importance of understanding and believing the deity and supremacy of Jesus. So, he listed the facts for them: · Jesus is eternal. · He is God. Everything that makes up God the Father is also found in him. · He is the creator of everything in the universe. · For our sakes he took on a body and became the visible form of the invisible God. · By physically dying on the cross and being raised from the dead, he paved the way for all of us to be resurrected and live in heaven. · When we believe that Jesus died for our sins on the cross, we are allowed access into God’s presence. · He is the only leader we should ever follow and our ultimate source of all authority. These were the truths that Paul had taught Epaphras in Ephesus—and the very same truths that Epaphras had already passed on to the Colossians. Paul explained that understanding and believing these truths should affect everything they did. They should no longer live selfish and immoral lives. As God’s children, they should live with others in peace, kindness, and love. This was to be evident in their marriages, their family relationships, and their work. Everything they did should be done to represent Jesus and give thanks to God. Paul sealed the letter and sent it to Colossae with his friend Tychicus, as well as a former slave named Onesimus. Epaphras stayed in Rome and continued to minister to Paul.
Do you believe that Jesus is everything Paul said he is? Carefully read through the list that Paul made. After each statement ask yourself, “How should this affect my life?”
John 1:1-3; John 10:30; Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 1:2-3