Bible Experiment Colossians
So, four years ago, I had this stupid idea. I was reading an atheist’s blog posts that he had started doing, and I was really enjoying them. Basically the concept was simple. He would read a book of the Bible, and then write at least 1,000 words about it. Rarely did he ever stay on topic, which was what I loved about it. He’d ramble about this or that, and ultimately would come to the conclusion that Christians are stupid. Which, being a Christian, I can understand! But now, with my own effort of working through the Bible, my own intentions are more simple. I am basically reading each book, and trying to make sense of the overarching thread, and the larger story that is happening from Genesis all the way to Revelation. And although it’s taken me three years longer than I intended, I’ve been really enjoying the macro story that has been unfolding.
What is Colossians?
We’ve been working our way through the Pauline epistles (makes me sound so smart to talk like that… or do you prefer “the letters from Paul…?” heheh.) of late with the last few books. And back in Romans I talked alot about Paul and his motivations. I spoke about his radical conversion experience, and also his efforts to setup churches throughout the mediterranean arena. (Can you say Mediterranea? Doubt it.) Well, there were a couple of letters that Paul wrote while he was in prison the first time in Rome, and this is one of them.
But unlike most of Paul’s letters to the churches, he had never been to the Church in Colossae. So when Paul wrote this letter, sometime in 60 or 61 AD, he had a specific reason reaching out to them. Paul had received a report that the Church of Colossae were all kinds of confused. But to get to the point of this confusion that Paul was refuting we kind of need to delve into a little bit of theology. But I’ll keep it quick.
The Theological Geekiness of Colossians
Many today have taken a view point of Jesus as that he was a good teacher. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you…” you know, refrigerator magnet quotes like that? (Is that only a thing where I come from? But that He wasn’t actually divine. He wasn’t actually God. Which, I get. Dealing with the concept of a God/Man is problematic to our small grey-matter. It’s really hard to wrap our brains around that. But there are tons of verses that speak to Jesus’ claims at being God. And there are many more if you dig. (Like His claim of being the Son of Man? If you get a chance, totally delve into that, and the way Ezekiel referred to the Christ as the Son of Man, and then Jesus’ reference to Himself as such.) But I list a couple of the references here that show that Jesus thought he was God. (Whether you think He is or not is fairly immaterial, I’m just trying to determine if HE thought he was.)
- ‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’
- John 10:30 – ‘I and the Father are one.’
- John 20:27 – ‘Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
I could keep going, but I think I’ve given you his perspective on himself. And truth be told, the Jews nearby knew what he was saying as well… for after those first two quotes, the Jews picked up stones to kill him he was speaking so heretically.
Right, so Jesus thought he was God. Weird. But true. Now, jump forward 30 years to Paul’s imprisonment, and his getting a report that the Church at Colossae were listening to people who believed that Jesus wasn’t God. Maybe that He was a good guy. Was fantastic for weddings and parties… you know, the water to wine bit, but otherwise, no. Not God. And so Paul took time out, specifically, in order to let fellow Christians he hadn’t met yet that this line of logic was a horrendous, embarrassing, mortifying error to make.
So you, yeah, you, that guy in the back over there reading this post! If for some really bizarre reason the tides and the currents of the interwebs sucked you in here, and you don’t even know why you are here… and yet, you too don’t believe that Jesus is God? Well, Paul is talking to you too when he wrote Colossians. And this is what he would say to you to you today if he were here now. “Dude??! Seriously? Pick God, or Mad Man. Pick diety or pick luny bin reject. But you can’t pick “Good Teacher”. No. That just doesn’t work. Wackjob or God Himself. These are the choices we get. This in between business? No.”
Am I Insane Or Am I Blessed?
Now, dear reader, I have a question for you. I believe that Jesus is God. That through him is or only chance at glory – which means, life with God, Him in us, this is the definition of heaven. But do you think me blessed? Or insane. I don’t mind you thinking me insane. It’s actually a pretty fair assumption to make. To believe that a being, capable of creating the universe would die for me, die for you? Insane. Pretty crazy really. Or you could think me blessed. Blessed that I would be given that kind of a chance to believe. Blessed to have the mysteries of the universe revealed to me.
But please, dear reader, don’t think me something in between. Don’t think that I’m a little misguided to follow the teachings of an interesting teacher. Don’t try and neuter Christ as God and think me anything but insane. Give me a straight jacket before you do that please.
Now that is the entire gist of the discussion of the book of Colossians. Sure, Paul wasn’t as informal with the reader as I have been. But it’s pretty darn similar on the whole.
Colossians 2:8-12 – See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
Let’s Just Unpack One Specific Verse
Because this is my blog, and my idea, and I’m mainly just talking to myself when I do these particular posts, I am going to drop in here one of my favorite scriptures in all of the Bible that comes from Colossians… just because I can. I’ll walk you though it because it is filled with so much yumminess I can hardly contain myself:
“Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Ok, break it down. Paul, at the beginning is saying, I was selected by God to be a minister for this church, so that I can preach, and benefit all the churches. Simple? Right, but to preach what? This is where I get the goosebumps. He has been ordained to reveal the mystery, the mystery hidden for millennia, he can open the eyes of those around him to the truths of the universe. Which is what man?!? Tell us already!!
So the mystery that God has asked Paul to preach to all those he came in contact with, that God has made known just how amazing his Glory is, not just to Jews, but to Gentiles alike. And this mystery? That Christ… in you… THIS! is the hope of glory.
Stop. Did you get that? The hidden truth of the universe. Mars. Saturn. The Crab Nebula. The Milky Way? Literally, the universe. The truth of the universe is that Christ has come. That he has made a way to reconcile ourselves to God. That it is through Christ that you too may have the hope of glory! Hahahahha. How just utterly amazing is that?
Colossians Wrap Up
Throughout Colossians, Paul just marvels, over and over again, about the amazingness and majesty of Christ. Why? Because he was making a point. Those of you who have not made a decision about who God is, Paul is telling you about Him. He’s explaining to you the Creator/Redeemer, and how this Christ can revolutionize your life. Haha! Better yet, He can revolutionize your DEATH. Or lack there of.
Alright, I’m going to do something here that I haven’t done throughout the rest of this series, but I just want to point out, that if you believe that you are being chased down by God, that He is hunting your heart… and are curious about how to become a Christian, it’s as simple as believing. Romans 10:9 says that “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Do you believe that Jesus is God? Then pray to God to forgive you of your sins. And that you believe in Him. Done. Oh, and email me so we can throw a party together! Because all the rest of this crap we call life is not even hardly worth a celebration… but this? This is. So do me the favor of letting me celebrate with you!
So, Colossians is four short chapters of Paul reminding his fellow believers not to fall into the trap of belief that says that Jesus was a nice guy. He was anything but. I mean, He was nice… of course. But that isn’t my point. But you got that point like 17 paragraphs ago. You are clever enough. You got what I was saying.