PRE-EASTER JOY! — already, and not yet!
The supremacy, the pre-eminence, the lordship of Christ!
Colossians 4 (NIV)
1 Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.
2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
James 5:16 (Amplified Bible)
The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].
Prayer does not equip you for greater works.
Prayer is the greater work.
— Oswald Chambers
“Satan trembles when he sees
the weakest Christian on his knees.”
3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
William Barclay translates Colossians 4:6 this way: Let your speech always be with gracious charm, seasoned with the salt of wit, so that you will know the right answer to give in every case. He explains: “Here is an interesting injunction. It is all too true that Christianity in the minds of many is connected with a kind of sanctimonious dullness and an outlook in which laughter is almost a heresy…. The Christian must commend his message with the charm and the wit which were in Jesus himself.”
7 Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. 8 I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. 9He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here.
Onesimus was a slave owned by a believer in Colossae, but he ran away and came into contact with Paul in Rome. There, Onesimus became a Christian and a dedicated helper to Paul. His story is continued in Paul’s letter to Philemon, which you may read HERE.
10 My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.) 11 Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews among my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me.
Aristarchus . . . Mark . . . Jesus who is called Justus. These are my only fellow workers . . . who are of the circumcision: As Paul’s ministry continued, it became more focused towards Gentiles, because many Jewish people came to reject both Paul and his message.
Paul was in a Roman jail because of a Jewish riot over the mere mention of God’s offer of grace to the Gentiles (Acts 22:21-22).
They have proved to be a comfort to me: At that time, Paul had only three fellow workers with a Jewish heritage. But these three did a great work, and they proved to be a comfort to Paul.
12 Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.
“Prayer has divided seas, rolled up flowing rivers, made rocks gush into fountains, quenched flames of fire, muzzled lions, disarmed vipers and poisons, marshaled the stars against the wicked, stopped the course of the moon, arrested the sun in its rapid race, burst open iron gates, released souls from eternity, conquered the strongest devils, commanded legions of angels down from heaven. Prayer has bridled and chained the raging passions of man and routed & destroyed vast armies of proud, daring, blustering atheists. Prayer has brought one man from the bottom of the sea and carried another in a chariot of fire to heaven. What has prayer not done?”
13 I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14 Our dear friend Luke, the doctor,
Here is where we learn that Luke, the author of the Gospel according to Luke and the book of Acts, was a physician.
and Demas send greetings. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.
16 After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.
17 Tell Archippus: “See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.”
18 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains.
“The chain clanked afresh as Paul took the pen to sign the salutation. He was not likely to forget it himself.”
–A. T. Robertson
“Paul’s references to his sufferings are not pleas for sympathy; they are his claims to authority, the guarantees of his right to speak.”
Grace be with you.
HERE is “What a friend we have in Jesus” by country music great Alan Jackson, from his album Precious Memories. This project originally started as a Christmas present for his mother, who had always wanted him to record Gospel music. Lots of other people enjoyed the album, too — it went platinum.