Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
When Paul met Jesus, His savoir, His eyes were also opened. God revealed to Him the vision of church, and the church became Paul’s vision of life. He saw that Jesus had started the work, and Paul is “filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions”, because the work is not done yet. Though Paul was in prison while writing this letter to the Colossian church, and he had never met them in person. He rejoiced in his suffering for the church. Ministering to the church and making God’s word fully known to them became Paul’s life mission and joy! One of the most important messages Paul had to deliver was revealing the mystery of God.
God had a secret in His heart, and it had been hidden for ages and generations! I know God is not restricted by time, but I always wonder how it was for God to keep a secret in His heart for such a long time. How many times has He rehearsed the moment we receive His gift in His mind? Was He ever anxious to reveal it to anyone?
God was hidden until His son Jesus Christ became Emmanuel and born in a manger. His mystery was also hidden until His son Jesus Christ became the “King of Jews” in crown of thorns and nailed on the cross. When His blood was shed and His church was born, God finally revealed His mystery. The mystery that had been stored in God’s heart is the church – everyone who accepted the salvation of Jesus, Jews and Gentiles; the beautiful bride for His son, Jesus Christ; and also a precious gift for every believer! We are the heart of the mystery! “To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” What came along with this surprise present from God is that He filled the church with His riches of glory! The building we are in might be old and crummy, but when the church is together, we are filled with His riches of glory that is immeasurable. Best of all, Christ is in us!” He is Emmanuel, and He dwells among us. He is the head, and we are his body! He is the vine, and we are the branches. Nothing can separate the church from Christ!
May the Lord reveal the beauty of His church to us! We are so blessed to be in the heart of His mystery! May His vision be our vision, and His passion be ours. The work is not done. In fact, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” Paul was “filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions”, and now it’s on us. While we have received His wonderful gift and enjoyed His daily grace, may we also respond to Him with love and action. Take some time to ask Him what it is that we can do for Him and His church. Love God, and love His people.
Dear Lord, reveal to me the beauty of your church – how you had loved us and died for us to give birth to the church. It is filled with the riches of your glory! Help me to see what I can do for you and your church.