Re:Verse passage – Matthew 8:1-4 (day six)
There was far more at stake than his health. The leper went to great lengths to encounter Jesus. Hearing him teaching from afar, he was enamored with the authority in which he spoke, unlike any he had heard before. But the stories of healings, of men and women not unlike himself, were what set him on this path.
There is no telling how many years this man had been separated from his family and community because he was unclean. Perhaps no one had touched him in an equal amount of time. His wife, his children, his rabbi, no one could come near; banished to the outskirts of town. His skin, yes, needed healing, but much more he needed to be restored back to fellowship; he needed to belong again.
He was desperate to be clean, to be known.
And Jesus touched him.
“Be clean,” he said.
And what once was distant and separate was restored.
That’s what the kingdom of God is like.
Re:Verse passage – Matthew 4:1-11 (six)
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15
Jesus faced the full arsenal of the accuser. He knows what it is like to be weak and tempted in every respect as we are. More than any other, this story highlights for us Jesus’ humanity, and thus His sympathy towards us. While he had every ability and opportunity to overcome his weakness through His divine power, He endured the accuser in His humanity so He could identify with us in our weakness.
This has a profound result, even though Jesus is without sin, the Bible says He is able to sympathize with us in our weakness. This means as we face temptation we have a safe place to go for help without fear of condescension or condemnation, but instead we receive what we need, mercy and grace.
Jesus will not reject us in our weakness; He’s been there, he knows what it is like. We have a sympathetic savior.
Re:Verse passage –Colossians 4:7-18 (day six)
This is not theoretical physics. It’s two plus two; it’s the car payment, or your five dollar latte. It’s real life. That’s one of the things Paul is after when he mentions real people. He wants this small church to know that walking in Jesus is not theory. It is more than the assimilation of spiritual ideas, or philosophical musings. He really intends for his words to intersect into their real lives, at home, work, or the grocery store.
That’s where the rubber meets the road, right? Are Paul’s words, or Jesus’ just theory to us? Do we enjoy taking special time out of each week to muse on these spiritual ideas, only to put them back when we are done? Or are we like Tychichus and Onesimus, or Aristarchus, Dema, Justus or Mark, who by God’s grace walked with Jesus and put on their new selves in real life?
Hoping it’s the latter.
Re:Verse passage – Colossians 4:2-6 (day six)
“…, making the best use of the time.” –Paul, Colossians 4:5b
It is no surprise that a man stuck in prison would have something to say about time, but not in the way you might think. Earlier in the week Pastor Larry drew our attention to the total absence of Paul’s request to pray for his release from jail. Now, Paul likely did pray for his own release, but it is clear he didn’t see his time in prison as a waste. So, what does Paul mean, when he commands us to make the best use of the time?
I think Paul wants us to see the value of a moment. To not take the time we have for granted, especially time we have with others. In Ephesians 5, Paul says, “the days are evil.” He means, once time passes, you can’t get it back-so, redeem every moment, cease it.
Paul would encourage us to walk in wisdom among those in our life, at home, at school, or in the workplace. And wisdom is making the most of our time (regardless of the circumstances) with the people in our life, and even those all along the way.
Re:Verse passage –Colossians 3:18-4:1 (day six)
We struggle with these verses because we see them through an old-world lens of power and place, or weak and strong. That’s not what Paul had in mind when writing them.
Jesus said, “If anyone wants to be great must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave.” (Matthew 20:26)
Jesus would upend social norms, much like he turned tables in the temple. The temple wasn’t made to be a marketplace, nor relationships a power struggle, everyone vying for the next wrung up the ladder.
Jesus exchanges power with purpose (0r calling), and struggle with service. That’s what redeemed marriages look like. Both husband and wife fulfilling a divine calling, both sacrificially loving the other, outdoing each other with honor (Romans 12:10).
Perhaps, that’s what oneness looks like. Perhaps, that’s what great marriages look like.
The world needs more of those.
Forgiveness and peace are best friends. Peace happens because forgiveness happens. That’s true of our relationship with God. Without forgiveness, we would never be at peace with God. Peace doesn’t mean placid. What Paul means by peace is the condition where relationships can be restored without interference, nothing getting in the way, like past or even present sin.
So, peace isn’t the absence of fighting, it’s the space to reconnect. It’s the freedom to know and be known.
So Paul says, “forgive each other as Jesus has forgiven you…And let the peace of God dwell in you richly!”
So, forgive each other and give peace a chance. Or said another way, don’t take the peace forgiveness provides for granted. Don’t stand still; move towards one another. Most of all move towards God.
Re:Verse passage – Colossians 3:1-9 (day six)
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:3-4
We live this Christian life from a position of strength. We have the high ground; it is no uphill battle. And glory is certain. Comforting truths for Christians wrangling to put on the new self. Do you feel it?
Paul desires two rock solid truths to empower you to wage war against the flesh: your hiddenness and your future glory. By hidden Paul means secure; nothing is open for debate or uncertain. Being hidden in Jesus means you are strong. By glory Paul means that your inheritance is the fullness of Jesus’ righteousness.
Put those two together, and by the Spirit you can slay any dragon (sin and temptation). So remember, you may seem weak, but in Christ you are strong. You don’t have to be timid with sin, or meek, or passive. Listen, the enemy rejoices when we have convinced ourselves that we are the underdog.
So, stop . Jesus’ glory is yours, now fight like it!
Re:Verse passage – Colossians 2:16-23 (day six)
…going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head… Colossians 2:18b-19a
God always intended to put His revelation down on paper. Something we could hold in our hands, read with our eyes, and come back to time and time again. The written Word is a thousand times more valuable than visions. I’m certainly not saying God doesn’t use visions, at least historically. What I am saying is God knew what He was doing when He put His Word in a book.
You can’t cross reference visions. You can’t know which one is from God, and which isn’t,… unless you check it with God’s written Word. This is why Paul warns against so called visions that originate from the minds of men, and he points us to Jesus, the Head (notice the play on words, mind and Head).
Be grateful for God’s gift of revelation in His written Word. It will never mislead or misdirect, and even when we get it wrong, it will always correct us.
Re:Verse passage – Colossians 2:8-15 (day six)
He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. Colossians 2:15
Paul now turns to empower the Colossians, quite literally. No longer are they push-over plebeians beholden to rulers and authorities of known or unknown realms. By faith, the power of Jesus has given them new freedom, new life, and a new identity. For the first time they are liberated to live full and restored lives, without shame or fear before God or humanity.
This matters. Sometimes we can live as if we are still enslaved to sin, cultural demands, even someone else’s condemnation or expectations. Paul would remind us those things have no hold on us, they have no authority over us; we are truly free in Jesus, fully belonging to a God who has redeemed us. Not only, but He also disarms and puts them to shame.
If God is for us, who can stand against us? Romans 8:31
Re:Verse passage – Colossians 2:1-7 (day six)
We can forget this a letter. It’s not a treatise. It’s not a manifesto. It’s not a blog, or editorial. It’s a Holy Spirit-inspired letter, personal and historical, intended to be read by a small group of people in a small town in Asia Minor, and now us. When Paul writes, “being knitted together in love,” his letter was exhibit A. Even though he had never laid eyes on this small church, he had a deep abiding affection for them, in the same way a grandfather has for his grandchildren. It was with this connectedness and love that Paul writes to them, reminding them, encouraging them, challenging them, longing to protect them.
With this letter Paul models what we must do for one another, being knitted together in love. And what Paul did from afar (in a letter) he expects us to do face to face.
How knitted are you? Or maybe a better question, do you long to be knitted in the way Paul hopes for us?