Claiming our Proper Place
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
2 To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, 6 which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, 7 just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf 8 and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.
9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
I am back in the pulpit on a regular basis once again. Serving as a vacancy pastor at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Conroe, Texas has offered me a welcome return. The greatest compliment regarding this reengagement was from my dear wife. She said, “You were in your sweet spot,” when she was able to join me there last week. And so, I am once again, “Pastor Bahn.” Although I am happy to be known simply as David or Dave, I’m also happy to claim this title as a pastor. I consider it an honor and a privilege.
And that’s what it is. That is a reflection of Paul’s greeting here in his letter to the church in Colossae. He claims the title apostle. The term means sent-one. And in the early years of the church the apostles also occupied a vital place of importance in keeping the faith alive and true. They had a place of authority, securing the gentile believers’ place in the Christian Church and even validating Paul’s mission work.
Paul claims this title because of a very special encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. You can read about that in Acts 9:1-19. In that encounter Paul learned that he would be a major factor of God’s kingdom’s advance. It was important to him and for the sake of the kingdom so much that Paul not only used it here, but would make the point in other writings that he was an apostle by God’s call – not by man’s arrangement.
This was not a matter of personal aggrandizement for Paul. It was for the sake of the gospel message. It was so that he could offer grace and peace through our Lord Jesus Christ.
This is my claim as well. I stand little on being a pastor as a place of authoritarian power, but much more on the basis of sharing the grace and peace that comes through faith in Jesus Christ. Nor is he alone. Nor is this happening only in Collassae. I look forward to reflecting on that this week.