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, 25 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, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 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. 28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
2:1 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. 5 For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ. – Colossians 1:24-2:5
If you could have dinner with any religious leader, living or dead, other than Jesus Christ, who would you choose? Here are some options:
- Saul of Tarsus who became Paul the missionary and author of this letter.
- Martin Luther, who ignited the protestant reformation just over 500 years ago
- St. Augustine of Hippo, who championed the message of grace and wrote of his conversion after a life of profligacy and rebellion, and whose mother never ceased praying for him
- Charles Wesley, who wrote many hymns which we love and sing today
- Billy Graham
- Mother Teresa
- Someone else…maybe even someone who fell from grace, or at least shamed themselves after a time of major success. Sadly there are several candidates in this category.
Paul makes a point that he proclaims Jesus Christ so that he “may present everyone mature in Christ.” Such is no easy task. For there are pitfalls, threats, and temptations thrown at us daily. This is especially true of Christian leaders. Whenever one’s success outruns his character, celebrity fails and falls. And great is its crash. Celebrity pastors all too easily trip over their own fame.
Paul points us to Jesus, who never fails us. He is the Son of God, the One who deserves all the fame and glory that can be given. And his character is perfectly capable of handling that fame. Those who put their hopes and trust in him will never be disappointed. They will never be ashamed of him. They will never be left utterly disappointed at his lack of faithfulness. They will never be left short of his promises.
So when you hear someone preaching Jesus, urging faith in him, pointing people to God’s promises anchored in Jesus’ death, resurrection and final return, lean in. Listen well. Maybe that pastor isn’t a rock star. Maybe he doesn’t have his name on the side of a megachurch. Maybe he isn’t all that great. But if he is pointing you to Jesus, listen well. And rejoice whenever anyone points beyond himself to the One in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. In Jesus, after all, is the true hope of glory.