Sunday, July 9, 2017

Colossians, Christ the Head of the Church

by Steve Ray on July 9, 2017

Pick your god. They are all worshiped here. Choose your favorite from the pantheon. Greek gods, Roman gods, Hittite and Eastern gods and even the Jewish God. Temples abound.

Enter and worship the Ephesian Artemis, the Egyptian Isis or Serapis. Bow down to Zeus, Athena, or a fertility goddesses. Purchase an idol to enshrine in your home. Even enter a synagogue, after getting circumcised of course, and worship JHWH with the Jews. There’s surely a god for your liking-isn’t it grand!

Your robes are dusty and your sandals are worn. You have entered an ancient city in the land of the Hittites, governed by Rome and with a mixed population of Greeks, Romans, Jews, and a smattering of others—Asia Minor (known today as Turkey). You have traveled about 100 miles inland from the great city of Ephesus and the gates open as you walk into the 5000-year-old city of Colossae.

In the agora, or town square, a man is shouting from the speaker’s platform (bema), and everyone is shouting back. He is preaching about a god you’ve never heard of before. It appears the Colossians aren’t pleased to hear about this god. The speaker’s name is Epaphras and he’s a native of Colossae (Col 4:12). He is preaching about a man as though he were God and a God as though he were a man. It is very confusing-especially with all the shouting.

So you linger as the crowd wanders off. A group gathers around Epaphras and you are invited to his home to clean up and share a meal. You readily agree. You are hungry hungry from your travel, hungry also to learn. By the end of the evening you believe in this man’s God and Jesus, this God’s son. You are baptized in water, and welcomed into the group-a group they called an ekklesia (church).

Epaphras has learned this good news from a Jewish scholar named Paul who is living in Ephesus. Through Paul all of Asia is hearing about Jesus (Acts 19:10-11) and many are astounded by his words and the miracles he performs in the name of this Jesus. Paul had never visited Colossae and never would (2:1), but his influence in Asia Minor, and in Colossae, was profound.

For the whole intro to Colossians, cliche HERE.

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