This day and age, nothing seems to captivate people more effectively than a good conspiracy theory. Or at least some level of secret knowledge—a secret to greater success than what we are currently experiencing. Maybe it is a magic bullet we are looking for to get rid of life’s biggest struggles—like weight gain, wellness, good sleep, or increased brain capacity. But for Paul, as he’s in prison, there is something far greater than any of those things, and he might be on to something.
In a world filled with heresies and other false teachings, in Paul’s time as well as in our own, the best thing the world can offer regarding the “mysteries” of life is that you must always discover just a little bit more. What does God offer? “The riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col. 1:27),” and “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2:3).” There is no comparison. Only the Gospel can fulfill.
As Pastor Josh Argubright pointed out in his sermon, with God at the center and the Holy Spirit as the catalyst, growth sprouts in the hearts and minds of all who choose the way of Jesus over anyone or anything else. Thus, we see Paul in Colossians 1:24-2:5 choose suffering over all other options … for the joy that accompanies his current reality is far greater than anything else. But where suffering for the glory of God would be enough, Paul knows there is even more than that to be had for doing so. He explains as much in Colossians 1:28 (ESV):
Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all His energy that He powerfully works within me.
Our journey does not stop with an acceptance of who Jesus is, it starts a lifelong process—becoming more like Him with every step we take as new creations. For what we once were, we are no longer. And what we will be only just begins to get underway. The “mystery” of Jesus becomes the very “reveal” we were always meant to experience as heirs in God’s Kingdom. God wants us to take part in a transformational process, both for ourselves in our own lives as well as in the lives of others. He wants us to develop into more than what we are by becoming “mature in Christ” and allowing Him to “powerfully work” within us.
As he sits alone in his prison cell, Paul tells us to dive deep into the heart of Jesus. He wants his readers to discover something far more lifegiving than what is being offered to them by those outside the will of God. He desires for them to understand his struggles—not so they can feel sorry for him, but so they can be encouraged despite them. Here is what he details in Colossians 2:1-2 (ESV):
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, 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.
Nothing compares to knowing Jesus, and nothing ever will. He is “Better Than” all things at all times for all people … including you and me!
So while the “mysteries” of life sold to us on a regular basis might seem like the answer to whatever ills they promise to cure, there is only one “mystery” that ultimately will.
Do yourself a favor and get to know Him better today. You won’t be disappointed.
“For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:24-28, ESV)
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF:
- What is the “mystery” Paul is referring to surrounding Jesus?
- Why was it important for Paul to address this “mystery?”
- How would you describe Paul’s current disposition in this passage? What makes you think that?
- What are some things about Jesus that have impacted you?
- How has your understanding of Jesus changed over the years?
“BETTER THAN” – OUR STUDY OF COLOSSIANS IN REVIEW …
Colossians 4:2-18: “Our Own Strength” / Blog post and Study Guide: “Starting Out Where it Ends”
Colossians 3:18-4:1: “Our Old Relationships” / Blog post and Study Guide: “Gracious Reflections of a Savior’s Love”
Colossians 3:12-17: “Clothed in Christ” / Blog post and Study Guide: “A New Suit Pressed With Timeless Truth”
Colossians 3:1-11: “Our Old Self” / Blog post and Study Guide: “Life After Brambles of Old News”
Colossians 2:16-23: “In Christ Alone” / Blog post and Study Guide: “The Disappearing Shadows of Faith”
Colossians 2:6-15: “Freedom in Christ” / Blog post and Study Guide: “God Is There and He’s Not Hiding From You”
Colossians 1:24-2:5: “Mystery Revealed” / Blog post and Study Guide: “A Mystery Worth Discovering”
Colossians 1:15-23: “The Supremacy of Christ” / Blog post and Study Guide: “Jesus Christ Holds It Together“
Colossians 1:1-14: “The Pressure of the World” / Blog post and Study Guide: “An ‘Others’ Kind of Faithfulness”