Now the Preacher, how I’ll refer to the writer of Hebrews, takes our focus off the majesty of Jesus to give us a warning about own lives. Maybe you can recall a time in your life when you felt far from Jesus? The evil one lures us to drift away from God. Being reminded of that is so helpful.
We experience daily attacks from the evil one attempting to take control of our lives and make us forget about God. The Preacher gives us two paths to take to keep ourselves on track. We need to “listen for God” and “look for God” every day.
Did you catch how Paul acknowledged the audience? The people of Colosse are introduced as holy and faithful brothers and sisters. What a high honor Paul uses in greeting them. How would someone introduce you and your character?
Interesting to note, Paul had never visited Colosse. The church was founded by someone Paul had converted elsewhere. As often happens, young churches are easily infiltrated by unhealthy trends. It is my understanding the Colossians have been combining elements of paganism and secular philosophy with Christian doctrine. Paul and Timothy write to nip that in the bud so the people can get back on the right track. The timeless truths of this letter focus on the sufficiency and supremacy of Christ.
What is the focus of our reading today? Is it the public suffering of Jeremiah or is it another example of how far God’s people have fallen? Both seem to be powerful. Especially when you remember that Jeremiah was a real person. What went through his mind as he was being beaten?
I couldn’t help but let my mind go to brutal scenes of Jesus’ own whipping. He is now referred to as being the ideal “Suffering Servant.” Isaiah, a prophet years before Jeremiah wrote about Jesus in Isaiah 32:13-14, “See, my servant will prosper; he will be highly exalted. But many were amazed when they saw him. His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man.”
Paul is recommending the Corinthians look for encouragement from other brothers and sisters of the faith. It’s like networking and fellowship combined. The movement of Christ-followers is growing. Without the internet and more modern ways of connecting, word of mouth was key in connecting people who should spend time together.
The Corinthians had the assurance that they weren’t alone. Sometimes it can be frightening to head in a new direction in life. To embrace a Christian life and start a new relationship with a Savior who was not visibly present was daunting for them, and it can be daunting for us as well. That’s why Paul models for us the importance of community, faith communities to be precise.