Colossians 1:21-2:5 Mystery

21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

24 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.

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, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. Forthough I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see yourgood order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.

Mystery

There is a word locked away in the center of the two paragraphs above.  It is the word mystery.  God has revealed to us a mystery that we would not have known without divine revelation.  The mystery is Jesus.  Unlike the mystery cults of the day, no-one needs to go through initiation rites and be sworn to secrecy.  No special qualifications are needed to receive and understand the mystery.

Paul’s struggles and his suffering make sense in light of the great mystery.  The trials of this life make sense when we see the trials and the struggles that Jesus had as he suffered and died in our place.  It is left for us to continue in the same way that Jesus lived.  As he suffered, so we will suffer.  However, as he was glorified so we experience glory.

Prayer

Thank you that we have received a mystery which was hidden for thousands of years.  Although there were signs that the Messiah would come, we now see clearly that prophesy was fulfilled in his death and resurrection.  Help us to follow Jesus with the same passion as Paul.  Help us to dig deeper into the mystery you have revealed.

Questions

  1. Can you explain how the word mystery sits in the center of the two paragraphs which start at v. 24?
  2. How does Paul connect his struggles with those of Jesus?
  3. How does Paul struggle and suffer?
  4. How do you struggle and suffer?
  5. How do you respond to the idea that God revealed a mystery when Jesus was revealed?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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18 Responses to Colossians 1:21-2:5 Mystery

  1. 1. The word Mystery read the First time is explains the WORD of God (Gospel). The same word Used a couple verses down describes JESUS! Jesus=WORD=Gospel=God!
    2. He’s suffering in ways that Christ had for the body (Church).
    3. Warning everyone and teaching everything so that he may present everyone mature in Christ. He suffers through service to Jesus and in life in general.
    4. Suffering-I suffer by having people who once called me friend, abandon me because of Jesus. Struggle-everyday is a struggle to accomplish God’s will for me. But, he gives me his energy to do it.
    5. Since the beginning of time we have only heard of Whispers of the messiah who was to come. He was in Creation, he was in everything that had ever happened throughout the OT. Everyone was waiting to see the prophesy be revealed, because when Jesus came-it would be GOD in flesh, who came down to earth to walk with His people! The mystery of God was revealed in his son Jesus.

  2. Maelynn says:

    1. The mystery is Christ in his people and the hope of glory and eternal life. Paul os delivering the gospel to the people.
    2. He says he continues to suffer for Christ’s sake-adding to Christ’s own sufferings.
    3. Paul continues to persuade, and encourage the believers around him.
    4.I struggle against my own flesh every day. I stuggle against the worldlinessof other people.
    5. Jesus was a mystery revealed. We needed someone to die for us and we had no one until Jesus God sent Jesus. Before that, we didn’t know how to be saved.

  3. Olyn says:

    1. The mystery revealed is in Christ, which could not have been recognized without divine revelation.
    2. Paul’s struggles make sense when he looks at how Jesus struggled and died-we are called to die to ourselves and follow Christ. As His followers, we will experience struggles.
    3. He is imprisoned, beaten, abandoned, alone, just to name a few.
    4. Christianity is counter-cultural on nearly every level. It is looked down upon as old-fashioned, senseless, ignorant, and prudish. To say you are a Christian can invite alienation, anger or judgment. With this comes the struggle of deciding how to relate and minister to people without misconstruing my beliefs.
    5. Its so cool that God wants to reveal His mysteries to us in ways that we can understand!

  4. 1. The mystery described is Christ and His ability to be in/with His people. It is in Christ, the only mystery that mattered that we have access to “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”. The Colossians who had Christ would have no need of any hidden knowledge because they had everything in Christ.
    2. Paul is suffering for the sake of the church, mirroring Christ’s suffering on the cross.
    3. Paul describes his suffering as being in his flesh. We know that he experienced all kinds of suffering for the sake of Christ. Paul also mentions in this passage that he is struggling to preach the gospel to the church. He longs to be with them.
    4. I struggle with relationships that have fallen apart because I chose to follow Christ or with relationships with those who think it is silly that I am studying where I am. I struggle with not having a voice with some of the people I care for the most because of my Savior, but I know too that He will take care of them if it is in His plan.
    5. The fact that the God who created everything and who is entirely sovereign would chose to share His plan with humanity and then reveal the specific Person in whom that plan would be fulfilled is amazing. How can I possibly doubt His care for me when He has chosen to reveal such marvelous things?

  5. Christa Larsen-Sorterup says:

    1. Can you explain how the word mystery sits in the center of the two paragraphs which start at v. 24? Paul speaks of his sufferings for the sake of the church and for the sake of the gospel of Christ and then moves to speaking of the mystery of Christ for which he suffers and toils.
    2. How does Paul connect his struggles with those of Jesus? Paul rejoices in his sufferings and claims that he is “filling up what is lacking in Christ’s affliction”; he is suffering for the body of Christ as Christ also suffered for His body
    3. How does Paul struggle and suffer? He struggles and suffers as he preaches the gospel even in the face of physical affliction and imprisonment
    4. How do you struggle and suffer? I struggle and suffer far less than Paul but still struggle in my fight against sin and in my attempt to live for Christ in a world that wants nothing to do with Him
    5. How do you respond to the idea that God revealed a mystery when Jesus was revealed? I am in wonder and awe that God would reveal Himself in such a personal and tangible way; I am thankful to be a recipient of the mystery

  6. Megumi says:

    1. Before the revelation of Christ, people are enemies of God, alienated from the Father. After the revelation of Christ as Savior and reconciler, people are transformed, like Paul, into ministers of good news willing to struggle, suffer and die for Christ. How God affects this transformation is a glorious mystery, revealed in Christ.
    2.Paul’s struggled and suffered in his ministry and church-planting efforts, similarly to how Christ suffered on behalf of his Church.
    3. Paul suffered persecution and other dangers in his efforts to spread the gospel.
    4. My struggles can hardly be compared with the sufferings of Paul or Christ, but I pray that when I am so tested, I prove faithful.
    5.The mysterious revelation of Christ fills me with awe and wonder.

  7. Michael McCardle says:

    1. Can you explain how the word mystery sits in the center of the two paragraphs which start at v. 24?
    The word “mystery” is used to describe God’s redemptive plan of salvation for all people through Jesus Christ.
    2. How does Paul connect his struggles with those of Jesus?
    Paul connects his struggles those of Jesus by explaining that all the suffering he endures is for the church of Christ.
    3. How does Paul struggle and suffer?
    Paul struggles and suffers in his flesh
    4. How do you struggle and suffer?
    Struggles: Anxiety, homesickness, OCD, celiac disease (multiple food allergies and digestive problems).
    5. How do you respond to the idea that God revealed a mystery when Jesus was revealed?
    What a great God we have that he would give his Son save us, to bring us back into relationship with Him.

  8. The mystery that Paul is describing in the middle of the two paragraphs is Jesus Christ himself, whom God chose to reveal. Paul’s suffering connects with the suffering of Jesus because Paul is also suffering for the church, but he says that he is kept strong through the energy that Christ “powerfully works” through him. Paul struggles as he tries to make the mystery, Christ, known to all people. Paul’s struggles are endured so that everyone will hear the gospel of Jesus. I, like Paul, struggle with the vast amount of rejection that Christianity receives. I worry too much about what people think of me, so I often miss opportunities to share Christ. I don’t suffer physically like Paul did, but I pray that if that day comes, I will never abandon my Lord.

  9. Kimberly W. says:

    1. Mystery is placed in between a depiction of the Colossians being reconciled and Paul’s suffering. Because they are reconciled to God, they now know the mystery “revealed to the saints”. Paul continues to persevere in his suffering to share this mystery with more people.
    2. As Christ suffered for the whole Church, Paul suffers and struggles for the Colossians and other churches to whom he has ministered.
    3. Paul suffered through being stoned, beaten, imprisoned, and shipwrecked, to name a few of his physical sufferings. He suffered and struggled with the demands of ministry and teaching others.
    4. I struggle and suffer with loneliness, unanswered questions, and the demands of life.
    5. I love that I live in a time when the mystery has been revealed in Jesus! I know who my Messiah is; I know my salvation is sure. I long for the day when Jesus returns, but I am deeply comforted by knowing who Jesus is.

  10. Andrew Moore says:

    1.Can you explain how the word mystery sits in the center of the two paragraphs which start at v. 24?
    The mystery is Christ and his role as savior.
    2. How does Paul connect his struggles with those of Jesus?
    Paul identifies with Jesus through his personal sufferings.
    3. How does Paul struggle and suffer?
    Paul struggled with a great amount of physical persecution, rejection, imprisonment and other hardships.
    4. How do you struggle and suffer?
    I struggle to keep Christ at the center of my life and to keep my focus on him.
    5. How do you respond to the idea that God revealed a mystery when Jesus was revealed?
    I think it’s amazing that God has revealed to us the greatest mystery and we can take part in the wonderful gift of salvation.

  11. Nate Silvieus says:

    1. The mystery is Christ- Christ in us. We now have the ability to have Christ reside in us which brings us hope for eternal glory with him and the Father.
    2.

  12. Nate Silvieus says:

    Lame computer.
    2. Christ’s sufferings were sufficient for us, but because he suffered for us, we also will suffer for each other, as Paul says his sufferings are for the sake of the body, which is the church.
    3. Paul struggles are numerous- I think a big one to take from this passage is the deep concerns that he has for the churches- that they will not be deceived by fine sounding arguments, but will continue to grow in unity in love, and complete understanding of the “mystery of God, namely, Christ.”
    4. I do not struggle anywhere near as severely as Paul had- but in my culture and among friends, I am looked down upon for my “naivety” in believing in the gospel of Jesus. I desire to struggle and labor more for the church and the unity among the body.
    5. In my present day, Jesus was never a mystery to me. I praise him for that- as I can know Christ now, and know him fully through his complete and perfect Word.

  13. Christina W. says:

    1. The mystery revealed is Christ (“Christ in you, the hope of glory”).
    2. Paul connects his struggle with that of Christ by connecting the affliction that he faced in proclaiming the Gospel with the suffering that Christ faced.
    3. Paul’s suffering included imprisonment, beatings, persecution, and even shipwreck.
    4. I do not suffer in the ways that Paul did by any means. The suffering that I face is not physical but is usually relational.
    5. I respond in awe and amazement at the grand plan of God and how in his sovereignty the mystery of Jesus unfolded.

  14. Emmy R says:

    1. The mystery is Jesus Christ, who is revealed when He came to earth.
    2. Paul compares his suffering of sharing the Gospel, to that of Christ’s difficulties of making Himself known.
    3. Paul struggled physically, and also spiritually as he was facing discouragement.
    4. I struggle with anxieties and fears.
    5. If I really take the time to think about it, it is truly indescribable that Christ would do something so incredible for me.

  15. Jung Kim says:

    1) Mystery is in fact in Christ and it is only revealed by Him and through Him.
    2) Paul is mirroring Christ’s suffering and is sacrificing for the church.
    3) Paul struggles both spiritually and physically. He describes his suggering in the flesh while he also struggled with preaching the gospel.
    4) I struggle in faith and patience…i always have hard time believing someone or even God at times. I suffer in the midst of growing spiritually and maturity.
    5) It amazes me that God has given me this great opportunity to be the coheir of Christ and that I get to see what He reveals to me. I am so thrilled and greatful for this.

  16. Molly says:

    1. The mystery that Paul is describing in the middle of the two paragraphs is Jesus Christ himself, whom God chose to reveal.
    2. Paul parallels his struggle with that of Christ by connecting the affliction that he faced in proclaiming the Gospel
    3. Paul suffers physically, emotionally and spiritually.
    4. I’m an American, the things I deal with you can not call suffering in comparison to the world.
    5. Gratitude and thankfulness that this mystery has been revealed to me and I am a co-heir with Jesus.

  17. Maria T. says:

    Can you explain how the word mystery sits in the center of the two paragraphs which start at v. 24? The first time it is mentioned, it is talking about the gospel which is the Word of God, and the second time, it is about Jesus dwelling in us. So, Jesus truly is the Word of God.
    How does Paul connect his struggles with those of Jesus? His sufferings connect to Christ’s because it is the natural result for a servant of Christ to suffer in the same way that Christ suffered. The afflictions that Christ suffered are being completed in the church’s suffering.
    How does Paul struggle and suffer? He suffered physically and struggled spiritually to present the church to God as mature.
    How do you struggle and suffer? I struggle in prayer and in other spiritual disciplines, and I suffer contempt, loss and pain when I hear others’ pain.
    How do you respond to the idea that God revealed a mystery when Jesus was revealed? He was from all eternity, yet He had not been made known. God reveals His very self in Jesus Christ. This is the most wondrous truth that could ever be told, and we cannot fully understand God’s mystery.

  18. 1. Christ is described as a mystery that is revealed to the Saints.
    2. Paul explains all the pain that he has endured for the gospel in the same way that Jesus has suffered for the gospel.
    3. Paul endured many trials as a follower of Christ. He endured beatings, persecution, has gone without food and water, and was shipwrecked. I think in this passage is specifically talking about the struggle and suffering of knowing that people are unsaved.
    4. While I don’t suffer as many physical pains as Jesus and Paul, I admit that I suffer with spiritual disciplines. Especially considering that I attend Moody, sometimes I find myself having a hard time praying, reading the Bible, and enjoying Christian fellowship.
    5. It gives me peace to know that I, and all other Christian scholars will never understand Jesus Christ, no matter how hard we try. I don’t have to spend years trying to figure Jesus out. He is not a math equation, He is a beautiful mystery.

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