.. a bit of History first, so sit up at the back of the class and pay attention!


A reflection on the Sunday bible readings



SUNDAY 7 February 2021   


Colossians 1.15-20

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. 17He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together.18He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.


Gospel Reading: John 1.1-5

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.



In our epistle reading today, the writer (and scholars generally now agree that it was Paul) is addressing the church at Colossae.  Paul’s letters were often written as a RESPONSE to a particular issue or problem, so to understand this letter we need to understand the context Paul was writing into!


So a bit of Geography and History first, so sit up at the back of the class and pay attention!!!


The site of Colossae is in present day-Turkey. It was the ancient city of Phrygia, 12 miles south of Laodicea. The town had been of some importance as a trading centre and was on one of the major trade routes, although by the first century it had dwindled greatly in size and significance.


And as a result of those various cultural influences, the region seemed to borrow religious ideas from a wide variety of sources, from traditional Greek, Roman and Phrygian deities, and from Persian and Egyptian myths.  Such a rag-bag of ideas has leaked into the church

and so Paul writes to a church community who have picked up some pretty odd ideas.

Now it’s often said of our society that we have a ‘Pick and Mix’ kind of spirituality, taking bits from different religions and using what suits us – the church at Colossae were the same!


So what were some of these ideas? There were some people who were telling the Colossians that Jesus was not really God. Others were saying that Jesus had never really come to the earth as a human being. Still others were saying that salvation came from something other than Jesus Christ. All of these teachings led to false beliefs and false practices. Distracted them from what was really important! The Colossians needed to be reminded again of the foundation of their faith.


The words in our epistle reading paint a picture of Jesus that is high and lofty, using soaring rhetoric describing what has been called “the Cosmic Christ” This is a beautiful piece of writing about the nature and identity of Christ as both the One in whom all things were created and the Glorious Redeemer of all.


The claim that a Jewish carpenter’s son, living his whole life in the relatively small geographical confines of Palestine is the Lord of lords who rules the galaxies in supremacy –

such a claim scandalised Jews and Romans alike. Such a claim would challenge the believers at Colossae to rethink their faith and they should challenge us today.


For you, is Jesus just a good man, and an interesting moral teacher?

Or is he much, much more?

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