1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
2To the saints and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
3In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 4for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel 6that has come to you. Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God. 7This you learned from Epaphras, our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, 8and he has made known to us your love in the Spirit.
9For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. 11May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
“May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power.” Colossians is one of those letters of Paul that implicates the author. The words simply sound different when we remember that Paul wrote under house arrest in Rome—the letter is called one of his “prison epistles.” The horizon of his life narrowing rapidly, Paul must have realized that his power to determine the course of his life was gone. His strength, then, did not come from himself, but from the God who sent him to preach to powers and principalities. It recalls words he wrote elsewhere, of God’s “power made perfect in weakness.” God’s power and will may have been his only consolations at this point in his life; and so, in captivity, Paul was uniquely suited to write to a struggling church dealing with a major conflict. “may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.” When our horizon narrows, then, God’s power gives us patient endurance and joyful thanksgiving because, no matter what we thought our lives were before, we have received more in our inheritance with all the saints in light.
Gracious God, let your light shine upon us, that we may be saved. Encourage us in patient endurance; let us receive your gifts with joy; and, in all things, unite us with the risen Jesus, to share in his new life, an inheritance which will never run out. We pray in Christ. Amen.