Colossians 3:1-4 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
See what Paul teaches you: You died! Yet your life still exists! It is hidden, safe and sound, in heaven with Jesus! When Jesus returns, you will be with him, glorified—that is, living eternally.
You died with Jesus in your Baptism. Romans 6:3 reads, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” Paul says it here again—through your Baptism, you died with Jesus. You do well to recognize this and to live this way.
But, just as Jesus’ story does not end with death, so neither does yours. You are united with Jesus and Jesus rose from the dead. You are united with him also in his Resurrection! The souls of all the faithful remain alive and in the protective care of Jesus, who reigns from heaven. You are assured that when Jesus returns on the last day, you will have your body and eternal soul reunited! You will be glorified with Jesus’ own glory.
Therefore, how ought you to live? Should you live in fear and worry, tossed to and fro by all the cares of this world? Should you live in terror of death? Should you live for pleasure—“let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die?”
No, this is keeping your mind on earthly things. The earth—with all its worries and terrors and pleasures will pass away—but Jesus lives forever. And through Jesus, you too will live forever. Therefore, set your mind on Jesus and the eternal life he grants to you. Amen.
Dearest Lord, amid all the troubles of this life, fix our eyes where true joy is to be found—in the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the glories that are granted to us through him; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Colossians 2:1-3 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.
What is Paul’s struggle for these Christians at Colossae that have never seen Paul in the flesh? Paul struggles mightily for these and all Christians (including you) so that they would be assured of “God’s mystery which is in Christ,” so that they would understand “God’s mystery which is in Christ,” and so that through knowing “God’s mystery which is in Christ,” you would see your heart knit together with the hearts of all other Christians (including even Paul) and that you would have great courage in this world.
So, this begs the question? What is this mystery that Paul speaks of? What is the mystery that unites you with other Christians? What is the mystery that fills you with courage in a dangerous and deadly world?
The mystery that Paul writes of…Jesus!
Paul wants us to be assured that Jesus is truly God, born into human flesh—fully God and fully man. Paul wants you to understand that Jesus has taken your sins upon himself and paid their price on the cross. Paul wants you to take courage that Jesus has risen from the dead and, because you are united with Jesus in your Baptism, that you will also rise to eternal life with Jesus! This is the mystery Paul wants you to know and believe.
So, why is it a mystery? Because human reason and wisdom can’t figure it out. You can think, and think, and think some more and you won’t figure it out. You can reason, ponder, translate, and work mathematical equations and you still won’t have a clue. This mystery isn’t one that is “figured out” or discovered—this mystery is only revealed by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit works through the Word and the Sacraments to make Jesus known to you this day! Believe it! And receive all the blessings that come through knowing the mystery of Jesus!
Dearest Lord, in your love you have made known your Son, Jesus Christ, and the forgiveness, life, and salvation that is hidden in him. Receive our thanks for all the blessings we richly receive through Jesus, and continue to make this mystery known to all people; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Luke 1:46-55 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown the strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
Friday, August 15th is the day that the Church remembers Mary, the Mother of Our Lord. That sounds odd, doesn’t it? How can God have a mother? Scripture teaches us that all things were created by the Father through Jesus and that Jesus existed before anything else in all creation—including Mary.
So, how could Jesus be born of the woman that he, himself, created? How could Jesus spend 9 months in a womb that was created through him? How is it that the God who created all things is now a helpless baby, nursing at a breast? How is it that the one before whom the holy angels bow is now submissive to his mother and dependent upon her for food and diaper changes?
This is the mystery of Jesus’ Incarnation. Although we have trouble coming to terms with it, the all-powerful, all-knowing, Creator and King of all things became a fetus. He became a helpless baby. He nursed and needed diaper changes and someone to make his lunch.
Jesus had no problem humbling himself on our behalf. He took upon himself our flesh and thus made all flesh holy. Jesus was cared for by a mother and thus blessed all motherhood. Jesus also took upon himself all sin—taking what is rightly ours—so that we could be like he is: living eternally with Jesus, holy in God’s sight, free from all sadness and oppression and danger.
Mary was a lowly woman. Jesus was born lowly. Jesus then took Mary, you, me, and all the other lowly people into his loving care to raise us all up on the Last Day.
Grant, we humbly pray, O Lord, to your servants the gift of your heavenly blessing that, as the Son of the virgin Mary has granted us salvation, we may daily grow in your favor; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Colossians 1:1-7 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth…
Faith, love and unity go together. They can’t be separated.
When one comes to a true and saving faith in Jesus Christ—by grace believing that Jesus died on the cross and rose again on Easter Sunday for our forgiveness—naturally causes us to love the Jesus who suffered all these things and gave all these things to us.
With our hearts filled in love for Jesus, we begin naturally to love other people. Sometimes people aren’t all that easy to love. And, if we’re honest with ourselves, we have to admit that we say and do things that make us difficult to love as well. But faith in Jesus naturally leads Christians to love each other. This is the peace that Paul talks about here.
As Christians love one another, they grow in unity. We are united in our faith; we are baptized into one Baptism; we have one Lord, Jesus Christ, one hope.
But still more will be added to the blessings we receive from Jesus. There is laid up for us treasures in heaven! There is promised to us the Resurrection of the faithful to eternal life. There is laid up for us fellowship with Jesus in the heavenly realms—where there will be joy and laughter forever.
Grant dearest Lord, that by the grace giving to us by our Lord, Jesus Christ, that we would enjoy peace and unity in our time, love for all people, and eternal joy in the world to come; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.