As with the letter to the Philippians, this letter is written by Paul and Timothy, possibly Timothy acting as a scribe to Paul's spoken words. I think we may have noted previously that Paul had trouble with his eyesight, so could only write in large letters (Galatians 6 v 11). This may possibly have been as a result of being blinded by the powerful light of Jesus when He met Paul on the Damascus road. Just another reminder that Paul was reliant on others to enable his ministry to be effective. We also read mention of Epaphras here. Both are commended by Paul with the titles, 'brother' and 'beloved co-worker': it is essential that no believer stand aloof from others. we should treat everyone alike as either brothers and sisters in Christ or in need of receiving that title.
Paul had never been to the great city of Colossae and so he begins by asserting his authority and right to send this letter to the church there. PAUL is delighted that the believers here are demonstrating the Law of love in their lives: love for their neighbours and loving faith in Jesus. This comes from and depend upon the hope which is laid up in heaven. Now, this hope is far deeper than some vague belief in rewards in the afterlife: what it is is a belief that God's way is the best way and the only way to lasting peace. Potentially, we look forward to suffering-if not ourselves then through supporting others-and to self-sacrifice, but with this comes peace which passes all understanding, coming from the heart of God who has everything under His control. Paul's testimony, found in 2 Corinthians 4: 'We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.'
Why did Paul and his friends do this? Because of the Gospel. Why should they commit so much effort to this?
1. It is the Good News of God.
2. It is truth.
3. The Gospel is universal. It is open to absolutely everyone and it's free!
4. It is productive. It bears fruit and increases.
5. It tells of God's grace. The Son of God didn't come to judge the world, but to save it!
6. It is only transmitted by humans. Just as we avoid human contact at present, because of the pandemic, so the reverse is true of the Gospel: only through human contact and communication can others know the Good News of the Gospel.