Read all of Colossians, the entire short book, everyday before you dissect the daily verse or passage. Today’s passage is Colossians 1:24
Colossians 1:24 ESV
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,
CONTEXT – PAST: answer what this verse meant in context to the original recipients in the past.
This passage is a difficult one. At first read, one might assume Paul is saying Jesus’ suffering needed some sort of addition, that somehow it was not complete. This is not what Paul is saying by any means. Thinking of the background of Paul and his contemporaries, they would have been waiting for the Messiah to save them from the horror of their current governmental state. The word afflictions is never used when talked about what Christ “suffered” on the cross. The early church, along with Paul, was very confident that Christ would return in their lifetime. I believe Paul was referring here to his “filling up” what must first take place in afflictions before Christ returns. (See Revelation 6:9-11.) Paul is not saying that his personal sufferings add to the gospel message. He is stating that he is excited that his hardships and sufferings are adding to what needs to take place in the church so that Jesus would come home as the true ruling Messiah at His second coming.
UNIVERSAL APPLICATION – EVERYONE: re-write the verse in your own words to reflect the universal truth that applies to everyone.
We must consider our suffering for the sake of the Cross a blessing that we would be counted as partakers in the end times before Jesus returns!
PERSONAL APPLICATION – PRESENT: what does this verse mean to you personally and how should you apply it today in the present.
This is an interesting passage for me. My own sufferings, while seemingly important and often hard, are nothing compared to the Christian martyrs of the past and those of the future tribulation. What an honor to be counted as worthy to truly suffer for Jesus.
TO MY READER: Share your thoughts in the comments. Feel free to share your entire PEP so we can learn from each other. Blessings! ~ Jen