The mystery of the Messiah
When Paul wrote his letter to the believers in Colossae, he was in prison for preaching the gospel. He wasn’t living the good life…at best, he was spending his days chained to a Roman guard. Quite possibly, he was chained to a dungeon wall. And at the end of his letter, Paul understandably asks for prayer.
If you were Paul, what would you ask them to pray?
Honestly, if I were in that situation, I’d be asking for people to be praying that I’d get out of there. By my reasoning, prison would be limiting to the ministry that God gave Paul on the road to Damascus so many years prior. He could reach so many more people with the Good News of Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection if he were free to move about the world. Instead, Paul’s on lockdown. But Paul doesn’t ask for prayer about that. Take a look at what he asks instead:
At the same time, pray also for us that God may open a door to us for the message, to speak the mystery of the Messiah – for which I am in prison – so that I may reveal it as I am required to speak.
Paul’s focus isn’t on where he is at the moment. His location isn’t his primary concern. Instead, Paul is watching for God to provide opportunities for the message, to speak the mystery of the Messiah.
Jesus – the Messiah – coming to earth as humanity’s only option for rescue is a mystery to everyone outside of God’s family. Why would the King of the Universe choose to be born a helpless baby, whose primary goal in life was to die for something that wasn’t His fault? Why would someone so limitless choose to be so limited?
Those are legitimate questions, and there are many more that people will honestly ask about the mystery of the Messiah. We need to be watching for opportunities to share the message that gives Eternal Life and hope for the here and now. Paul knew that he had to lift his eyes above his circumstances…he didn’t need to focus on his current difficulties or limitations, instead he needed to watch for opportunities to reveal the Good News to others around him.
We Christians have a unique opportunity every year at this time to share the mystery of the Messiah. For the weeks leading up to Christmas and for a short time after, everyone seems to be a little more open to thinking about spiritual questions and how God interacts with their lives. I pray that you’ll be looking for these opportunities instead of looking at your current limitations. Be ready and willing to share Jesus with those who so desperately need Him.