Today, we come to the end of Concordia's "Word for Today" readings for the year. Over the past twelve months, we have read together through the New Testament, one chapter a day. For me, this program has been a tremendous blessing as I have been able not only to read these chapters, but also to write on them. As the next year begins, we will once again be reading through the New Testament in a year. You can pick up a copy of the "Word for Today" reading schedule in the narthex, or you can download it as a pdf on this website.
Now, as we wrap up our "Word for Today" readings, we finish with Colossians 4. Paul's letter to the church at Colossae was probably written some time around AD 60 while the apostle was languishing in prison in Rome awaiting a hearing before Caesar, after being accused by his fellow countrymen of "teaching all men everywhere against [the Jewish] people and their law" (Acts 21:28). Aware that his death is likely imminent, Paul appeals to the Colossians:
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. (verses 2-4)
Paul, while he is unjustly incarcerated, asks the Colossians to devote themselves to prayer and, specifically, to prayer for him. He asks that they would pray that "God may open a door" (verse 3). But fascinatingly, he doesn't ask them to pray that "God may open a door" in prison so that he may gain his freedom; rather, he asks that they pray that "God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ." In other words, Paul, even while he is in prison, does not ask for prayers for his own wellbeing, but for the wellbeing of the Word of God and the Gospel of Christ! For Paul, proclaiming the Scriptures is more important than his personal safety, comfort, or even life! For Paul, it's all about proclaiming God's Word clearly!
What is the center of your life? Is it God's Word? Or, do other personal preferences, concerns, and comforts get in the way? As we enter the new year, before any other prayer, may Paul's prayer be your first: That God would open a door for you to proclaim the mystery of Christ clearly, as you should. For there is no greater treasure on earth than God's Word and Gospel.
"Whoever believes and holds to Christ's Word, heaven stands open to him, hell is shut, the devil is imprisoned, sins are forgiven, and he is a child of eternal life. That is what this book teaches you - the Holy Scripture - and no other book on earth."