Colossians at Christmas – Day 25 – Merry Christmas!
Fulfill the Ministry
“And say to Archippus, ‘See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.’” Colossians 4:17 (ESV) For reference read Colossians 4:7-18.
Tychicus, Onesimus, Aristarchus, Mark, Barnabas, Justus, Epaphras, Luke, Demas, Archippus, Nympha – these are all names mentioned in the last section of Colossians. From the way Paul writes about them or refers to them (Barnabas is used mainly as a connection to Mark), they are all in gospel ministry. This is an encouragement to the church. One can assume that Paul mentions each person, believing that by doing so it will make an impact on the Colossian church.
Just before Paul signs off on this letter of reassurance to the Colossians, he instructs them to say these words to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received from the Lord.” I do not know the situation with Archippus. But his challenge for him is a good one for us today. The challenge also reflects the life of Jesus, the gospel itself.
Jesus, the whole reason we as Christians celebrate Christmas is to honor Him. From the lowliest entrance into the world to the cruelest death, Jesus was faithful to fulfill the ministry He received from the Lord. He was faithful to God. He was faithful to us.
False accusations, unbelief, hatred, betrayal were all encountered by the only sinless man who ever existed. Even His purity did not save His life. But it saved ours. Through His mighty power, He could have corrected all of the wrong being done to Him. But He did not. Not because He was weak, but because He was the only One who could fulfill the ministry set before Him – the world.
If you believe in Jesus – that He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died a torturous death, and rose again from the grave thereby conquering death – then you have a ministry before you. We are all called to fulfill the ministry of the gospel (Matthew 28:19-20). I know the temptation can be real and heavy to give up in any measure of the term. Life is hard and the One person who was able to live it sinlessly was murdered. What is our plight? The same sin that led to the death of Jesus is the same one that is in us. He came to redeem us. God in flesh – something never before seen or done – came to not only dwell on the earth, but to dwell in us. We no longer have to be plagued by sin. We get a new life in Christ, we get hope, we get Jesus Himself!
As I have reflected on this Christmas Day of 2022, there is a sense of bittersweetness and hope. I cherish Christmas memories and traditions. We made many today and leading into it. We potentially started new traditions. My heart swelled at the thought of giving our children gifts that would bring about much laughter and play. I reminisced on days gone by and loved ones who have passed, making each year even more different than before. Sadness and joy, love and longing, pain and peace. The gospel is ever present in these thoughts, largely because we have been so focused on it in Colossians during this advent.
I have been challenged greatly through this study. Truly, I would love to study Colossians even more! The message of the gospel keeps ringing in my head, daily challenging me in my responses – with my spouse, children, coworkers, friends, family. While I feel like I daily fail to communicate the gospel even solely in my responses, the failure draws me to the gospel. It draws me to grace. All sufficiency is in Christ. Who knew a baby born so long ago could be what I need – what we all need – the most?
Fulfill the ministry.