Colossians 4:2ff: Final Exhortations
I. Final Exhortations
“Continue earnestly in prayer”: Another translation is to“be devoted”. The Greek “proskartereo” means to attach oneself to, to wait on someone, to be busily engaged; prayer should be our occupation. Once again the essence of the Christian life is to be immersed in the presence of God, and prayer is essential to this awareness. Within Orthodoxy, the Jesus prayer has emerged as an effective tool to keep one’s mind immersed in the presence of God. The prayer is short and thus can be said often. Here is the most common form of the prayer: “O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.”
- being vigilant: be alert. This is a constant refrain through all the ascetical literature of the Church. The Christian must guard the heart, watch the senses, don’t let anything foreign into the heart. This is key to the battle.
-St. John Chrysostom “"We must pray with ever vigilant attention. And this will be possible if we understand well with whom we are conversing, and that during such time we are his servants offering sacrifice to God.”
-St. John of the Ladder says: "Even if your mind is constantly distracted from your prayer, you must struggle unceasingly to recall it. We shall not be condemned because our attention was distracted in prayer, but rather because we did not attempt to bring it back."
-with thanksgiving: not frantic prayer or fearful prayer but trust in God demonstrated through thanksgiving.
3 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, 4 that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
- Paul asks that they might prayer for him to fulfill his mission in Rome which is to bring the Gospel to as many as possible.
5 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
Wisdom is the ability to know and live according to God’s will. Rather than esoteric knowledge which did not transform, Christians needed practical knowledge which came from God.
- “to those who were outside”: This was important because of early slander given against the early Christians (treason, cannibalism, child sacrifice, incest).
- redeem the time: buying up every opportunity for the Gospel.
-speech with grace: salt was precious commodity; it was a preservative; our speech should bring grace to people rather than take away.
7 Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me. 8 I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that he* may know your circumstances and comfort your hearts,
-Tychicus was the one who delivered the letter. Tradition has Tychicus becoming the bishop of Caeserea.
9 with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will make known to you all things which are happening here.
-the slave who ran away from his master Philemon in
10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, with Mark the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him),
-Aristarchus had been with Paul when they were mobbed in Ephesus. He later became bishop of Apamea in Syria.
- Mark (the gospel writer) Acts 15
11 and Jesus who is called Justus. These are my only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are of the circumcision; they have proved to be a comfort to me.- not much is known of the man Justus. One tradition has him the son of St. Joseph the Betrothed, and later a bishop in Eleutheropolis where he eventually died a martyr.
- Demas: He is tragic story. Demas obviously was a traveling companion of Paul but in 2 Tim 4:10 we discover that he eventually deserts the faith
-.Nymphas: Many manuscripts and translations have this as a woman.
-Archippus: was possibly a young deacon in the Church; later tradition has Archippus as a priest in Laodicea dying as a martyr.