This week we looked at one of the more controversial passages in Colossians. But context is key and Paul is skillfully subverting the foundations of the Roman Familia. If you are a Christian – the true authority of the family is Jesus himself. And if in the Roman Familia the Father has all the power, Paul is saying not so in the Christian home, because Jesus is the true master. Paul is walking a fine line here. He takes one of the most basic Roman institutions and reshapes it around Jesus, who rules the family with self-giving love. So, while Paul doesn’t critique the Roman house structure outright, he speaks to the reality that Jesus, Messiah, demands that it be transformed, almost beyond any recognition for any Roman living in Colossae. It is the Christ Familia. A family ordered by the lordship of Jesus Christ.
So you can only imagine how this speaks to us now. If the Christian household is different… if Paul is changing the status quo of how we live in our homes… what are the implications? Certainly, people are going to notice. They are going to wonder what kind of “ORDER” is provoking this? Where once there was judgment and fear, now there is grace and peace. There is greater emphasis on all people as members of God’s family.
You know, if we are honest there is an American Familia order that exists and is often at odds with the way of Jesus. Cynthia Keesmaat and Brian Walsh in their commentary of Colossians say this:
Life in America is like life in a cult. We’ve been recruited into behaviors and cultural patterns we did not consciously choose … Think of what it is you and your family chase. Is it this new order Paul speaks of… Respect, love, obey, honor, not embittering your children, doing what is fair and right? Or do you and your family chase “cultural patterns” you aren’t consciously choose. Theygo on to say,The bulk of our population is dreaming the same dream. It’s a dream of wealth, power, fame, plenty of sex and exciting recreational activities. (Colossians Remixed by Brian J. Walsh and Sylvia C. Keesmaat.)
Paul is asking, “Who rules your home? Is it Christ?” We are all bombarded by temptations to live the American Familia. To chase that dream of more money, recreation and power. And yet Jesus says there is not life to the fullest there… just as there wasn’t in the Roman order of familia. Life in America is often so hurried, frenzied and rushed. But Jesus calls us to slow down and be present with others and with God.
Many of us who have families are ordering the year ahead. Consider prioritizing the Christ Ordering which pushes back against the patterns of our culture.
*Regular Weekly Worship
*Daily table Fellowship with your family
*Weekly table Fellowship with other families
*Rest and weekly Sabbath
*Self-giving love exhibited to neighbor and friend.