Thursday, February 9, 2023
“Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church” (Colossians 1:24 KJV).
Did Jesus Christ suffer enough to pay for our sins? Then how can Paul “fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ?”
Observe the circumstances surrounding the conversion of Saul of Tarsus (later the Apostle Paul): “And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks” (Acts 9:1-5).
Saul was abusing Israel’s believing remnant, the Little Flock, the Messianic Church, yet the Lord Jesus said, “Saul, thou art persecuting Me!” Jesus was in Heaven, but His saints were on Earth suffering the pain that sinful man would have inflicted upon Him if He were still present with them. Again, it was not, “Saul, thou art persecuting My people!” Rather, it was, “Saul, thou art persecuting Me!” The Lord is one with His saints.
Later in this chapter, the Lord told Ananias (a member of the Little Flock in Damascus): “Go thy way: for he [Saul/Paul] is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake” (verses 15,16). These “great things he must suffer for my name’s sake” bring us to today’s Scripture. Paul has been in ministry for over 30 years now, suffering for the same Jesus Christ that the Messianic Jews followed when he (Saul) was distressing, torturing, imprisoning, and killing them….