I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.
This letter was one of the “prison epistles” written by the Apostle Paul, while imprisoned for preaching the Gospel. He had written this letter to the Colossian church while in a Roman prison. This was Paul’s first imprisonment, from which he would eventually be released to be later rearrested and martyred for his testimony of Christ. Paul tells us that he gladly endured the punishment for the sake of Jesus and the church. What Paul was experiencing was persecution intended for Jesus. As followers of Christ, we have to understand because of the wicked’s rebellion against God, the wicked hate Jesus and the things of God. And the closest they can come to attacking Jesus is to attack the ministers of His Gospel of Salvation. In other words to attack the people of God.
Paul also tells us he was given stewardship by God to preach the Gospel of Christ. A responsibility which he faithfully carried out, in his ministry. The term used here for “stewardship” was the term used for a slave who was given the responsibility of managing his master’s assets. To see to it that the master’s assets were properly used. In this case, the church was God’s household and Paul’s responsibility was to make sure he properly nourished believers in the word of God. The mystery to which Paul is speaking of is the Gospel. The news that Jesus who is very God, stepped out of eternity and took on humanity, so He could die on the Cross and reconcile sinful man back to a Holy God. The mystery is that God did this for us, because of His great love for us. God loves us so much that He Himself died for us, that we may live for Him.