Is "receiving" Jesus a private, inward action?  Or is "receiving" him more of an outward public expression?

I’m looking through Colossians some more this weekend… and I’m curious about 2:6.  What did it mean for the Colossians to "receive" or "accept" Jesus?  What did they go through to "receive".  What changes did it mean to them in terms of their cultural surroundings, their family religious history, their jobs,  their school work, their social networks?  Did others know they
"received" Christ when it happened?  Was it a private moment?  Was it

I think the clues to all this lie prior to this verse… and after
it.  The whole book is the answer to my question… but I’m hoping some
of you will enter into the devotional with me this weekend and leave
some comments.  This way, I can learn from you too!



  1. Great comment Andrew. Thanks for that! For the Colossians, receiving Christ meant a real mess for them in terms of social relationships… and probably as a result economic and eventually political circumstances too. Rarely do we find in the New Testament how someone receives Christ and everything is smooth sailing from then on… I suppose too that receiving is an ongoing process, where we receive Jesus deeper and deeper into the core of who we are… and we evidence that more and more on the outside too. Good job, man… you got me thinking againg! 🙂

  2. When you say receiving, I assume that you mean something along the lines of conversion. Yes?
    Anyway, I wonder what is meant there? I cannot help but feel a deep frustration with the intellectual assent that most people pass off as that type of experience, but nor can I come up with a startling revelation that explains what happens when someone ‘accepts Jesus’.
    Along the lines of this post, however, I have an experience that might be revealing for someone smarter or better at drawing lines than I am. I was talking with my roommate the other day and like the cultural confusion which we find with reference to practices like Baptism, he was pointing out that most people seem to forget who Jesus was. He was indeed a man, but he was also a Jew living in the Second Temple Period who defied the norms of his Jewish culture enough that the religious leaders killed him for it. Accepting Jesus was not something that was done in a peaceful happy-go-lucky manner. This guy was a mess-maker.
    My question then, is there something about an ordinary, mundane, even bland and boring altar-call, that misses the necessity of the boldness, proactive nature of Jesus’ peaceful and yet in-your-face ministry? Might receiving Jesus actually be something we assent to once our lives and actions have already aligned with his path, whether that be bearing crosses or healing sickness?

  3. Paul, you’re awesome man. I can always count on you for a good solid comment… especially when everyone else seems so afraid. 🙂 You’re dead on with the tie in to baptism. That step would have made their “receiving” a huge deal. There was no quiet prayer in their heart and then not telling anyone about it. When they accepted Jesus, they proclaimed that step in front of their whole small town… all their family, friends, employers, pagan priests, grocery store clerks, everybody would have known about it. It’s a bit convicting, eh.

  4. I wonder how much this question correlates with how quickly new believers were baptized as well?
    I can’t remember where I heard or read it, but someone has suggested that people would often get baptized more than once as they would worship many gods…thus showing their commitment to those gods. So, when people experienced and embraced the One True God, Jesus Christ, they would obviously get baptized right away, showing their new allegiance to this God who is above all other gods! We don’t seem to get this in our culture today…we wait, often too long to obey God through baptism.
    Baptism is obviously an outward action and a public one, and I believe it is a wonderful expression of an inner and previous reality; that the person is now a follower of Jesus.
    When and how this person embraced Jesus could happen in private or in public…but the affects of such an experience must show itself outwardly in word and action.

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