I want you to know how glad I am that it's me sitting here in this jail and not you. There's a lot of suffering to be entered into in this world - the kind of suffering Christ takes on. I welcome the chance to take my share in the church's part of that suffering.
When I became a servant in this church, I experienced this suffering as a sheer gift, God's way of helping me serve you, laying out the whole truth.
This mystery has been kept in the dark for a long time, but now it's out in the open.
God wanted everyone, not just Jews, to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their background, regardless of their religious standing. The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, therefore you can look forward to sharing in God's glory. It's that simple. That is the substance of our Message.
We preach Christ, warning people not to add to the Message. We teach in a spirit of profound common sense so that we can bring each person to maturity. To be mature is to be basic. Christ! No more, no less.
That's what I'm working so hard at day after day, year after year, doing my best with the energy God so generously gives me.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)