Oct18MonOctober 18, 2021
Good morning church,
Do you love a good mystery? When I was young, I used to read the Hardy Boys, a series of stories about two brothers who used to solve cases adults could not (and Nancy Drew, their female counterpart). The books captivated you, and drew you in because you were emotionally involved in finding out the solution to the puzzle. Then there was Scooby-Doo, a cartoon series about four teenagers and a Great Dane dog, who formed Mystery Inc. – an investigation unit to search out false para-normal activities, arriving in their psychedelic van called the Mystery Machine. I could go on and on, about Agatha Christie, the Pink Panther, etc. But, my favorite as I grew older was Columbo, the famous murder detective, who spent the whole show putting together all the pieces of the puzzle, and finally arriving at the revealing of the mystery to answer the “who did it” question. Good mysteries are always an entertaining pass-time; it’s just hard to find a decent one on television that would not make the vilest criminal blush. Thankfully, there are lots of retro stations that play the old television shows from a time when family viewing meant just that – you could watch it with the whole family, including Jesus sitting beside you – not so today! I digress…
In our passage today, we find this word “mystery” repeated four times. We already encountered it in Ephesians in chapter 1, verse 9. The word is used some twenty-eight times in the New Testament (depending on the translation you use). In the Gospels, the Greek word is translated “secrets” (Matt. 13:11; Mk. 4:11; Lk. 8:10). It refers to Kingdom truths available to those who seek them out, and are spiritually ready to have them revealed. In these Gospel texts, these “secrets” are cloaked in the parables of Jesus. One who has been born again, and entered into the Kingdom through the new birth, is allowed to partake of the mysteries of the Kingdom – it is Christ Himself that reveals them to you.
The term is used primarily by the Apostle Paul in his letters. It always refers to the revealing of a facet of the Gospel. Look at Romans 16:25: “Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past”. Again in 1Corinthians 2:7: “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory” (NKJ). So it is a mystery that has really always been there, that has now been revealed because of the Kingdom arriving in Jesus, and His followers being spiritually awakened to see the mystery. So what is the mystery you asked?
The mystery is the Gospel of Jesus Christ: Here are the components as they appear in our Bibles.
For our purposes, the great mystery revealed is that we Gentiles (non-Jews) are included in the plan of God. Actually, now that we have eyes to see the truth, we realize that God has been giving clues to the world throughout history. He promised to Abraham that through him, all the nations of the Earth would be blessed (Gen. 12:3). He rescued a gentile woman named Rahab out of Jericho; He delivered Nineveh, that pagan nation, by the preaching of Jonah; He prophesied through Isaiah a time when salvation would come to the Gentiles (Isa. 9:1; 49:6); and He declared through the prophet Joel that He would poor out His Spirit on all people (Joel 2:28-29).
In Ephesians 3:1-9, Holy Spirit is making plain the mystery of God, through Paul, that salvation is available for all, not just God’s Israel. It was Paul’s ministry and privilege to preach this great truth to the Gentiles – Salvation was for all people! What does this mean for us – 3 things? Here it is in one verse: “This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are 1heirs together with Israel, 2members together of one body, 3and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 3:6) We receive an inheritance, which is eternal life, plus all the spiritual blessings in Christ. We are Christ’s body, along with the Jews. And, we partake of the promised Holy Spirit, sealing our inheritance (Acts 2:33). The mystery is revealed to all who want to know it! The mystery is good news! The clues have always been there; we just needed spiritual eyes to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Now we have them through Christ, and we can share the mystery of God’s great plan of salvation with others! Go and preach the good news of the Kingdom – that salvation in Christ is available for all who believe.
Have a great week!