The mystery or secret plan of God was partially alluded to in previous generations of the ancient Jews, but now the secret is out as Paul explains this mighty mystery, revealed to him by the Holy Spirit.
4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.
I love a good mystery, and when Paul refers to the mystery of Christ, it conjures up all sorts of images of what did I miss about who he is and what he came to do! We’ll spend eternity marvelling over who he is (love in its ultimate expression) and what he did (proved that love by sacrificing himself to bring you and me back to him), but at this point in history (or rather His Story) a mystery was revealed, utterly alien to previous generations.
Actually, the previous chapter already mentions this mystery, and it is that Jews and non-Jews (the rest of us, commonly called Gentiles at that time) are fellow citizens under God. And on a cosmic scale, the chapter before that refers to the mystery of God’s will – to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. As someone once described it, God’s kingdom is spiritual and encompasses the what-is-ness of what is, which includes both the seen and the unseen realms. So, whatever your view of the Cosmos is, we are a very special part of it, God’s inner circle, his family, along with our older siblings, the Jews.
Renowned theologian John Macarthur explains that there were many truths hidden and later revealed in the New Testament that are called mysteries. For me and all the non-Jews out there, this must surely rank as the most profound and welcome revelation we could ever imagine. How does that song go – We are family, brothers and sisters are we (well that’s my paraphrase anyway)!
It is significant that the unveiling of God’s mystery, or secret plan to reconcile the world back to himself, was via the Jews. Although the coming of Jesus to restore the kingdom of Israel was predicted by the Jewish prophets, no-one expected that plan to include the rest of humanity. Thank God for his mercy in offering eternal life to the rest of us too.
Prayer: Thank you Lord that your timing is always perfect, for your word says that at just the right time Christ died for us. Equally so, at just the right time, you unveiled the mystery, hidden for millennia, that your chosen people include both the Jews and the rest of humanity. We pray for our friends, family and all who don’t know you, that they may hear your knock on the door of their hearts, open that door, and invite you into their lives.
A song to listen to: Ancient of Days
Living Church – Creek Road