“…that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ.” (Eph. 3:3, 4)
I love mysteries. They are my favorite fiction genre. Part of the fun in reading mysteries is trying to figure out the mystery before the writer can reveal it at the end of the book.
From the very moment of the fall, God began to give clues about the mystery he had created for mankind. Try as they might, mankind could not unravel the mystery. It was too deep. The clues were there, but they were difficult for mere humans to solve. Even angels tried to solve the mystery, but they weren’t able to either (1 Pet. 1:12). Only God himself knew this mystery, and he wasn’t saying flat out. He did offer clue after clue, but it was too much for man to grasp.
What was the mystery of Christ? That he would die for all men, not just those of the Jewish race. God intended to bring the Gentiles into his family, and this was a mystery to a people who thought they were the single chosen people of God. The Jewish leaders were certain that the Christ would come to disenfranchise the Gentiles. This Christ would restore physical Israel to the world power, and the Gentiles would be subjugated under their feet.
The Jewish nation had trouble accepting the reality of the Christ as a savior of all men. That God would save the world by sending his only son to the cross was a complete surprise to the Jews, and they totally rejected the idea. There were so many promises made through the Jewish scriptures about the Christ, but the reconciliation of Jew and Gentile was not one they ever grasped. It was a mystery beyond their comprehension.
For many today, the saving work of Jesus the Christ on the cross of Calvary is still a mystery. It is often denied by the world as non-sense. The whole story of God offering his son as a sacrifice for sins is foreign to the world’s way of thinking. Many do not claim the cross because they are convinced that God will save everyone in spite of the cross. They fail to understand the great mystery that God is offering everyone salvation through his son’s death. That is God’s gift of grace. Many do not claim the cross because they think it is nonsense and they believe they can be saved by their own good deeds.
The faithful saints in Ephesus were mainly Gentiles. What marvelous news that God loved them as much as he loved the Jews, that he extended his grace to them the same as to the Jews. There is no longer Jew and Gentile, but now all are one in Christ Jesus our Lord. What a mystery, “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)