Give us a clue
“Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it—the Lord is his name: Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”
Jeremiah 33:2-3 (ESV)
I enjoy reading detective novels for light reading. Apparently whodunits and mysteries are some of the stories we all like best. To be a good mystery, the ending must be something we didn’t see coming, and something that, once we’ve seen it, we say, ‘Of course!’ And we enjoy the reassurance that we have justice as the story comes to an end.
They’re just the work of our imagination. But think about God for a moment – throughout the ages he has been a bit of a mystery too. There were hints and clues in the Hebrew scriptures about him, but they were missed or misinterpreted, so when we come to Jesus’ day, the nation was somewhat in the dark.
In detective books, there’s a crime somewhere in the story, usually towards the beginning. However, in the Bible we had a theft to begin with. Death came much later, and it came as a surprise as it was Jesus who was murdered. Had anyone seen that coming?
Like detective stories the answers begin to be revealed towards the end of the book. As we move into the writings of the early church the unveiling starts, and we begin to learn who this man was, who was killed and who killed him, and the reason behind this death. It was principally given to Paul to explain it. He is the Poirot or Miss Marple of God’s hidden mystery.
In unwrapping this mystery, Paul concentrates on the identity of the man who was killed. He wrote to the Colossians that God’s mystery is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:2-3). So the mystery is a person. But there’s more. He also tells them that the riches of the glory of this mystery is, ‘…Christ in you, the hope of glory.’ (Colossian 1:27). And to the Ephesians he wrote that: ‘This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.’ (Ephesians 3:6).
So the mystery is Christ; it is also Christ in us, and that we are heirs to the promise through him. Did we see that coming? And yet there’s more: he has made known to us, ‘… the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.’ (Ephesians 1:9-10).
It is true we still see through a glass darkly, but surely that’s more than enough to be going on with!
Father, we give you thanks that you have revealed what you are doing to us, enough for us to understand and praise you, and to be able to share it with others, so they too can know. Amen.
Study by Hilary Buck
About the writer:
Hilary Buck is a minister and pastors the Lewes congregation of Grace Communion International.
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