A mystery is something strange or unknown, something that has been kept hidden and has not yet been explained or understood. Some people love the ‘mysterious’ and like to create that atmosphere of secrecy around themselves, a place, or a set of circumstances. The idea that certain information is only available to a select few, the initiated, can give a sense of power and control. But the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, is for all – for the whosoever chooses to believe.
The gospel is to be proclaimed, to be told, to spread into all of the world. What does the phrase mean then, “the mystery of the gospel?”
What is the Mystery of the Gospel?
The ‘mystery of the gospel’ is summed up in Jesus Christ, in His incarnation, life and ministry, death and resurrection. Jesus was vindicated by the Holy Spirit as the Son of God and now reigns in heaven interceding for those that He came to save.
When we acknowledge who Jesus is and recognise all that He has done for us, we begin to perceive and understand the mystery of the gospel. From our position in time, and our perspective, we come in wonder and awe at God’s mercy and grace. We are overwhelmed at the lavish love of God, that He should send His Son, to give His life as a sacrifice, to enable us to receive forgiveness for sin.
But for the apostles and the early church the mystery of the gospel was also a dramatic revelation that the Messiah came not only for Israel, but as the Saviour of the world. That the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, sought not only to restore Israel but to draw all people to Himself.
Now to him who is able to establish you in accordance with my gospel, the message I proclaim about Jesus Christ, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith – to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.Romans 16:25-27
What is the Mystery in Ephesians 3?
The apostle Paul writes about the mystery of the gospel – remember this is the man who initially opposed the gospel fiercely, and persecuted Christians.
In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 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. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.Ephesians 3:4-6
Paul experienced a dramatic conversion when on the road from Jerusalem to Damascus he encountered the risen Jesus. He was literally stopped in his tracks and he received full revelation of what had previously been hidden from him. Paul was a scholar, a Pharisee, someone who studied the law and the prophets, who knew Scripture – but he had not recognised Jesus as the Messiah.
Transformed by the Renewing of our Minds
In this encounter with the risen, resurrected Lord Paul received his commission to the Gentiles. To turn from being a Pharisee, to being a missionary to the Gentiles, was a miraculous transformation. Paul received the revelation of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and retained his awe and wonder at the wisdom of God. How the truth of the gospel had been hidden and was now being made visible by the Holy Spirit – this was now the time of God’s favour.
…..this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.Ephesians 3:8-11
The unity of the church, the possibility of there being one body united in Christ Jesus, speaks into the spiritual realm as only what God can do! This unity declare to the authorities in the heavenly realms, angels and demons, the infinite wisdom of God.
The Mystery of the Gospel Revealed
The revelation of Jesus Christ as Saviour of the world began long before His birth. It was there right at the beginning, at the fall in the Garden of Eden, there came a hint that God had the plan to restore His sin broken relationship with mankind.
The Old Testament prophets, inspired by the Holy Spirit, spoke out words pointing to the ‘Messiah,’ a Saviour, who would come to rescue God’s chosen people. Words that they did not fully understand, as they only caught a glimpse of God’s salvation plan.
It is in Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection that the mystery is revealed, the gospel, the good news, is for all mankind!
For here is the way God loved the world – he gave his only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in him will never perish but experience everlasting life.John 3:16 TPT
To Bethlehem & Beyond! 31 Daily Readings by Sharon Hazel
As we approach the Christmas Season do you find it difficult, among all the busyness, to focus on the reason we are celebrating? I have a new daily reading devotional for December which may help. It is available, on Amazon, Kindle and Paperback, UK, US.
‘To Bethlehem & Beyond’ travels through Scripture reflecting on God’s plan, the people, and the promises fulfilled. Each day has a Scripture reading, a short reflection, a take-away thought/question, a psalm verse and a prayer.