Verse for today – “By referring to this when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel (Eph. 3:4-6).”
Do you realize that before Jesus came to earth many of the prophecies about the Messiah were a mystery? The Old Testament speaks of a child that would be born and that the government would rest on His shoulders; yet, His name would be called, “…Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace (Is. 9:6).” What does this mean? How can a child be born who will be called Mighty God and Eternal Father? Now, many years later, God has revealed this mystery to us, and we know that God Himself came to earth as a little baby, born of an earthly mother, but also born the very Son of God. He is God who came to earth to show us His love and give His life on the cross for our sins. Mystery revealed!
Also, do you realize that before Jesus came to earth some of the descriptions of God’s chosen people were also a mystery? Abraham was chosen by God and brought into a covenant with HIM. The Israelites (the descendants of Abraham) were God’s chosen people! They were to be separate from the nations and were to live as God’s holy example to the world. Indeed, most of the Old Testament was written about, or written to, the Israelites and they were confirmed again and again as God’s chosen people. On the other hand, there are a few verses in the Old Testament that display God’s love for the rest of the world and these same verses hint at the idea that He may choose others as well. Notice in Psalm 2, God says to His Son, “You are My Son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession (Ps. 2:7-8).” Interesting! The nations will be His inheritance. Does this mean HE is choosing the whole world? Of course, God’s love for the world, and desire to choose a people for Himself from every part of the world, is the only idea we are familiar with in America in the 21st century; but it was altogether new for Jews and Gentiles alike in Christ’s day. Here is another example from the Old Testament. Even though non-Jews (Gentiles) were not allowed in the temple to worship and were considered to be far from God, we read the following in the book of Psalms: “Let the peoples praise You, O God; let all the peoples praise You. Let the nations be glad and sing for joy; for You will judge the peoples with uprightness and guide the nations in the earth (Ps. 67:3-4).” Question: how could the nations be glad if they were excluded as mentioned above? The answer is that, now, many years later, God has revealed this mystery to us as well. All who turn from sin and place their faith in Jesus will be forgiven and accepted! The Gentiles can become fellow heirs and fellow members of the body of Christ. Jesus said: “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out (John 6: 37).” He also said: “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day (John 6:40).”