Love a Good Mystery?

I do. I enjoy trying to put the clues together and guessing “whodunit.” I’m motivated by trying to find the right answer, whether it’s in a book, a movie, or even one of those high school Algebra word problems that everyone else seems to detest. The satisfaction of finding the right answer made it worth the searching or figuring it took.

The Bible also speaks of a mystery, one that started even before the world was created. According to the apostle Paul, it was a “hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages….” (1 Corinthians 2:7-8). For a long time, according to “His good pleasure,” God kept His people in suspense about the mystery. He was waiting for what He called “the fullness of time” (Ephesians 1:9, 10).

For several generations, God dealt mostly with his chosen people, the descendants of Abraham. He directed them and worked with them, fed and fathered them, punished and rewarded them. They were His special children. Hebrews 11 lists some of the most faithful: the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; judges Gideon and Samson; King David; the prophet Samuel. Although they were obedient to God, they couldn’t comprehend the end of the story, because it hadn’t been revealed. Their prophets would speak of something better to come, of a descendant through whom the whole world would be blessed (Genesis 12) and of a new covenant that would be written on hearts instead of stone (Jeremiah 31:31). But God didn’t reveal the mystery even to the prophets (1 Peter 1:10-12).

By the time Paul was on the scene, hundreds of years later, the mystery “kept secret since the world began” had been made manifest, even to all nations (Romans 16:25-27). Part of the mystery had to do with allowing Gentiles into the kingdom of God. They were to be “fellow heirs” and “partakers of His promise” (Ephesians 3:3-6). Paul was an instrument by which that mystery was to be revealed to the world.

And what was that mystery? Succinctly stated in 1 Timothy 3:16: “Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory.” Jesus Christ is the revelation of the mystery of God. In Him we will receive “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” which are hidden in both God the Father and God the Son. (Colossians 2:2-3).

Another part of the mystery is yet to be revealed. “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)

Yet, great satisfaction comes from knowing the end of a mystery — especially if it’s an outcome even better than you had hoped for.