Thursday - January 20th
Scripture to Read Today: Ephesians 1:3-14
With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment —to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
Miss Murphy, my third-grade teacher, read to her students for 15-20 minutes after lunch and mid-day recess every day. She turned the classroom lights out and had us rest our heads on our desks. As we rested our heads, Miss Murphy read a chapter in a book. One series of books she introduced to us was The Happy Hollisters by Jerry West. As students, we loved to hear Miss Murphy read, and there was nothing better than a good Happy Hollisters book!
The Happy Hollisters books have remained some of the most popular books for young readers for more than half a century. The kids in the fictional Hollister family regularly stumbled into all kinds of mysteries that needed to be solved. The mysteries were along the same line as other series of books - like Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.
At the story's climax, the culprit would be revealed, along with how he did what he did. The basic flow of each book resembled a Scooby Doo cartoon, but with more details and greater character development - oh, and no dog that sort of talked.
As students, we might fall asleep for portions of the books Miss Murphy read, but we would always wake up to hear the mystery's grand reveal. The way Jerry West wrote the books and how Miss Murphy read them left each of us on the edge of our seats, waiting for the story's outcome. As soon as the mystery was solved, we felt a sense of satisfaction. Yet, we were disappointed the story was over.
The Apostle Paul often mentions how the Good News of the Gospel remained a mystery for generations. Specifically, among the people of Israel, before Jesus walked on earth, they knew a Messiah was coming to save them. They knew His salvation would have different dimensions. They knew God had a plan.
God had used the prophets of Israel to reveal a lot about the life and ministry of the Messiah. There were even glimpses of His sacrifice and resurrection. But, the details as to how His plan of saving grace would fit into His eternal plan remained a mystery.
As Paul writes to the Ephesian church in the first century, he acknowledges in Ephesians 1:8-10 that God's plan of redemption is no longer a mystery. Christ had come, lived among us, suffered the agony of the cross, conquered the grave, and ascended to the Father. Through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ, anyone can now be saved from their sins. The Mystery is over.
How precious to know the reality of Christ rather than the mystery of Christ. Embrace the blessing of knowing God's plan as clearly laid out in His Word. Thank God for giving us the clarity of the Gospel!
Thank God today that the mystery is over and that you experience the reality of your salvation in Christ!