Life Is A Mystery…
With perplexing twists and surprising turns, some with happy endings and others not so pleasant.
The best kind of mysteries are those that are solved. Which is why some people like to work daily puzzles. Life is complicated and challenging; but they can solve a picture, or word, or number puzzle by putting the pieces in all the right places. And why many love a good mystery novel or movie, be it romance or crime or both. The best kind of solving is done by someone who knows all about the mysterious plots and enigmatic people that are an integral part of the human puzzle. Especially the one who created the pieces.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
Although I don’t read murder mysteries, I do watch them on film. Including what is probably the most well-known, if not the most read and watched murder mystery of all time—Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie. Or the Sherlock Holmes series by Arthur Conan Doyle.
On the one hand I find murder mysteries intriguing, some even fascinating. And, I fully appreciate the need for real-life detectives to solve murders and for our courts to dispense justice.
On the other hand, I flinch at the idea that we are repeatedly entertained by plots that revolve around murder. Does the sheer number of murder mysteries that saturate literary and film venues desensitize us to the ugly act of murder, couched in the exhilaration of “solving” the crime? With the satisfaction of figuring out whodunnit softening the fact that a brutal killing is the trigger point (pun intended) for such gratification.
I’m wondering if there isn’t enough engagement in and with non-fiction works—especially the Bible—or even in historical novels to stimulate our curiosity and challenge us to seek reality resolutions to life’s mysteries, including our eternal destiny.
To be sure, even the Bible records several incidents of murder; beginning when Cain killed his brother, Abel. We see the worst of what people can do: the premeditated preemption (taking) of a human life created in God’s image. God considers murder (not killing in war or self-defense) a capital crime, punishable by death. Yet, there is no real intrigue nor crime (suspect) to solve in Scripture; except to figure out such things in the greater context of the Mystery of Iniquity.
Indeed, there are mysteries in Scripture. In fact, the very idea and definition of that which is mysterious stems from the Bible. As does the fact that all mysteries mentioned in Scripture pertaining to life and death, redemption and the end times have been revealed or unveiled. That doesn’t mean we fully understand all of them this side of heaven (or hell). But we can know enough to appreciate them and to make decisions where decisions are required.
Mysterious: “1 a: of, or relating to, or constituting a mystery (the ways of God) b: exciting wonder, curiosity, or surprise while baffling efforts to comprehend or identify” (Webster’s Dictionary, parenthesis are in the text).
Notice that the first definition of mysterious relates to “the ways of God.”
Also, Webster’s primary definition of mystery pertains to God. The English word mystery is an almost exact transliteration from the Greek word, mysterion. Most know that the New Testament was originally written in Greek.
Mystery: “1 a: a religious truth that man can know by revelation alone and cannot fully understand.”
Because of the advent of crime novels, Webster’s Dictionary was compelled to include one feature of mystery as: “2 d: a piece of fiction dealing usually with the solution of a mysterious crime.”
Notice, however: Webster’s qualifies that revealed mysteries cannot be fully understood. With, I’m sure, the emphasis on “fully.” If Webster’s Dictionary had said that (any of God’s) revelations cannot be understood at all, then that would be a direct contradiction of Scripture.
The Mysterious Plan of God Unveiled
A companion definition of mystery in Webster’s Dictionary is: “2 a: something not understood or beyond understanding.”
For sure there are physical and spiritual phenomenon from the beginning of time that we cannot fully wrap our minds around. Such as the origin and dynamics of gravity. Or the magnificent Trinity of the Godhead. One God in Three Persons … Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
When the word mystery or mysterious is used in Scripture it is always accompanied by the revealing or unveiling of that secret; enough for us to comprehend it as a matter of fact and belief. Especially God’s source of salvation, acceptance or rejection of which will determine our eternal destiny.
Let’s begin with a reference to a mystery in the New Testament, with “full understanding” that the New Covenant—first revealed in-depth by the Jewish prophet Jeremiah in Chapter 31—had replaced the Levitical sacrificial system of the Old Covenant. However, comprehension of this mystery is available only to those (believers) who have believed and received the mediator of the New Covenant … the Jewish Messiah Jesus of Nazareth.
Wrote the Apostle Paul:
“And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather then using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.
“…I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to the world or to the rulers of this world, who are soon forgotten. No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began. But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.’
“But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets… no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us… But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it…” (I Corinthians 2:4-14, parenthesis in the text).
Another use of the word mystery is found in the book of Romans. In this passage Paul has just emphasized that the Lord did not completely cast off his chosen people the Jews, nor did they permanently “stumble and fall beyond recovery.” (Romans 11:11). Chapters 9, 10, & 11 should forever silence those who subscribe to Replacement Theology; the grievous error that the true Christian Church has replaced Israel concerning all Old Testament prophecies that speak of Israel’s (the nation of … Jews) physical and spiritual restoration.
Paul is speaking to the Gentile believers: “I want you to understand this mystery dear brothers and sisters, so that you will not feel proud about yourselves. Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of Gentiles comes to Christ. And so all Israel will be saved…” (Romans 11:25-26).
Although most of the early Christians were Jews and the Gospel went first to the Jew and then to the Gentile (Romans 1:16), it was a mystery to the Gentile Christians why so many Jews refused to believe in the risen Messiah, Jesus. Some of these Gentile believers had even assumed an attitude of superiority. But only because they didn’t grasp God’s ultimate (mysterious, but nevertheless revealed) plan that only a remnant of Jews would acknowledge and accept Jesus as their Messiah and Savior. That is, until the last days when “all Israel will be saved.”
(See Eye of Prophecy article: Salvation … “To the Jews First” Posted 3-26-15)
Which is why Paul also told the Gentile believers:
“…This message about Jesus Christ has revealed his plan for you Gentiles, a plan kept secret from the beginning of time. But now as the prophets foretold and as the eternal God has commanded, this message is made known to all Gentiles everywhere, so that they too might believe and obey him. All glory to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, forever. Amen” (Romans 16:25-27).
The Gentile Christians needed to remember: They had not replaced the Jews (Israel); rather they been added (“grafted in”) to the prophetic tree of Israel. It was through Israel and the Jews that salvation would come, just as the prophets said. Specifically, salvation was exclusively in the long-awaited Jewish Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, who said himself that salvation comes through the Jews (John 4:22).
Said the Jewish Apostle Peter: “For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:11-12).
Another remarkable revelation that was no longer a mystery is that both Jew and Gentile are now one in Messiah. No more inequality or separation by status, which also included men and women, slave and free.
“…If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ … The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian. For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus… There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:21-28).
All these mysteries (revealed) were integral component parts of the greatest mystery of all so wonderfully unveiled. Said the Apostle Paul:
“Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith: Christ was revealed in a human body… (I Timothy 3:16a).
In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, we are told unequivocally that Messiah is the Son of God and God the Son. Thus, Christ (Jesus) is fully God and fully man.
The Mystery of Melchizedek
Particularly to the Jews, I don’t suppose there’s any more mysterious person in the Hebrew Bible (referred to commonly by Gentiles as the Old Testament … Old Covenant) than Melchizedek. Were it not for the New Testament book of Hebrews, the unique relevance of this man would remain a mystery. Which tracks with the oft quoted and reliable premise: The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed; the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.
Melchizedek is only mentioned twice in the entire Jewish Tanach (Old Testament); both times it is only a brief reference. Yet, the descriptive narrative of this mysterious man is stunning in scope and substance.
Our first glimpse of this exceptional man is found early in the book of Genesis.
“After Abram returned from his victory over Kedorlaomer and all his allies, the king of Sodom went out to meet him in the valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). And Melchizedek, the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High, brought Abram some bread and wine. Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing: ‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who has defeated your enemies for you.’
“Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the goods he had recovered” (Genesis 14:17-20, parenthesis in the text).
That’s it … just four short verses. As abruptly as Melchizedek appeared on the scene, he was gone. Not to be heard from again until King David mentions him some 1,000 years later.
A brief back story: As you may recall, Abraham had won a great battle against four kings and their armies, probably numbering in the thousands. The reason Abraham went to war (against all odds) was to rescue his nephew Lot and Lot’s family who had been taken captive when the four kings defeated five other kings in battle, including the king of Sodom.
Although not as well-known or remembered as Gideon’s victory with 300 soldiers over thousands of Midianites (Judges Chapters 7 & 8), Abraham was also victorious with only, “…318 trained men who had been born into his household” (Genesis 14:14).
This was no less a miracle than Gideon’s stunning triumph. Which is why Melchizedek said that the Most High God defeated your enemies for you. Obviously, Abraham and his men had to fight; however, unless the Lord had providentially protected and supernaturally supported Abraham, the battle would not have been won.
Who Was Melchizedek?
Abraham’s reverence of Melchizedek’s position and authority is reason enough to attach substantial significance to this man. However, if his appearance to Abraham was the only record of Melchizedek, he would remain an unsolved mystery.
Let’s fast forward a thousand years later to King David who reintroduced Melchizedek alongside (and in the greater context) of the Messiah. David begins this Messianic Psalm by saying (speaking):
“The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet’” (Psalm 110:1).
This is an astonishing statement made by David, so let’s pause here for a moment. In no uncertain terms, David is saying that the LORD (Yahweh … I AM) is speaking to another Lord (David’s Lord) who would sit at the right hand of the throne of God after the enemies of David’s Lord have been soundly defeated.
Who is David’s Lord?
Believers, both Gentiles and Messianic Jews know that this Lord is the Messiah who would (historically now) arrive 1,000 years later … Jesus of Nazareth. Most observant Jews, including Rabbis, offer sparse commentary on this passage, but it’s evident that some equate David’s Lord to the Messiah. Who else could he be? It’s just that they don’t combine Psalm 110 with Psalm 2; therefore, they dismiss out of hand any such person as the Son of God.
Consequently, some contend that David is identifying the nation of Israel, despite the clear evidence that David is referring to a person, both grammatically and contextually. They make the same mistake in Isaiah 53, by saying that the suffering servant is Israel, not a person (the Messiah). Or that there are (will be) two Messiahs (See Eye of Prophecy article: More Than One Messiah? Posted 12-5-15).
So, let’s switch to Psalm Chapter 2 for a moment.
“For the Lord declares, ‘I have placed my chosen king on the throne in Jerusalem, on my holy mountain” (Psalm 2:6). *Note: The king cannot be (all) Israel, nor will Israel be “placed on the throne in Jerusalem.”
Continuing with the king making a personal statement as to what the Lord promises:
“The king proclaims the Lord’s decree: The Lord said to me, ‘You are my son. Today I have become your Father. Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession’” (Psalm 2:7-8).
Now that’s a mystery! The king is the Messiah, but he is also God’s Son … both man and God. It was a mystery revealed, but also a mystery (partially) concealed until the birth and life of Jesus at God’s appointed time.
That’s affirmed later in the chapter: “Now then, you kings, act wisely! Be warned, you rulers of the earth! Serve the Lord with reverent fear, and rejoice with trembling. Submit to God’s royal son, or he will become angry, and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities—for his anger flares up in an instant. But what joy for all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 2:10-12).
Messiah Jesus sometimes quoted the Old Testament when challenged by the Jewish religious leaders or when challenging and correcting their deliberate or careless (inadvertent) mishandling of Scripture. Although Israel ardently anticipated the coming of Messiah, even the observant among them missed or ignored their own scriptures as to who Messiah would be. Which is why they wanted to kill Jesus … because he claimed to be not only the Messiah, but also the Son of God, as well as God (the Son).
Jesus asked the religious leaders a thought-provoking question, directly related to Psalm 110:
“Why is it … that the Messiah is said to be the son of David? For David himself wrote in the book of Psalms: The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.’
“Since David called the Messiah, ‘Lord,’ how can the Messiah be his Son?” (Luke 20:41-44).
It was a rhetorical question. The only way that Messiah could be both David’s son (of physical lineage) and David’s Lord is for the Messiah to also be God. To any Jew of the 1st century or any century to this very day who is sincerely seeking the truth of Messiah’s identity, Jesus’s illustration should remind them of Psalms 110 (which Jesus quoted).
And, of Isaiah’s breathtaking description of the Messiah: “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
And Micah’s powerful prophecy that the coming Messiah would pre-date King David by infinity: “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah (where Jesus was born of a Virgin … Isaiah 7:14) are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past” (Micah 5:2, italics for emphasis, parenthesis mine).
Said Jesus to the crowd: “Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.
“The people said, ‘You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?’
“Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I AM!’” (John 8:56-58).
Returning to Psalm 110 and Melchizedek
Now, David brings Melchizedek into the picture.
“The Lord has taken an oath and will not break his vow: ‘You (the king, David’s Lord, the Son of God) are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek’” (Psalm 110:4, parenthesis mine).
Why does David even bring up Melchizedek is this passage?
The answer is found is Genesis Chapter 14 that we already read: Melchizedek is both King and Priest! Messiah would be the everlasting Priest in/after the order (prototype) of Melchizedek. As well as the King who would rule from Jerusalem, whose kingdom would also be forever.
This is remarkable because the Mosaic Law subsequently disallowed anyone from being both a priest and a king at the same time.
Judah’s King Uzziah learned this the hard way. Although he reigned for 52 years (beginning in 792 B.C.), and God used him to prosper Judah both economically and militarily, Uzziah decided he could also be a priest.
“But when he had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall. He sinned against the Lord his God by entering the sanctuary of the Lord’s Temple and personally burning incense on the incense altar. Azariah the high priest went in after him … confronted Uzziah and said, ‘It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord. That is the work of the priests alone, the descendants of Aaron who are set apart for this work. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have sinned. The Lord God will not honor you for this!’” (II Chronicles 26:16-18).
Uzziah became furious. It was a serious mistake for even the king to enter the outer sanctuary and take on the duties reserved for the priests. It was an even bigger mistake for Uzziah to become indignant, “raging at the priests,” with the clear inference that he knew exactly what he had done, but no one had the right or authority to tell the king how wrong he was.
Here’s what happened while Uzziah was still in the Temple:
“…leprosy suddenly broke out on his forehead. When Azariah the high priests and all the other priests saw the leprosy, they rushed him out. And the king himself was eager to get out because the Lord had struck him. So King Uzziah had leprosy until the day he died. He lived in isolation in a separate house, for he was excluded from the Temple of the Lord…” (II Chronicles 26:19-21).
God obviously had a purpose for the separate roles of kings and priests. The main reason was so that both king and priest could invest substantial time, energy, and God-given gifts in their respective duties. Also, to maintain a divinely designed balance between government and those governed, between the physical and the spiritual. It was NOT for total separation of church from state. To the absurd extent (for example in the United States) of removing plaques of the Ten Commandments from all public places in a nation founded on Judaic/Christian values.
However, I do agree: there should not be a (man-made) “State Church” or a “Church State.” In that regard, terms and concepts need to be defined. (For more extensive details, refer to Eye of Prophecy articles, Separation of Church and State, Part I & II. Posted 4-2 & 4-9-16).
The following Biblical principle is indisputable as borne out by the historical success and rise and fall of nations:
The New and Better Way
Although there are several New Testament passages that speak of Messiah Jesus as the final (only) bridge between God and mankind (Mediator of the New Covenant … Timothy 2:5), the book of Hebrews systematically and succinctly summarizes the resounding role of Messiah as the once for all High Priest after the priestly order of Melchizedek, who was also a King.
Beginning with: “This Melchizedek was king of the city of Salem and also a priest of God Most High. When Abraham was returning home after winning a great battle against the kings, Melchizedek met him and blessed him … The name Melchizedek means ‘king of justice’ and king of Salem means ‘king of peace.’ There is no record of his father or mother or any of his ancestors—no beginning or end to his life. He remains a priest forever, resembling the Son of God” (Hebrews 7:1-3, italics for emphasis).
*Note: Based on the wording of this passage—specifically, resembling the Son of God—most Bible scholars regard Melchizedek only as a symbol or representation of Messiah Jesus. Yet, that application doesn’t go far enough.
For one reason: What these same verses (in italics above) say about Melchizedek (no beginning or end to his life) wouldn’t apply to a mortal man. For another reason: the numerous accounts in the Old Testament of the Pre-Incarnate Messiah appearing to several people such as Joshua and Gideon.
Thus, I firmly believe that Jesus was (is) Melchizedek! And Jesus’s first appearance as the Pre-Incarnate Messiah was to Abraham.
(See Eye of Prophecy articles, Does God Really Have a Son? Part I & II, Posted 10-31 & 11-7-15).
Continuing in Hebrews, prefaced with this observation: As much esteem as the Jews extend to Moses (and Elijah), to this day Israelis in Israel and Jews outside of Israel consider Abraham the greatest of all their ancestors. After all, he is the Patriarchal Father of Israel.
“Consider then how great this Melchizedek was. Even Abraham, the great patriarch of Israel, recognized this by giving him a tenth of what he had taken in battle…. And Melchizedek placed a blessing upon Abraham, the one who had already received the promises of God. And without question, the person who has the power to give a blessing is greater than the one who is blessed. The priests who collect titles are men who die, so Melchizedek is greater than they are, because we are told that he lives on” (Hebrews 7:4-8).
Melchizedek, who was both king and priest, preceded and exceeded the Mosaic Law in both prominence and perpetuity. Understanding this should be of vital importance especially to the Jews; the majority of whom still cling to the Mosaic Law (even without the Levitical sacrificial system of the shedding of blood for remission of sins that ended in 70 A.D.) to make them right with God. They’re in denial over the loss of the Temple and animal sacrifices because they don’t understand or refuse to believe that the Law cannot save them nor was the Levitical sacrificial system meant to be permanent. Twice, God disciplined his people … Babylonian Captivity and Roman Dispersion. Both times the Temple was destroyed. The second-time, sacrifices were ended altogether … to this very day.
Resuming in Hebrews Chapter 7:
“So if the priesthood of Levi, on which the law was based, could have achieved the perfection God intended, why did God need to establish a different priesthood, with a priest in the order of Melchizedek instead of the order of Levi and Aaron? And if the priesthood is changed, the law must also be changed to permit it … What I mean is, our Lord came from the tribe of Judah, and Moses never mentioned priests coming from this tribe” (Verses 11 & 12-14).
*Note: As great as the Torah is (specifically referencing the first five books of the Bible), it’s also crucial for non-Messianic Jews (and Gentiles) to read objectively all passages in Psalms and the Prophets relating to the Messiah. Not the least of which are passages quoted earlier regarding Messiah as God’s Son and High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, but also from the tribe of Judah that would produce Israel’s kings. Even Moses records this as part of Jacob’s blessings (prophecies) concerning his twelve sons.
Moving on in Hebrews:
“This change has been made very clear since a different priest, who is like Melchizedek, has appeared. Jesus became a priest, not by meeting the physical requirement of belonging to the tribe of Levi, but by the power of a life that cannot be destroyed. And the psalmist pointed this out when he prophesied, ‘You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.’
“Yes, the old requirement about the priesthood was set aside because it was weak and useless. For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God…. Jesus is the one who guarantees this better covenant with God” (Hebrews 7:15-19 & 22).
As stated later in Hebrews: The (Mosaic) system of worship was only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. God told Moses to, “…Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain” (Hebrews 8:5b, quoting Exodus 25:40).
The author of Hebrews further explains how much better and more permanent (forever) the New Covenant is:
“But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. Therefore, he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him…. He is the kind of high priest we need because he is holy and blameless, unstained by sin…. The law appointed high priests who were limited by human weakness. But after the law was given, God appointed his Son with an oath, and his Son has been made the perfect High Priest forever” (Hebrews 7:24-26, 28).
Then in Hebrews 8:1-7, we read the sweeping summary of this magnificent message: Messiah Jesus is the Mediator of the New Covenant between God and man.
“Here is the main point: We have a High Priest who sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven. There he ministers in the heavenly Tabernacle, the true place of worship that was built by the Lord and not by human hands…
“But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises. If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it. But when God found fault with the people, he said…” (the announcement of the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31:31-34 is then quoted).
With precaution not to stretch the analogy beyond its obvious limitations, we can say in one respect that the Bible (among its other literary genres) is a “murder mystery.” One, however, that certainly is not fictional.
Not long after God created Adam and Eve, they yielded to the, “Mystery of Iniquity” as lawlessness and rebellion is labeled in II Thessalonians 2:7. They believed the lie of the original source of evil, Satan, who Jesus said, “…was a murderer from the beginning … and the father of lies” (John 8:44).
(“…But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil.” I John 3:8)
Even before Cain murdered his brother Abel, Adam and Eve became murderers themselves.
They killed the spirit within them, the human spirit formed by God (Zechariah 12:1) which enabled them to fellowship in and with the very presence of God in the Garden of Eden. Everyone since then has been born with a dead spirit. This is a murder mystery that can only be solved by our spirit being made alive.
Said the Apostle Paul to believers: “Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world…. But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)” (Ephesians 2:1-5, parenthesis in the text).
Jesus explained it this way: “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water (cleansing through the Word of God) and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going (it’s a mystery), so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit” (John 3:5-8, parenthesis mine).
Things to Ponder
Many crime novels, movies, and T.V. shows initially reveal a suspect(s) who turns out not to be the killer, or the killer has an accomplice. Television dramas like Matlock and Murder She Wrote are full of these kinds of plots.
Messiah Jesus was crucified by the Romans because Pontius Pilate finally agreed to the demands of the Jewish accusers to put Jesus to death. That’s no mystery. We know who the suspects were.
And yet it was a mystery because Jesus voluntarily gave up his life. Why and for whom?
Why? Answer: “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son.”
For whom? Answer: “… so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).
Mystery solved. It was you, me, and everyone who ever lived that drove Jesus to his death. We were all complicit … accessories before, during, and after the fact.
The ultimate reason of God’s plan for the human race is succinctly summarized in the following passage:
“God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth…
“God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago” (Ephesians 1:9-13).
It is the greatest puzzle problem conflict resolution of all time. Christ doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Are you profoundly perplexed and mysteriously maddened with so many questions that seemingly have no answers? Why was I born? Why am I here? What’s really going to happen to me when I die? Why is there so much injustice, terror, war, and murder? Is there anyone who can resolve this mess of a world we live in? Who can solve these mysteries of life and death?
“For the time is coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line. He will be a King who rules with wisdom. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. And this will be his name: ‘The LORD is Our Righteousness.’ In that day Judah will be saved, and Israel will live in safety” (Jeremiah 23:5-6).
No one else can be what Jesus is. Or do what Jesus has done and will continue to do.
He is King of all kings AND High Priest.
He is LORD and SAVIOR!