I had a tabby cat once. I named her Curiosity. The cat was not a good cat, as cats go, but she had a good name. Curiosity was a great, cat name, if I do say so myself.
Humans, are like cats. We too, love a mystery. We love soap operas that are now called -‘human interest’ stories. Why do they entice us so? Because, we want to know what happened. Okay, you may not admit to liking ‘human interest’ stories, but what about ‘who-done it’ stories? Ah ha! Once again, we are curious beings. Everyone loves a mystery. It’s curiosity. I think I may just like that word; when I had my cat, I relished saying her name… Curie-Os-city, Curie-Os-city, I would call out and then make that purring sound in crescendo. There was a certain musicality about it and I am sure I drove my mother insane with it, which of course, is part of the rights-of-childhood, after all. Yes, it’s a great word.
I was reading a book the other day and after reading the intro, I was hooked. It spoke about curiosity; I was intrigued. Curiosity, not in reference to man, but about another form of created beings. And the quote spoke about another curious thought… Angels are curious too. It said, “Even angels love a mystery”. What a mysterious thought! The author then went on to say, “..one of the most startling passages in the bible connects the magnificence of angels with the mystery of the gospel. Angels are majestic and powerful beings, living in God’s eternal presence. Yet there is something that has happened on earth that is so stupendous that even these immortal beings experience the persistent longing “to look into these things” (1 Peter 1: 12). What are ‘these things’ that could possibly and consistently consume the attention of God-fixated creatures? The answer is –the gospel” (Gospel, J.D. Greer)
Colossians 4: 3 states, Jesus Christ is the mystery of God revealed. God’s character was and is revealed through Christ, Messiah. Christ is the mystery of God because He is the Good News.
We can learn much about Christ Messiah- the mystery of God, revealed by the Holy Spirit and recorded by the apostle Paul. The apostle Paul had been investigating the early church. Well, maybe not investigating per se, more like persecuting it. And, at that point, his name was “Saul” of Tarsus.
The first time a Christian was martyred, “Saul was there, giving approval to his death.” (Acts 8:1) Saul, not only loved seeing Stephen put to death, he was not satisfied. One death was not enough for him, he wanted all Christ followers to die. So he set about destroying the church – the people of God, by going from house to house, dragging men and women out into the street, [roughing them up] and then, taking them to prison [to die].” (Acts 8:3) Saul was a radical and an extremist. He hated Christ Followers more than any other and more than this, he hated their message.
But then something incredible happened. Saul was converted on the road to Damascus. “Suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ Saul asked. ‘I am Jesus, whom who are persecuting, he replied. ‘Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.'” (Acts 9:4-6)
Saul had a dramatic conversion. Most of us come to faith in a personal and quiet fashion. No bright, white spotlight flashing from heaven. No audible voice from the maker of heaven, but to those of us who have been transformed, it is a deeply, heart-felt encounter; and a life changing moment. It is the mystery of Christ revealed.
This is what Paul said about this message which he was given: “I want you to know, brothers that the Gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 1:11, 12). Christ revealed himself to Paul.
Not only that, but Paul referred to this message as a “mystery.” He wrote to the believers in Ephesus, “In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.” (Ephesians 3:4,5) Read to vs 15.
And to the Christians at Colossae Paul wrote, “I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness – the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:25-27)
Jesus-God, Messiah came to earth to take on sin, became sin i.e. willful rebellion and was separated from God so that He could take our punishment. This was our lot, man’s state of affairs or status, we were the ones who wanted independence from God and once we had it, there was no way to come back. Sin had made us unholy. We were covered in sin. Messiah chose to die so we don’t have to. And this is the mystery. There is a God in heaven who reveals Christ, the mystery of God, He is the good news. To understand the Gospel message involves receiving a spiritual revelation. It involves spiritual discernment. It is an “aha moment”. The good news of Messiah is a message so simple a child can understand it, and yet so deep the most brilliant minds can never comprehend it. This is not something that can be understood with human understanding. It is a spiritual message not a natural or human message. The Gospel is a supernatural revelation of truth, and only those who receive it humbly, will find themselves beginning to understand it and believe it.
Saul had to be humbled. That is what his Damascus road experience was about. Revelation, repentance and humility. It took a miracle of the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can reveal the mystery of Christ to man. Only He can make it clear. And only He can work the “miraculous conception” of Christ within the human spirit. There must be conception, before birth. God’s creative power, and presence must be working within us for us to conceive. Conception can only occur when the Gospel message is revealed and then accepted.
Who can fully understand the miracle of physical conception? Oh, there are a lot of theories, even today with all our knowledge, but to date, conception is still a mystery. Likewise, the miracle of spiritual conception is even greater. Just think, the soul, which is immortal, goes from a position of spiritual death to one of spiritual life. Our spirit comes alive. We are quickened and the spark of life begins when Jesus makes his home in us- He dwells within us. We are different. Our life is transformed. It is a mystery and that is exactly how it happens to all peoples of every nation.
Have you had your “Damascus road” meeting with the Lord? Does the Holy Spirit, the seed of God live in you? Repentance is the way for this miracle to happen. It is, all about obedience to God, but don’t ask me, a mere human. It is, the mystery of God!