Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 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 Lord’s people. 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.
He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.
A lot of people enjoy mysteries. We like mystery books and movies. We like trying to solve riddles and figure out puzzles. There is something about trying to unravel a mystery that draws us in and holds our attention until it’s solved. In these verses, Paul describes the Gospel as a mystery, but not one that is hard to solve or that has been intentionally kept secret from us. Instead, it has been “disclosed to the Lord’s people.” What once was hard to understand through Old Testament prophecy, now has been made clear through the life of Jesus and the preaching of the church. The truth is, God wants everyone to understand this mystery. He wants the world to know exactly who Jesus is and how we can find new life in his name. The Gospel is not an unsolved mystery but a fully revealed message of good news, and when we come to understand it through faith, we are filled with “the hope of glory.”
Paul was so deeply committed to sharing the disclosed mystery of Christ with the world that he willingly endured tremendous suffering at the hands of those who opposed the Gospel. He even rejoiced in his sufferings for the cause of Christ, because he knew that what he experienced was being used by God to bring more people to salvation. He chose to “strenuously contend” for the sake of sharing Jesus’ message with those in need.
May we have the same devotion and persistence to join in the work of revealing the mysterious grace of God to people around us. Until someone hears the good news about Jesus or reads the Biblical account of his life, God’s offer of salvation remains a mystery to them. The calling we share in the church is to help disclose the “glorious riches of this mystery.” By our words and our acts of compassion and love, we let the light of Jesus shine into the hearts of those in need.
Father in heaven, thank You for revealing Your great love and the good news of Jesus to me and to the whole world. Help me to share the Gospel with others so they can understand who Jesus is and what He has done for us. I ask this in His good name. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian