The Chapter of Mysteries

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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...that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ.

Ephesians 3:

Anytime you hear a noun followed by "of mysteries," you expect it to be filled with intrigue and excitement. Whether it's the "land of mysteries" or "the hall of mysteries" or the "department of mysteries," your curiosity urges you on to further investigation. So, by entitling this reflection "The Chapter of Mysteries," I hope I have your attention.

But calling Ephesians 3 "The Chapter of Mysteries" is not just a clever come-on. In a very literal sense, Ephesians 3 deserves this title because it employs the word "mystery" (mysterion in Greek) more than any other chapter of the New Testament. You find this word in verse 3: "the mystery made known to me by revelation;" verse 4: "my insight into the mystery of Christ;" and verse 9: "to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery."

The use of "mystery" in Ephesians 3 harkens back to the first chapter, where we read, "[God] made known to us the mystery [mysterion] of his will" (1:9). In this verse, as in chapter 3, the mystery is something that was once hidden but has now been revealed. The Apostle Paul has been called to share this mystery with the world.

And what is this mystery that is now to be proclaimed to the nations? In Ephesians 1:10, it is "to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ." According to 3:6, this vision of cosmic unity is focused on the unity between Jews and Gentiles. As we learned in chapter 2, "the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise of Christ Jesus" (3:6).

In light of what we see in this "Chapter of Mysteries," let's consider the following questions.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: When we share the good news of Christ with others, do we include the fullness of God's mystery? Do we proclaim God's intent to bring all things together in Christ? Does our corporate life as Christians reflect and communicate this mystery? Are we living out the unity forged by God through the cross of Christ?

PRAYER: Gracious God, thank you for revealing your mystery to us. Thank you for your intention to bring unity to all things. Thank you for times and places when this "mystery" is lived out among your people. Still, Lord, we have a long way to go in announcing and embodying the gospel. Help your church to proclaim this mystery in word and in deed. Amen.

Image courtesy of Laity Lodge Family Camp, one of our sister programs in the Foundations for Laity Renewal.