Today's Lectionary Text
Now to God who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings is made known to all the Gentiles, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever! Amen.
Was it a mystery? A promise made to Abraham in Genesis 22 that through him all nations would be blessed. Promised by Jesus in the Great Commission as they were to go into “all” the world to proclaim the Good News. Yet, few, if any, had it figured out. The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians (3:3) “The mystery was made known to me by revelation…”
What mystery? The Apostle wrote in Romans 16 about “the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past but now revealed.” Something that is a call for celebration. The essence of the ministry of the Apostle Paul involves taking what had been given to him and using it for the benefit of all, not only for those who of the Jewish faith as the Apostle had been raised to believe. The mystery is that the Apostle was called to declare the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all the nations. God’s message of hope, life and salvation is for everyone who will receive it.
After Saul’s revelation of Jesus on the road to Damascus, God sent a man named Ananias to Saul. Ananias was hesitant to go. He had heard of Saul’s campaign to punish those who followed Jesus. But God spoke to Ananias saying, “He is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.” In other words, He will bring to light the mystery hidden for long ages past beyond cultural and religious barriers. The Holy Spirit would later open the eyes and heart of the Apostle Paul so that he would come to understand the ways of God’s salvation and the far-reaching powers of God’s grace.
It’s a mystery but it is not a secret. This reminder for us in this season of Advent is that God’s wonderful gift is for all. The Apostle Paul, ironically one who tried to destroy the message of Jesus as the Christ, is the one who is used by God to tell both the Jew and the Gentile that God’s great love reaches far beyond all we could ever grasp or try keep to ourselves.
-Rev. Lance Clay
Prairie Rivers & Elkhorn Valley Districts
Prayer for Reflection
Eternal God, the far-reaching power of you grace is no secret. It calls us to embrace your great love for us. May the transforming power of Christ overflow from our hearts into the lives of those around us that they may come to know the message of hope and salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord.
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