Bible Reading: Ephesians 3:1-13
“To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things” (Ephesians 3:8-9)
Get this; there was new news in town. It’s 52 AD, Ephesus. A scruffled, bearded man donned in brown linen overalls rummages his way to the front of the crowds at the local synagogue. He pants and takes a breath. Then he shouts. “Behold, this is the mystery of the Kingdom of God! This is the mystery of Jesus Christ!”. Many around you immediately lower their heads. Fists are clenched. A low rumble of jeers and snickers as a heavy atmosphere descends from above. A few faces you notice are, however, somewhat intrigued, taken captive by the grit and courage of such a man. His face lit, his voice simmering with excitement; it was his eyes that made him different. They sparkled with a passion and a profound joy that was divine, never before seen by the human eye. Who was this man, and what was his message?
If you haven’t guessed, the man is Paul — the Christian-murdering Jew whom God transformed to be His apostle, His missionary to the ends of the earth. So what does some man from two thousand years ago have to do with us?
A decade after our little vignette, Paul writes from jail to the church in Ephesus whom he became very well acquainted. You can hear what Paul says about himself and His mission. In simple words, this is what Paul says, “I assume you guys have heard of the news that I bought to you; the news of God’s grace which God has revealed to me. I am in prison now because of it but reading this letter; I hope you can see what God has revealed to me about this new truth! This good news about Christ wasn’t known before, but now, God’s Spirit reveals it to us! It’s the news that people from all nations can be reconciled with God! Anyone who believes in Christ can be saved from sin and become God’s children!”
At that time, the Gospel was really new news. Jesus, who was the Messiah, was new news. Paul and the rest of the disciples had only just realised who Jesus truly was. He was the promised Saviour. He really did come, and He did die as a sacrifice for us, and in Him, there really is life. Not only that, He wanted everyone to know, everyone, to be a part of His saving works, even Gentiles. The mystery of how God would save His people had been lying around for years. But, only recently did the Holy Spirit illuminate that Jesus was the answer. He really was the Son of God who bore our sins and made us right with God. He really was the Way.
Now that the book has turned to the 21st century, where is this news? This was news waited for from the time of Adam. More so, Paul goes on to say, “this was according to the eternal purpose that he has realised in Christ Jesus our Lord”. This was God’s ultimate purpose of the universe revealed in front of their eyes. Because Paul realised the depth and the necessity of the truth He preached, His heart was consumed with passion and joy to proclaim this truth everywhere he went. He understood its depth, its reality, and the hope that was stored inside of it. He knew this was the meaning to life, the centre and core of our existence. He knew the absolute necessity and eternal implications of this news. And so, He proclaimed it as boldly and broadly as possible.
Has this truth lost its relatability and depth in our current times? No! 2000 years on, and the truth of this news still resound with profundity and hope. Only in Christ, the revealed Messiah, there is forgiveness of sins. Only in Him there is reconciliation with God. Only in Christ are our hearts of stone broken. Only in Him are we born again, made into a new creation that can live and serve our Living God.
If this news hasn’t lost its meaning, if it still can provide eternal hope and purpose, where are people like Paul in this current age? Who will go and proclaim this news with the fire, zeal and passion worthy of its meaning and truth? Who will endeavour that this news is made known to all people? Many in our world still haven’t caught on to this new news. Don’t talk about unreached people. Even those in our friend circles haven’t heard the Gospel in its reality. Yes, maybe they have listened to a thing or two about Jesus or the Christian religion. Perhaps they understand morals, good and evil, sin or not sin. But do they know the Gospel? Do they know who Christ actually is?
This age needs people like Paul, people who will give their lives to proclaim the truth. Who will they be?
Lord, Your Word is the Truth. You are the Truth, and Christ is the only Way. Thank You that You have revealed that to me. Thank You that in Your grace and mercy, I may know who You are. Here is my one life. Use it to do what pleases You. I know I must proclaim Your truth in this world. Help me, God, because I am weak. I struggle even with my own sins, and I often go against Your ways. Please forgive me. Teach me and rebuke me. Give me Your Word and Your Spirit. Renew me and use my one life for Your glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.