Life is full of mysteries. For God's people, Israel, the great mystery was when the Messiah, the Christ of God, would come. The prophets shared their Spirit-inspired descriptions and anticipations of the Messiah. People longed for the coming of their Messiah, especially when things were hard and they endured bondage, deportation, and loss of their land.
For Christians, the big mystery is when the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, is coming back. Jesus said these startling words:
But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him" (Matthew 24:36-44).
Welcome to this week's ToGather.church. We focus this week on mystery and especially the wonderful mystery of Jesus' return for us, his people. While there are many unknowns about when this will happen, we do know this will be a glorious time for those who are disciples of the Lord Jesus. Our verses to help us dive into this subject come from our Verse of the Day passage in Ephesians 1:9-10:
He made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
Throughout his letters to churches, Paul teaches about the mysteries of God that were "hidden for long ages past" but are now being revealed in Christ (Romans 16:25; 1 Timothy 3:16). The key to these mysteries is the coming of the Messiah, the Christ, whose coming was hidden but now revealed and promises us glory in the future (1 Corinthians 2:7). God entrusted the secret to his servants (apostles and prophets), whom he sent to reveal his mysteries (1 Corinthians 4:1; Ephesians 3:4-9, 6:19). Paul wanted believers to understand the mystery that God had planned all along and that he revealed when Christ came and Jesus made his home in us (Colossians 2:2, 4:3). With the coming of Christ, much of God's mystery about redeeming humanity and sending his Messiah to redeem the lost has been revealed. Other mysteries, like Jesus' being alive in his church (Ephesians 5:32) and active in us as believers (Colossians 1:26-27), are still unfolding in our lives as Jesus' people. The mystery of the importance of the people of Israel and the inclusion of the Gentiles is God's work still in progress (Romans 11:25; Ephesians 3:4-7).
Maybe the biggest mystery for us, however, is the time of Jesus' return as Lord, Savior, and Messiah! In our message video, Phil reminds us of the beauty of mystery in our world while helping us appreciate the revealing of the great mystery that lies ahead for us in Jesus' return. While life is full of mysteries and the time of Christ's return remains a mystery, one thing is certain: Our future is secure in Jesus! Just as God sent Jesus as the Messiah the first time, he will send him again to bring all things to a close and bring together everything that is a shattered mess. Even more important, God will do more than restore what is broken, shattered, and decayed to its original order. He will recreate a new heaven and earth and bring all things into beautiful, glorious fulfillment, at the right time, in Christ Jesus our Lord!
In our verse of the day, we see several key themes that take on added significance when we realize the importance of the four key terms Phil highlighted:
God delights in blessing us and bringing us his blessings. So, God's will works all things in our world to his pleasure and moves toward his purpose, which is to bring us to him in glory.
While we live by chronological time, God looks at our linear history and chooses the perfect time (Greek kairos — divinely strategic time, Galatians 4:4; Romans 5:6) to bring his greatest blessings to us.
Many times, life on earth feels capricious, harsh, and dangerous. Our world is broken. But since our world was torn apart by sin and death, God has been working to fulfill his plan to redeem us and make things perfect and pristine again.
With our world falling apart in the natural order and with people choosing to be divided, hostile, and abusive to each other, God's plan of redemption involves bringing the fragments of our broken universe and our broken hearts together in Christ when he comes again.
Of course, the key to all this glorious future is found in Christ, God's most essential and complete message about himself and the fullest revelation of God's mystery (John 1:1-18; Colossians 1:25-29; Hebrews 1:1-3).
Demetrius has chosen songs that help focus our hearts on God's plan to bring everything together in Christ Jesus our Lord. As we sing these songs, please notice how they highlight and accentuate our focus in the Scriptures and help us emotionally enter that focus. Our Communion reflection and closing blessing all connect with this central theme: Our hope, our answer, and God's unveiling of his greatest mysteries are found in Jesus, the Messiah, Son of God, the Christ who is our Savior and Lord!
Special thanks for the use of images related to Jesus' ministry from The Lumo Project and Free Bible Images for use in both ToGather videos.
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