The New Testament hosts the term, “mystery,” eleven times with the idea that there are untold truths that have not been previously revealed about God’s plans for our redemption and His eternal glory. It is somewhat summed up in 1 Corinthians 2:9-10, although that second verse is often overlooked:
“But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit, for the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.”
That quote is from Isaiah 64:4, but the One who reveals those things is a New Testament revealer of “mysteries.” Like Isaiah, along with Jeremiah and Job, Paul, the apostle, writes of these wonders in Romans 11:33-36:
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! (Isaiah 40:13) How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?” (Jeremiah 23:18) Or, “Who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him?” (Job 41:11)
“For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36).
In another place Paul calls the subject the “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8).
For at least a year the church where I am a member has been observing the Lord’s Supper ordinance every Sunday morning at the end of the worship service. It has made an impression on me of the importance of His physical body in the process of redemption of mankind. When Jesus was serving that last supper to the disciples, He “took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
“Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you’” (Luke 22:19-20).
He says, “The body is given for you, and the blood is shed for you.” Both are given for us, but Leviticus 17:11 says that it is the blood upon the altar (in death) that makes an atonement for the soul, that is, satisfying God’s eternal judgment for our sin:
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”
Look at Isaiah 53:4-6 again:
“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned, every one, to his own way, and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
All of those things were placed upon Christ, upon His body, before He was taken to the Cross of Calvary. Was His body, then, given to endure in our place for the sin of Adam that gave us the degradation and living death mankind has known since the disobedience of Adam and Eve in the Garden? The stated facts that “He was bruised for our inequities and by His stripes are we healed” tells us that it was not meaningless punishment that He endured for us, even though it was not yet the atoning death of the cross that made eternal life possible for us.
By faith in Christ we can find the peace of God that passes all understanding. So, is the “chastisement for our peace” a punishment that Christ suffered because we never knew that peace of God because we were born in the sin of Adam? Did He bear our griefs and carry our sorrows of this mortal life that , in Him, we might find comfort and consolation, joy and forgiveness? Certainly it is so.
Therefore, He said, “Take and eat, for this body was broken for you. Do it in remembrance of Me.”
In the context of John 6:22-59, Jesus tells the disciples and teaches in the synagogue in Capernaum that He is the bread of life, and those who “eat His flesh and drink His blood” will have eternal life. It is a hard saying, and the Roman Catholics have created what they call “the doctrine of transubstantiation” which maintains that when communion is observed, the wafer turns into the body, the flesh, of Christ, and when the wine is taken, it turns into the blood of Christ. It proves to be a convenient way of keeping control of access to eternal life in the hands of the Church. But Jesus follows that context with these words:
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).
In reference to that access to eternal life, it is in the hand of God to give it, for John 1:11-13 says:
“He came to His own (the Jews), and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
He was speaking as the Word of life, the living Word, which provides the eternal life so promised, as it abides in us. When He asked the disciples if they, also, were going away, because many had departed from Him, Peter replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:68).
“Sin shall not have dominion over us, for we are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:14). It presents a deeper meaning to what Jesus said of Himself in John 10:10 than perhaps we have previously thought: “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
Having no part of the sin of Adam in His body, Jesus could have lived forever, as he was. John 5:26 tells us that “As the Father has life in Himself, so has He given to the Son to have live in Himself.” Yet, it was a sinless body that God needed upon which to lay the sins of mankind that He might pass judgment upon them. The breadth and depth of that sacrifice provides relief not only from eternal damnation but also from the suffering of the effects of that sinfulness upon our mortal bodies as well.
The unsearchable riches of Christ might be identified in the multitude of names for Him in the Scriptures: Man of sorrows, Rose of Sharon, the way, the truth, the life, the light of the world, the door, the Great Shepherd, the bread of life, the water of life, the hope of salvation, the I AM, and many, many more. Each name has its own story, its own meaning to us and its own application to us. Two more names stand out in great honor and grandeur: Savior and Redeemer.
With that, this closing benediction seems most worthy:
“Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21).
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