By Scott Brown
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Waverly
There is an old story I’ve often heard about a group of blind men trying to describe an elephant.
You may have heard it something like this: “A group of blind men heard that a strange animal, called an elephant, had been brought to town, but none of them were aware of its shape and form. They said: ‘We must inspect and know it by touch, of which we are capable.’ So, they sought it out, and when they found it they groped about it.
The first person, whose hand landed on the trunk, said it was like a thick snake. For another one at its ear, it seemed like a kind of fan. To another, whose hand was upon its leg, the elephant was like a tree-trunk.
The blind man who placed his hand upon its side said the elephant was a wall. Another who felt its tail, described it as a rope. The last felt its tusk, stating the elephant was hard, smooth, and like a spear.”
None of the men could see the whole picture but were left with an incomplete understanding of what an elephant is really like. Paul writes here describing the mystery of the gospel’s power demonstrated by bringing in the Gentiles as coheirs with the Jewish followers of Jesus.
Paul’s use of the word mystery is meant to describe a previously hidden spiritual truth which was now revealed. Even with all the prophecies and pictures throughout the Old Testament, the people only had a piece of the puzzle that was now completed before them. Paul makes it clear that this mystery is only revealed by Christ and in Christ.
It’s this mystery that makes the world look in and call the gospel foolishness, craziness and worthless because they don’t understand the wisdom and worth of our faith in Christ. They can’t understand the power of the gospel because they have never tasted the truth of the gospel. Our hope is a mystery to hearts stuck in darkness until the Holy Spirit illuminates the beauty of the gospel, making the scales fall from their eyes as He speaks to hearts saying, “Let there be light!”
The gospel’s power to transcend all our differences and disagreements, uniting into one body under one Head all who name Jesus as Lord is a mystery that the lost world simply does not understand.
May God find us faithfully praying that He might open eyes to see this mystery. May He find us faithfully sharing the hope of this mystery with the lost. May He find us faithful to celebrate the joy of His revealing of this mystery to His people and through His people for His glory.