“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” (1 Corinthians 2:7–8, AV)
My wife and I will often watch a British mystery show on the television. In every show, some sort of event, a crime, is portrayed at the beginning. The rest of the show is about a person or persons searching for the identity of the person who perpetrated the crime. Normally I sit there and try to pay close attention and pick up the clues that are presented. However, in almost every case, I cannot identify all the clues sufficiently to determine the “Who done it,” which is the point of the show.
So, I sit and watch the show without figuring out ahead of time who the criminal was that committed the crime. Then at the end of the show, there is a new revelation that the investigator discovers that breaks the case wide open. Unfortunately, even here in many shows I most often remained stumped until the investigator reveals all the clues and arrives at the conclusion.
Certain things in life are mysteries. Here Paul stated that the message they presented was a “mystery.” A mystery, the Greek word musterion, refers to something hidden. It is something that is not formerly understood. Paul explains that the people of the age and the rulers of the age could not grasp the mystery of the gospel.
The plan of God was established in eternity past before the creation of time and matter. It is difficult for us finite beings to grasp the infinitude of God and that He foreordained all things before the creation of all. Yet, our eternal God, is infinite in every attribute. He infinitely knows all, is infinite in power, exists eternally outside of the constraints of time and matter. His ways and His thoughts are infinitely higher than ours are. That is how awesome our God is. Yet, in eternity He has ordained the good news of salvation for those who by grace through faith will receive the gift of eternal life in Christ.
The people of the age cannot comprehend such a message. To them it is a mystery. It was a mystery to me also. That is, it was a mystery until the clues and how they fit together were revealed to me. Some might think that the revelation came through the work of people preaching the message, or writings that I read. Yes, these were instrumental, for someone needed to reveal the clues. However, the true revelation of the message of the cross did not come through earthly means. The understanding of how this all fit together came at a moment in life, then these truths of God were made clear in my mind through the work of God’s Spirit.
Paul explained that the rulers of the world, even the religious rulers of his day did not understand. These truths remained a mystery to them. They had the clues. They were in the Hebrew Scriptures. However, they remained a mystery even after seeing and hearing Jesus Christ. Paul indicated that if they had understood, they would not have crucified Him.
We today have a blessed privilege, just like Paul did. To him the mystery was revealed. Thus, he was compelled to reveal it to others. Yet, not all understood. To some they comprehended the mystery and rejoiced. To others the mystery of which Paul spoke was foolishness. The mystery has been disclosed unto us who have believed and thus, we have the privilege to present it to others also. It is our joy to take the mystery of the gospel to a lost and dying world.