Jesus coming from heaven to sacrifice himself for us—it is a mystery. There is no logical explanation, no obvious connection to it being a good thing for him. Why do we often speak of salvation in terms that imply it is simple common sense?
Have we grown so accustom to this gift that it no longer catches in the back of our throats as we speak of it? Are we so familiar that we no longer stop in wonder and bafflement as we realize where Jesus came from, what he left behind, and how much he suffered for those who didn’t even want him? Do we no longer think of the blood?
It is a mystery. How God could bring us back when we have wandered so far. How God could connect with a people who have shown they cannot follow simple rules or live with hearts that don’t hate. How God could restore us and makes us whole. No, there is nothing here but a mysterious love that drives God to make ridiculous sacrifices for a people who don’t care.
In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 3:4-6
And most of those I know are not even Jews. They are Gentiles like me. We Gentiles share a double portion of the don’t belong here. We are not worthy of the grace given and we are not even those that were originally part of God’s chosen people. And yet we are heirs of all that is God’s along with the chosen people? Further, we are now the chosen people and lines of ethnicity and origin are blurred by God?
This is indeed a mystery. To be members of a Body with people from other places, other times, other backgrounds. To be heirs of all that is God’s for no better reason than that God decided to love us enough to offer it. To have never earned what we’ve been given and never required to be worth the blessings.
Does it not stir our hearts and steal our words? Does it not shake our steps and give us pause? Do we not reel from the image of Son parting from Father to make entrance to a world that will hate him and kill him?
This gospel is mysterious. It is not a mystery of who or how. The Bible tells it is Jesus; it is by God’s power. The mystery is why. And there is no good reason other than love—reckless, boundless, wild love for a dirty and wandering people.