Do you like a good mystery? A mystery is typically a story with many secrets or unknowns that are slowly revealed through careful investigation. At the end of the story, the secrets have been revealed and the mystery is then understood.
Are you aware that the Bible contains the greatest mystery of all time? You should understand that God is the author of this mystery; He developed a plan for mankind and kept it secret since the world began. Romans 16:25-27 “Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith — to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” The prophetic scriptures gave clues to the mystery. The main character in this mystery is Jesus Christ and the gospel is the revelation of the mystery.
Throughout time, prophets foretold about the Christ, but they did not understand all that they prophesied. They knew there was a mystery, and they tried to understand the secrets. The clues that were given to them as prophets did not reveal the full picture of the mystery. God intentionally kept it a mystery. 1 Peter 1:10-12 “Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven — things which angels desire to look into.” This mystery was even kept secret from the angels who desired to know the answers.
Why did God make the story of Christ and His salvation a mystery? If the secrets of the mystery had been fully revealed before their fulfillment, then Satan and the Jewish leaders and the Roman authorities of Jesus’ time would have known what God was planning to do and they would have kept the plan from being accomplished. 1 Corinthians 2:7-11 “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 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.”
Some of the details of this mystery were that the Son of God would come into the world as a human, that He would suffer, shed His blood, and die on the cross and rise again the third day. In Him we would have the redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. The Gentiles would be fellow heirs with the Jews and partakers of the promise in Christ through the gospel and the church would be the kingdom of God on earth. The righteous would live with Him eternally. One summary of the mystery is given in 1 Timothy 3:16 “Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of our religion: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.” (RSV)
Even while Jesus was on the earth, He did not plainly reveal the details of the mystery. He spoke many of the principles of the mystery in parables so that they would not be fully understood by the outsiders. Mark 4:11 “And He said to them, ‘To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables.’”
I encourage you to read the Old Testament and search for the clues of the mystery contained in prophesy. Then as you read the New Testament, come to a better understanding of the plan held in a mystery that God had from the beginning of creation and how that mystery has been fulfilled in Christ and the church. Romans 11:33-36 “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! 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?’ ‘Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him?’ For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.”