… so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, … - Colossians 1:25-27
Paul speaks of a hidden mystery, hidden for all the ages of the past, given to Him to preach.
This great mystery is the lynch pin of the Christian life. It’s what sets Christianity apart from religion. It sets faith in Jesus apart from all other faiths.
This mystery that sets Christians apart from every other man or woman is not hidden in the rigors of our rituals, nor gained through our sacrifices. It’s not even the words we say or the deeds we do.
All of these things are important to our faith, and can certainly be indicative.
But the simple mystery that sets a Christian apart from every other person is simply this.
… Christ in you, the hope of glory. - Colossians 1:27
Jesus divulged this mystery during His last discourse (John 14-16) and in High Priestly Prayer (John 17.)
Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. - John 14:23
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. - John 15:4
that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. - John 17:21
This mystery is part of our communion celebration.
After Jesus fed the five thousand, His attending crowds were growing. In the end of John 6, He thins this herd substantially with His explanation of the Bread of Life.
He draws their attention to the manna their forefathers ate in the wilderness. Once the pictures was clear in their minds, He tells them - That was me, that bread they ate to live is standing before you today.
If that didn’t sound crazy enough, He took it further.
I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh. - John 6:51 NASB
But wait – it get’s worse (or better…)
So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink." – vs 53-55
Then He brings it home.
He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. – vs 56
And there it is – there’s the mystery.
Christ in you, the hope of glory!
He never explains this mystery to the crowds, and He lets some time pass before, finally, at the last supper, He takes the bread and breaks it explaining:
This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me. - Luke 22:19
Next time you take communion, as you put the bread or wafer or matzo in your mouth, as you swallow that bread, remember this mystery. Christ in you is what sets you apart (hey – isn’t that the meaning of holy?) from every other form of faith.
The creator of the universe has not only removed your punishment, but has given you a new covenant.
Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. - 2 Corinthians 6:16
As Robert A. Cook used to say closing every radio broadcast,
Walk with the King today and be a blessing.