MYSTERY IN A MANGER
Terry R. Baughman
“The mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:26–27).
God keeps good secrets. He held on to His plan hidden from ages and from generations, but with the strategic positioning of revelation on a worldwide stage. He planned more than an obscure birthplace in a manger of Bethlehem; more than a closed club for twelve disciples or an upper room off the beaten path of limited access. He has always planned for revelation, expansion, and proclamation. So He chose a host of angels to proclaim His birth to shepherds in the field, “There is born to you this day … a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). He chose a brilliant star to guide the Magi from distant places and angels to announce His arrival.
What began in obscurity soon became the good news for all people. Through phenomenal events and miraculous signs it wasn’t long before everyone was speaking His name. The Pharisees complained, “Look how the whole world has gone after him!” (John 12:19 NIV). That was exactly His intention. His final commission was, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15), and “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19).
In the grand plan of redemption God put into motion throughout several millennia the events that would reveal His divine purpose. Before the foundation of the world He designed it and throughout the ages He planned the ultimate destiny of His desire, “to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). He has always planned for “the Gentiles”, a universal body of believers, to become “His saints”, and to receive and exhibit the glory of this mystery, “Christ in you!”
God planned what none of His disciples could have imagined, a world population of billions with millions of followers sharing His story around the globe. The mystery in a manger has been talked about, sang about, and shouted out from the mountain tops! The Savior of the world has come!
“Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory” (1 Timothy 3:16). This is the mystery revealed according to His purpose, to all nations who believe in Jesus Christ. Paul said, “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” (Romans 16:25–26).
Christ is revealed in every Spirit-filled believer. He is our hope and our glory. In Him we find revelation and fulfillment. Paul also wrote, “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power” (Colossians 2:9–10).
Jesus was not content just to be “God with us”; His desire was rather to be, “Christ in you!” While He came to the manger to be Emmanuel; He went to the cross to become our salvation. The angel proclaimed, “You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Salvation has a name. His name is Jesus.
Jesus confided to His followers that He was the Spirit that was promised to come. Jesus said that the Spirit of Truth, “dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:17–18). The Holy Spirit is that presence of Jesus, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
The mystery is still being revealed, day by day. The fulness of the Godhead that dwells in Him is being revealed in us!
“Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:16).