2/1/2012 11:00:29 AM
Spill the Beans
My folks used to caution us, “Don’t spill the beans” when they wanted us to keep a secret. But God WANTS us to “spill the beans” – to tell the secret, the mystery, of the promised Savior. Believers from Adam to the time of Jesus’ birth all lived with and built their saving faith on this mystery.
Think about it. When God told Satan in Adam and Eve’s hearing that the Seed of the woman would crush his head, what do you think went through their minds? Do you think they had a clue as to HOW God would to take care of the wages their sin had earned? They believed God’s promise that he would save them, but they were totally in the dark as to how and when this would happen.
The centuries went by, and bit by bit God added details to that first promise, telling Abraham that from his descendents all nations would be blessed (and this while Abraham was childless!) By Isaac’s time God narrowed down the family line to the tribe of Judah. Isaiah gave many details about the Savior – he would be born of a virgin, he would be nothing special to look at, he would suffer and die willingly in our place, and salvation would come through him. Finally, Micah told where he would be born.
And then the people waited 400 more years! Finally Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the Magi, and eventually others learned that the promised Savior had finally come.
While all through the Old Testament millennia, these promises had been given to God’s chosen people the Israelites, God had also included many messages that salvation was meant for non-Jews, for Gentiles, as well. Good thing for us! Most of us trace our families back to Gentile peoples. And that’s the “secret” that we are meant to share.
Listen to what St. Paul writes in Ephesians 3: “…the mystery of Christ which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit. …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.” For the Old Testament believers, the Savior was a mystery, a secret. But we, as New Testament believers like Paul, have the full revelation of God’s plan of salvation – that’s what the Epiphany season is all about – the “manifestation” or revelation of who Jesus is and what he did to save people of ALL nations.
How blessed we are to know this! WE are going to heaven! WE know our sins are forgiven. WE know God will protect us from all evil. But what about everyone else? Again, listen to Paul. He says God called him to “preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery. …[God’s] intent was that now, THROUGH THE CHURCH, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known.”
God’s intent is that through the church – that includes you – salvation through Jesus is to be made known to the Gentiles. Of the world’s current 7 billion people, only a very small percentage are of Jewish descent. MOST are Gentiles. So we have lots of work to do, don’t we? And how many opportunities does God put before our tiny church body to get the word out – to spill the beans -- on the mystery of God’s plan of salvation? Far more than we can respond to, unfortunately!
But let’s not focus on what we CAN’T do; rather, let’s do all in our power to support gospel outreach personally through prayers, offerings, and our God-given talents, AND to share God’s will with our fellow-believers, so they, too, are strengthened and motivated to join us in sharing this secret that Jesus is eternal life. “Spill the beans” that Jesus is the Savior of the world!
January 30, 2011