“Proclaimed Among the Nations”

No other message like it!

This message is called the gospel, which means “good news.”

Not only is it good news, it is the best news—that the One who took the punishment we deserve because of our sin now offers us forgiveness instead of condemnation, reconciliation to God where there had been alienation, and hope for those without hope.

In this series of posts we’re examining six great truths about Jesus in First Timothy 3:16, “By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: / He who was revealed in the flesh, / Was vindicated in the Spirit, / Seen by angels, / Proclaimed among the nations, / Believed on in the world, / Taken up to glory.”

Truth #4: “Proclaimed among the nations.”

The apostles were the first to proclaim the message of grace through Christ. Jesus commissioned Paul to take the good news to the Gentiles: “to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18).

The word “Gentiles” means “nations”—how the Jews referred to all those other than themselves.

After centuries of preparing Israel for the arrival of the Messiah through their lineage, God then took it to the next level—all the rest of the world (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:46-47; Acts 1:8).

“It must never be forgotten,” said Donald Guthrie, “that a Hebrew Christ had become a Christ for the nations” (The Pastoral Epistles, Eerdmans, p. 90).

“He was being proclaimed without respect to national distinction, without respect to social condition, without respect to culture, with respect simply to the fact that all were sinners and in need of salvation” (James Hastings, The Great Texts of the Bible, Vol. 18, Eerdmans, p. 113).

Good news indeed!

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Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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The Man Who Amazed Jesus

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A true story with a happy ending

What was there about the Roman army officer that impressed Jesus so much? Here’s what happened:

“. . . a centurion came to Him, imploring Him, and saying, ‘Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented.’ Jesus said to him, ‘I will come and heal him.’ But the centurion said, ‘Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, “Go!” and he goes, and to another, “Come!” and he comes, and to my slave, “Do this!” and he does it.’

“Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, ‘Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel’ . . . . And Jesus said to the centurion, ‘Go, it shall be done for you as you have believed.’ And the servant was healed that very moment” (Matthew 8:5-10, 13).

Amazing faith!

From his own military experience this centurion recognized that he and Jesus had something in common: both were under higher authority. The centurion could issue orders to his men because the authority of Rome itself was behind him.

Jesus could issue commands because of the authority of heaven behind Him.

Because Jesus was linked to God, who gave Him the power to heal, Jesus could help the centurion’s servant, and the centurion knew it.

Jesus marveled at this centurion’s ability to see the parallel chains of authority: from Caesar down to the centurion down to the men under him—parallel with God’s authorizing Jesus to heal diseases of all kinds.

In reality, Jesus represented a far greater Power than Rome.

And the centurion knew that too.

 

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Now Revealed

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Want to know a mystery?

Forget what you know about mystery novels, weird stuff, and all that. This mystery’s not like that.

In his letter to the Ephesians Paul refers to the mystery (secret) which God kept hidden for many centuries but finally made known in the first century A.D. The mystery has to do with the salvation of all people in Christ, Jew and Gentile, on an equal basis (Ephesians 3:3-5, 8-11).

If we put what Paul says here in the form of a flow chart, here’s how it looks:

For ages the mystery of Christ was not known (vv. 5, 9).

God revealed it to Paul and other apostles & prophets (vv. 3, 5).

Paul wrote what had been revealed to him (v. 3).

The reader can then understand Paul’s knowledge (v. 4).

The mystery unveiled

God did not reveal the mystery to a select few so they could take special pride in possessing this inside knowledge unavailable to the masses. No! The apostles and prophets were God’s agents for transferring this wonderful message to all the world.

For some time they preached it orally. Since these men would not live forever, God wisely arranged for them to record for all time the message, resulting in what we now call the New Testament (John 20:30-31; Jude 3).

Now that we have the New Testament, we have access to all we need to be saved. Now we can know what God has planned for us in this life and throughout eternity.

The mystery is no longer a secret—it has been revealed!

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