Now we come to the final component of the better part: the mystery revealed. What is the mystery? The words of the Lord have come and gone, but now the Word of God has come and has revealed what neither David nor Amos knew. The Word became flesh in Christ, and now we fleshly creatures entrust ourselves into his hands. That those who are in Christ have Christ in us seems mysterious indeed—what does it all mean? The apostle’s words about riches and hope of glory are better than we can imagine and certainly welcome! But wait . . . there’s more: “warning everyone” seems far less exciting, and being “mature” doesn’t sound much better.
Yet back at the beginning of the apostle’s description of his mission and this mystery, he rejoices! “I am now rejoicing in my sufferings.” Suffering? How can the better part involve suffering? Christ suffered, and if we are in Christ and Christ is in us, all that is in Christ is in us, including the willingness to suffer with and for those who suffer. The apostle is willing to suffer for the persecuted body’s sake.
Today many within the body of Christ find themselves in a position to choose whether they will suffer with those in need in order for them to gain the hope of glory. Recently, children seeking a better part of life than the deadly danger they have endured in Central America poured across the US border into Texas and other border states at unprecedented rates. Tempers flared on both sides of the immigration debate. While little has been revealed about the mystery of how to end the suffering of children worldwide, the sacrificial choices local church members make to help these children encourage hope. Only through such efforts can we expect to “present everyone mature in Christ.”
Christ in us, reveal to us how to rejoice in suffering with those who suffer. Amen.