Mysteries and Myths

It WAS a blisteringly hot day as the two friends finished their walk.

“I’m going to buy a Coca Cola.”

“Oh dear! I don’t like that stuff. I have no idea what it’s made of but did you know that if you leave a tooth in it overnight the tooth will be dissolved by morning?”

Coca Cola or ‘Coke’ is drunk worldwide and is massively popular. It was invented in 1886 and its formula has always been a closely guarded trade secret, one which is now worth billions of dollars. The formula was not even written down until 1919, and is now safely locked away in a vault in a museum.

The belief about the tooth is one of many false but commonly quoted myths about this drink. So, there are mysteries and myths about Coke.

Bible Mysteries

Mysteries are described in the Bible, and they are very significant. However, unlike the mystery about the Coke formula, a Bible mystery is not something that is unknown but something very important that has been explained by God. It is something that was not previously understood but has now been divinely revealed.

The word ‘mystery’ is used 27 times in the New Testament. Most times it relates to some aspect of the saving work of Jesus, the Son of God, and how because of him we can be saved from destruction. For example, the apostle Paul wrote:

He made known to me the mystery… which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel (Ephesians 3:3–6).

Throughout the Bible, from the very first book of Genesis, a saviour was promised who would save people irrespective of their nationality or place of birth: i.e. Jews and non-Jews (Gentiles). The apostles state categorically that this saviour is Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:16, 26–29, see   Genesis 22:18).

While some of Jesus’ fellow countrymen acknowledged that he was their promised Messiah, they expected him to save them from the Romans there and then. Very few understood that he had even more important saving work to do. He was to be offered as a sacrifice so that they and we could be saved from death and offered everlasting life (see Romans 5:6–10).

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

In fact, Jesus said many times that he would die, but even the twelve disciples did not fully understand (Luke 18:31–34).

The Power of a Revealed Truth

However, once they had seen the resurrected Jesus, the disciples were changed men. They preached fearlessly and fervently, telling all who would hear that they needed to believe, to repent and to be baptised so that they could be forgiven and saved (Acts 2:38–39, 3:19).

This message runs right throughout the New Testament. There is no mystery or secret about it. It is totally clear. And it is the only hope of salvation that they and we can have, whether Jews or not                              (Acts 4:10–12).

The disciples were insistent that they were not telling ‘cleverly devised myths’ when they preached the Gospel message. They and hundreds of others were eyewitnesses who had seen the risen Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:3–8). Many had also seen the miracles and signs during his ministry.

For we have not followed cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty (2 Peter 1:16, Modern English Version).

The accounts of the life of Jesus and of his teachings have not been lost in time. They were written down not long after they happened and they have been preserved for us. Their impact on the world and their potential impact on us personally far outweigh the benefits of food, drink, technology, medicine or anything else.

Most of us can easily obtain a Bible, maybe even free on the internet. These accounts are not mysteries and they are not myths. We need to take note of them.

Anna Hart