03 Oct The Unsearchable Riches of Christ
To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given,
to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,
Ephesians 3:8 (ESV)
This week in my personal Bible reading I read the verse quoted above. Here the Apostle Paul speaks of his ministry. In sincere humility, the Apostle speaks of God’s grace given to him to preach Christ- the “unsearchable riches of Christ,”
The Greek word for “unsearchable” is used only twice in the New Testament and both times by Paul. We read its use not only in Ephesians but in Romans 11:33. There we read: Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! (ESV) This is an interesting word.
If you have other Bible translations available that can often bring out shades of meaning. This is a word that translators have come at from different angles. Here are some samples:
New American Standard- the unfathomable riches of Christ
New International Version- the boundless riches of Christ
Christian Standard Bible- the incalculable riches of Christ
While all these terms are relatively close in what they express, they all give a different perspective. Bottom line, the riches found in Christ are almost beyond both description and comprehension. That’s not to say we can’t know what is taught about Jesus truly, we just don’t know those truths exhaustively.
I’m preparing to go to Medellin, Colombia November 5-10 to teach a class to Colombian pastors on Christology- the study of the doctrine of Jesus Christ. I’m told I’m to prepare for 30 hours of teaching (though actually it would be more like 15 with the interpreter). At first, I began to wonder “How will I be able to teach that long?” The more I study and prepare the issue becomes, “How will I fit it all in?”
It’s good for the soul to give ourselves to digging into the unsearchable, unfathomable, boundless, incalculable riches of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We know Him by His Holy Spirit through His Word. The Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of Christ” (Romans 8:9). He is given by the Father and the Son to point us to the Son, to convict us of sin, and to give us faith. It is in the Word that Jesus is revealed to us by the Spirit. This is seen in the post-resurrection encounter some of Jesus’ followers had with Him on the road to Emmaus recorded in Luke 24. Jesus took the Old Testament – the Scriptures- and used it to teach them Christology, to teach them of Himself (see v.27).
It’s good for our soul and mind to fix our attention on Jesus. I love to return to the quote by the 19th century Scottish pastor, Robert Murray McCheyne, that for every one look we take at ourselves, we should take ten looks at Jesus. May God grant us grace to understand better what are the unsearchable riches found in Him.