Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery
September 23, 2018
Last week I (Mark) had the blessing of being in the presence of truly wonderful musicians and some of the best Bible teachers on planet Earth. John Piper, John MacArthur, Tim Keller, Alistair Begg to name a few. The conference in Nashville, TN was called SING! 2018. So many wonderful songs were sung, a focus on the Psalms was the theme. Keith and Kristyn Getty are the brains behind the conference. These modern hymn writers are on the cutting of edge of hymnody and have written stalwart songs of the faith for the church such as “In Christ Alone” and “The Power of the Cross”. It is one thing to hear those songs on the radio or even being sung by 1000 people in our own church. 7500 people is another story. I tell you, it was a foretaste of heaven. Breathtaking.
Out of the myriad of songs we sung, one truly caught my attention. Come behold the wondrous mystery. Imagine my surprise when I got home and realized that Allen had included this very song in the set list for this week!
Written by Matt Papa, Michael Bleeker and Matt Boswell (also conference worship leaders and clinicians) this song uses words and phrases that we just don’t sing anymore. Words like “condescended”, and phrases such as “true and better Adam”. It is the latter that I want to focus on for this edition of Song Talks.
The only other time I can recall a song using a phrase like “true and better Adam” is in the Christmas Carol, “Hark the Herald Angels sing”. “Second Adam from above, reinstate us in Thy love.” These phrases both are referring of course to Jesus. Sinclair Ferguson, Scottish Pastor and author in his book Preaching Christ from the Old Testament says this about Jesus:
“Jesus is the true and better Adam who passed the test in the garden and whose obedience is imputed to us. Jesus is the true and better Abel who, though innocently slain, his blood now that cries out, not for our condemnation, but for acquittal. Jesus is the true and better Abraham who answered the call of God to leave all the comfortable and familiar and go out into the void not knowing wither he went to create a new people of God. Jesus is the true and better Isaac who was not just offered up by his father on the mount but was truly sacrificed for us. And when God said to Abraham, “Now I know you love me because you did not withhold your son, your only son whom you love from me,” now we can look at God taking his son up the mountain and sacrificing him and say, “Now we know that you love us because you did not withhold your son, your only son, whom you love from us.” Jesus is the true and better Jacob who wrestled and took the blow of justice we deserved, so we, like Jacob, only receive the wounds of grace to wake us up and discipline us. Jesus is the true and better Joseph who, at the right hand of the king, forgives those who betrayed and sold him and uses his new power to save them. Jesus is the true and better Moses who stands in the gap between the people and the Lord and who mediates a new covenant. Jesus is the true and better Rock of Moses who, struck with the rod of God’s justice, now gives us water in the desert. Jesus is the true and better Job, the truly innocent sufferer, who then intercedes for and saves his stupid friends.Jesus is the true and better David whose victory becomes his people’s victory, though they never lifted a stone to accomplish it themselves.” Jesus is the true and better Esther who didn’t just risk leaving an earthly palace but lost the ultimate and heavenly one, who didn’t just risk his life, but gave his life to save his people. Jesus is the true and better Jonah who was cast out into the storm so that we could be brought in. Jesus is the real Rock of Moses, the real Passover Lamb, innocent, perfect, helpless, slain so the angel of death will pass over us. He’s the true temple, the true prophet, the true priest, the true king, the true sacrifice, the true lamb, the true light, the true bread. The Bible’s really not about you – it’s about him.”
Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery is about this Jesus. He “condescended” from heaven to earth in His incarnation to be the “theme of heaven’s praises”. The second stanza uses a variety of adjectives relating to Christ and His work, “great and sure fulfillment”, and “true and better”. The third stanza is a reflection on the mystery of the cross and connects to the final proclamation exalting the resurrected Christ. A beautiful picture of the gospel with a simply crafted melody, Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery should make it into your worship playlist today!
P.S. Keith and Kristyn Getty will be at Second on Nov. 10 at 6:00PM. With a mix of Irish, bluegrass, modern hymns and worship songs, you will not want to miss this. Take it from someone who has seen them several times now, you will be blessed. Get your tickets here.
Check out the playlist for this week here. It includes a Getty song we are singing at the 9:30 service this week called “The Lord is My Salvation”.
Blessings and happy singing!