The draw of a good mystery is the pleasure of trying to put all the pieces of the story’s puzzle together. One of the best kinds of mysteries is something we call a paradox. A paradox is a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement that when investigated or explained, proves to be true. This modern hymn is fantastic because it is all about the most incredible paradoxes and the best story ever written.
Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery was written in partnership by three godly men: Matt Boswell, Michael Bleecker, and Matt Papa. These three friends did a wonderful job of taking us through the wondrous mystery of the life of Christ. The song beckons us to “come behold” the glory of Jesus and rejoice in all that He has done.
Let’s take a minute to look at each verse…
In verse one we sing about the mystery of the incarnation, when the King who is himself the theme of all of heaven’s praises, took on the robe of frail humanity. The eternal second person of the God-head came to the earth that He created, took on flesh and became one of us. He traded a heavenly throne for a stable full of stinky animals and the full weight of glory for the helplessness of an infant. What a great mystery!
Verse two focuses on the perfect life of Jesus. He experienced every temptation we experience: to think bad thoughts, to push his brothers in anger, to be lazy, disobedient, envious and rude… yet He never sinned. Not once. Adam, the first representative for man, received God’s law and boundaries and he rejected those boundaries and in so doing, rejected God Himself. Christ, the new representative, received the law and kept it perfectly. Therefore He can represent us perfectly before the Father who requires complete righteousness. He has made the impossible possible!
The third verse praises Christ for His atoning work on the cross. Martin Luther called this the “Double Transfer”—all the sin we have ever or will ever commit was placed upon Jesus on the cross and all His righteousness was transferred to us and now covers us as kingly robes. This horrible, painful, shameful death looked like utter defeat to Jesus’ friends and to the Jewish rulers and people. But it was God’s plan from the beginning and only for victory. Victory over Satan and sin and eventually the way for victory over death.
In the last verse, we turn to see the God of life slain by death and then rising again as the glorious Conqueror. We rejoice in the wonderful mystery of the grave being emptied of its power. We look forward to our own resurrection when Jesus comes again.
All these puzzle pieces make for one amazing story… O Magnum Mysterium! (O great mystery!)
You may or may not be familiar with this hymn. Either way, we invite you to spend this month meditating on its truths. To get you started, we’ve provided free printable lyrics, music and copywork — all found here! Also, you can find fresh versions of the hymn on our YouTube channel that you and your family can sing along with.
If you are new to this community, welcome! It is a great time to join in and make family worship a priority if you haven’t already. You are encouraged to gather up your families, for just a few minutes each day, to sing, discuss and memorize this hymn (hopefully in addition to reading the Scriptures and prayer) whether it is first thing in the morning, or around the dinner table or before bedtime – whatever works best for your family. You can let us know how it’s going by posting either a video or a photo on Instagram. Just tag it with #hymnofthemonth ! As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask! God bless you all this month as you worship together as a family!