If You Can Open This …

August 27, 2020
Volume 24, Number 30

Kirk Mathes had to call deputies to his farm in Barre, New York. A crowd had gathered in a field where a safe had been found. The safe was locked, and a note attached to it said, “If you can open this, you can have what’s inside.” The crowd had heard of this mysterious safe and were using sledge hammers to try to open it.

Mathes has chosen to relocate the safe to a secret location. He has no interest in opening it this 500-600 pound object. His comment to the local news station was, “… leave it as a mystery.” Many of us don’t have that kind of restraint; we would find some way – any way! – to open that vault!

Maybe Mathes is familiar with the Greek story of Pandora and the box (it was actually a jar in the original version) she found. Unable to control her curiosity, she opened the container and out flowed all the ills that plague humanity: sickness, death, and other assorted evils. Though she tried to quickly close the box, it was too late. Are the contents of the safe in Barre, New York wonderful or awful?

For several hundred years the Hebrew Old Testament contained a “safe” of sorts. It was an idea that rabbis tried to understand, but could never quite comprehend. One passage that contains this puzzle is Isaiah 53:4,5: “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”

Who is this “suffering servant” of whom Isaiah prophesied? In Isaiah 52:13 he had written of “My Servant … [who would be] exalted and be very high.” Did if refer to Israel as a nation? Was it a reference to the Messiah? No one knew how to open this “safe”.

After Jesus had been crucified (“wounded … bruised”) and later raised from the dead, He walked with two disciples on the road to Emmaus who for some reason didn’t recognize Him. Luke tells us what happened: “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27). Jesus revealed to them that He was that Suffering Servant.

Later, after Jesus “vanished from their sight”, they reflected: “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:31,32). The mystery of the Old Testament had been opened by Jesus!

How important is it that we know Jesus? “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3). We will receive great treasures – including eternal life – when we allow Jesus to open the safe.

Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.


Copyright, 2020, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).

“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “Tim@GraceMine.org” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.

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