In 1521 Ferdinand Magellan was on his way to circumnavigating the globe, and whilst crossing the Pacific he decided to try measure the depths of the ocean*. Not having much technology at his disposal he tied lengths of rope together, measuring 400 fathoms (700m), tied it to a cannonball, and sent it on its way to the floor of the ocean.
They never got anywhere near it. The great explorer therefore declared that the ocean was ‘unfathomable’, impossibly deep to measure.
That’s like the Gospel. Unfathomable, impossible to measure.
“My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long, though I know not its measure” (Psalm 71:15)
There’s a few reasons why our cannonball ropes won’t reach the floor of the Gospel:
- We don’t perfectly understand how Holy God is
- We don’t perfectly understand how sinful we are
- We don’t perfectly understand the price Jesus paid on our behalf
- We don’t perfectly understand our new standing in Christ
- We don’t perfectly understand how great is our heavenly inheritance
- We don’t perfectly understand how much God does for us every day to guarantee our final perfection in Christ
The good news about all this is that it means there’s always more to see in the Gospel! This is not like the Christmas holiday to Margate where you’ve seen everything there is to see and it’s time to come home. We will only see the depths of the Gospel when we get home!
“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Cor 13:12)
Christmas is a celebration of miracles. The miracle of God’s coming to earth in the form of man, in order to die in our place but also (miraculously!) rise again from the grave, only to come again one day and take us back home with Him.
This is Gods greatest intervention in our lives. And it never gets old. It never gets dusty. It never gets put away in a cupboard like the Christmas gift you didn’t really want. It continues to increase in depth all through our lives until death takes us home.
That’s when the cannonball hits the floor. That’s when we will fully realise the grandeur of this greatest miracle.
Until then, we enjoy Him more and more.
May you experience more of Christ this Christmas.
*This account, and much of the content of this post is from the brilliant book by Dr Andrew M Davis, An Infinite Journey.