I’m an Agatha Christie fan from way back. Mystery novels are my ultimate escape. I love sitting on the edge of my seat, caught in a plot, looking for clues while suspecting anyone and everything, and then being surprised by a twist at the end. The tougher the nut to crack, the better I like it.

That’s probably why I enjoy reading Sunday’s Real Estate Section, regardless of whether I’m shopping for a home. There’s nothing like a stroll through the classifieds to feed my need for a mind-binding mystery.

Everything is written in code, all laced with deception and ruse, each line dripping with intrigue, each ad a game of wits. John Grisham would be proud. Hitchcock would stand and cheer.

Solving the classified mysteries is the first step in purchasing a home. Buyers who ignore these signs do so at their peril. So, as an aide to house hunters everywhere, here are some tips:
• If the ad says, quaint, it means old.
• If the ad says, contemporary design, it means, a converted garage.
• If the ad says, daring design, it means, it’s still a garage.
• If the ad says, one-of-a-kind, it means, condemned.
• If the ad says, completely remodeled, it means, since the flood.
• If the ad says, interactive community, it means, There’s graffiti on your fence.
• If the ad says, conveniently located, it means, built on a freeway interchange.
• If the ad says, energy efficient, it means, built near a nuclear power plant.
• If the ad says, near wildlife habitat, it means, There’s a fire hydrant at the street corner.
• If the ad says, step-saver kitchen, it means, You can’t open the refrigerator and oven doors at the same time.
• If the ad says, You’ll love it, it means, You probably won’t.
• If the ad says, must see to believe, then it means, must see to believe!

Caveat emptor—let the buyer beware!

Thankfully that’s not true with the gospel we preach. Our perfect model was Jesus Himself. He took the mystery out of God’s love.

Jesus was a complete contrast to the religious leaders of His day. Their path to God was a mysterious and mandated maze full of traps and hazards limited to a select few. Jesus offered a sure entry point to all who would come, though the gate was small and the road narrow. The distinction between the two invitations was dramatic.

No wonder the attendance soared at His meetings. Jesus used descriptive picture words as filters to remove any doubt about His meaning. When He said, “I am the Light of the World,” or, “I am the Good Shepherd,” there was no mystery. His listeners also understood the oxymoron “You blind guides” when He confronted the Pharisees. He removed all masks.

Jesus lifted the ecclesiastical fog. People finally realized God’s enormous offer of help.

Jesus intentionally spoke in everyman’s language so none would be confused. After all, what good was God’s once-for-all offer if no one could understand the point? Grace never should be shrouded in mystery or difficult to understand.

The same is true today.

This mystery, which has been hidden from ages and generations past, has been made known to us, God’s people. Through us, God has chosen to reveal how rich and glorious this mystery is. The mystery we speak, of course, is simply this: Christ in you, the hope of glory.

It’s a great story to tell, but offering clues and hints won’t get it done.

At stake is a generation’s understanding of who God is, what He’s done, and what He wants. This generation deserves to know the answers.

As Sherlock Holmes would say, “It’s elementary, my dear Watson!”

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