by Archibald Alexander

"To me, the very least of all saints, was this grace given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ." (Ephesians 3:8)

It is recorded of Christ, that "though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor." But this poverty related only to external condition and earthly goods. He was indeed poor in the things of this world. He was born in the most abject poverty. He lived poor--for he said to one who expressed a desire to be his follower, probably from a hope of worldly benefit, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head." He had neither house nor home; and sometimes hungered for lack of food, while laboring in Jerusalem, from morning to night. No one in that city seems to have invited him to a night's lodging; for when he had spent the day in preaching in the temple, and healing the sick who resorted to him, it was his custom in the evening to retire to the mount of Olives.

And when journeying—which was always on foot—he was sometimes refused the privilege of lodging in a village by the way. When a prophecy respecting him as king was to be fulfilled by his riding on the foal of an donkey, the animal must be borrowed. And when tribute was demanded of him, he was not in possession of so much money as half a shekel, and therefore sent Peter to the sea to catch a fish, which he knew had the sum necessary for the two of them in its mouth. Indeed, the owner of heaven and earth, in his voluntary humiliation, was content to live upon the charitable contributions of the pious women who accompanied him from Galilee. And when dying, he had nothing to leave for the sustenance of his bereaved mother, but committed her to the care of his beloved disciple, who did possess a home, to which he immediately took her. And when dead, he had no grave of his own where his body might rest, but his lifeless corpse was laid in the tomb of another—a rich man, who graciously gave up for its use a new tomb prepared for himself.

But though poor in this world's goods, he was even then rich—rich in divine power, for whenever it was necessary, he could provide food for thousands of hungry people. He was rich in the possession of every divine perfection, for the fullness of the Godhead "dwelt in him bodily." His riches, as being infinite, were indeed unsearchable.

But the RICHES OF CHRIST which Paul preached among the Gentiles, were the RICHES OF GRACE. Who can fathom the depth of the love of Christ? Surely it "passes knowledge;" it has a depth, and height, and length, and breadth, which an angel's mind cannot compass. If we would trace this stream to its source, we must go back before the foundation of the world. This fountain of divine mercy is hidden in the depths of eternity; yes, more, in the unsearchable depths of the infinite mind of God. "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God; how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out."

Christ is not only rich in his divine attributes and love, but in his mediatorial character and possessions. The richest creature ever formed was the human nature of Christ, which he has assumed into intimate personal union with his divine nature. This human nature is enriched with knowledge and sublime properties, which, though finite, as every creature must be, yet far surpass all the richest endowments of the highest angel or archangel who stands in the immediate presence of God. Here is an object to call forth the wonder and adoration of the innumerable angels who encircle the throne of the great I AM.

This divine mediatorial Person is the foundation of the whole plan of redemption. As GOD-MAN, he was born, and lived, and taught, and died, and rose again; and now "ever lives to make intercession" for all who have by faith committed their souls into his hands. And in this character of Mediator he has become heir to a glorious inheritance; and of this inestimable riches he has made every true believer a co-heir, "heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ." There are unsearchable riches for the Gentiles, and also for the Jew; for he makes no difference. All genuine disciples will have their allotment in the celestial Canaan. "It is a broad land of wealth unknown." And these inestimable, inexhaustible riches are freely offered to all. O who will consent to make known these glad tidings to the hundreds of millions of Gentiles now on the earth, and spend their lives in preaching to them the unsearchable riches of Christ?