A memorable statement from The Imitation Game was this: “Turns out all the German I needed to speak to break Enigma was ‘Heil Hitler!'”. If you’ve not seen the film, it follows the codebreakers at Bletchley Park in England during WWII. The line comes from Alan Turing who indeed managed to break German encryption without knowing the language. The film describes the final maneuver to crack Enigma, the seemingly unbreakable German code, as the realization that every morning weather report would end with two words: Heil Hitler. This provided a kind of key by which all other transmissions could be deciphered.
I’m not a big fan of looking for secret codes hidden in Scripture. But I do think a similar sort of thing comes to us in plain sight in Matthew 5:20:
“For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
This is on the surface a baffling statement. First, the Pharisees were so strict in their adherence to law and tradition, that is truly difficult to even imagine how to up your game there. Second, Jesus spends most of his ministry in conflict with same people over their take on the law and righteousness. He tells them they are tying burdens onto people that they cannot bear.
So how to do both outdo their righteousness and unburden yourself from the law? It is a paradox.
It is an invitation to embrace the gospel. No amount of law keeping will raise our righteous credibility to the divine. So instead, the Divine offers us His righteousness. On the cross, Jesus pays for our unrighteousness. Leaving the grave, He gives us His righteousness, surpassing anything that might be attained by mortals.
Is there a secret code in the Bible? Sort of. It is the open secret of the good news of Jesus Christ. Until you factor that in, the Bible will read like a bunch of nonsense. Once you both understand it and submit yourself to Christ, grand vistas will spread before you on the pages of Scripture.
Lord, open my eyes. Let me see.