Summary: I cannot fathom the great love of God that was made known to us in His Son; that Jesus would give up His glory to come into the world as a lowly baby. And then, why would He suffer and die for any man?
Proclaimed By Angels
I cannot fathom the great love of God that was made known to us in His Son; that Jesus would give up His glory to come into the world as a lowly baby. And then, why would He suffer and die for any man? In 1 Timothy 3:16, it speaks of this great mystery, “Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great; He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen of angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.” This verse probably constitutes one of the earliest creeds of the church. Let’s look closely at all the things that it is saying about Jesus.
“THE MYSTERY OF GODLINESS IS GREAT.” The mystery of godliness is that God in the person of Jesus Christ entered the world in which we live, died for our sins and is making men and women godly-that is, with God likeness. If you are a born-again believer in Jesus Christ, you have been accepted by God and your fate is not in question. But there is the matter of having fellowship with Christ; having a personal relationship with Him. That requires God likeness and we can’t do that, unless the Holy Spirit brings us into that relationship and fellowship. We can’t live the Christian life without the help of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit helps us; when we are fervent in prayer, when we regularly feed on the word of God, when we confess our sins and are truly sorry for them, when we open ourselves up to Him and trust Him for all things, and love Him, and love others enough to give them the Gospel and to help them with their problems. It sounds like a tall order, but the only hard part is to turn from self to God. If we make Him the most important thing in our lives, then everything else will come to pass.
“HE APPEARED IN A BODY.” Paul is talking about the virgin birth. Jesus has the body of a man, but as God-man, He did not give up His divinity, but He did give up His glory. Before the incarnation, He existed as a spirit: He was, “…..Being in very nature God…..” (Philippians 2:6). Hebrews 1:3, speaks of Christ as…..”The radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being.” The Lord Jesus Himself said, …..“God is spirit…..” (John 4:24)
From this spiritual condition as God, who was never seen by human eyes, Jesus came into the world in the flesh, to be seen. He entered in a human condition, and the attributes of His spiritual condition were veiled. There were only rare glimpses of His glory; at His baptism, at His transfiguration and at His ascension. When Jesus was upon earth He did not appear to men as what He really was and men did not recognize who He was. The one, who was in the beginning with God, was God and who made all things was overlooked because He became a helpless little baby. He was the image of God and had all power in heaven and earth, but down here He was meek and lowly. Because men did not recognize him, He was called a liar, an imposter and a devil. Men hated him and they murdered Him. Jesus was poor, He was tempted and tried and He actually shed tears.
“VINDICATED BY THE SPIRIT” He was manifested or made known to us in the flesh, but He was not justified in the flesh. We could see Him in the flesh, but He was justified or vindicated in the spirit at the resurrection. When He came back from the dead, that is when we saw Him justified. I Corinthians 15:44 says, “It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body…..” No enemy laid a hand on Him after He was raised from the dead. He will never be dishonored again. Jesus paid the penalty for our sins and He was justified by His resurrection, but now He sets at the right hand of His Father. We are justified because He imparts His righteousness to every believer. How wonderful this is!
“WAS PREACHED AMONG THE NATIONS, WAS BELIEVED ON IN THE WORLD.” The last words that He spoke, just before He ascended to heaven are recorded in Mark 16:15, And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He is still being preached to every nation and many are still coming to believe in Him. That is how He is building His church. The Gospel will be preached, and people will believe, until Jesus removes His church from the world. Even then, a remnant of faithful witnesses will give out the Gospel and some will believe.