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  • Writer's pictureDrew Mathews

December 2

Scripture Reading

1 Timothy 3:16

Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.

Reflection

Think of a time you waited with much anticipation for something that turned out even greater than your lofty expectations. The concert you stood in line to buy tickets for that was so riveting it provoked childlike fanaticism. The movie that brought you to your feet in applause. The book you couldn’t put down and now unashamedly recommend to everyone. In February, we woke up at 2 am to watch the Super Bowl (the annual finals of American Football), to see if our team could indeed prove to be the greatest in the world. A season full of suspense all coming down to one moment of revelation. We were victorious in the end, and we didn’t care which neighbors we woke up as we exclaimed our approval! Greatness must be celebrated and proclaimed!


This is the sense with which Paul speaks about the gospel: “Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness!” In the New Testament, the word “mystery” is used differently than how we normally use it. It is not an unknown phenomenon or unsolvable case but rather something that was once hidden but has now been revealed. The gospel was anticipated by the prophets in the Old Testament. Little snippets and previews were given, creating much excitement, yet no one knew just quite how it would come together. But it has now been revealed in Jesus Christ, and this gospel is greater than anyone could have imagined!


Follow these six truths with awestruck hearts:

1. Jesus is God “manifested in the flesh,” and in his flesh, he was crucified for the sins of man. Indescribably amazing!

2. He was “vindicated by the Spirit,” most notably when he walked out of the grave, “declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:4). Unprecedentedly awesome!

3. His triumph over death was “seen by angels,” paraded before heavenly beings. Better than any championship parade!

4. Christ is “preached among the peoples” of the world. The gospel is so glorious we can’t help but proclaim it!

5. He is “believed on” by these people. Life-changingly magnificent!

6. Christ was “taken up in glory” to one day be revealed in similar glory. Do you ever anticipate that day? It will be the greatest thing our eyes ever behold and our hearts ever experience!


We sometimes lose our sense of the greatness of the gospel. It becomes ordinary, something we have heard before. In the previous verses, Paul exhorts the church to conduct itself appropriately as a “pillar and buttress of the truth” (3:15). Let us guard this great gospel vociferously. Let not apathy wear it away. Let it not be stained by our search for something new. The “mystery” of the gospel is the greatest outcome and the greatest message of all time! It appears that the words of 1 Timothy 3:16 were recited as a hymn. Let us also sing it in applause of the greatness of the gospel, unashamedly proclaiming it to each other, to our neighbors, and to the world.





Notes

Song: Angels We Have Heard on High, For King and Country

Scripture quotations are from the ESV®Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright© 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Picture: Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash



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