In our last visit we noted that Paul couldn’t give his testimony without bursting forth in praise to the one true, unique God, our Savior (1st Timothy 1:17). This happens again as he concludes instructions about qualifications for leaders in the church in chapter 3:16.
“Beyond all question,” he writes, “the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.”
The “He” obviously refers to Jesus Christ. He was before He appeared in a body, but indeed He did appear in a body, a body like yours and mine, flesh and blood. He was invisible before His incarnation, one with the Father and Spirit, just like it said in chapter 1:17. In that body He was touched with feelings like ours, tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin.
He was vindicated or endorsed by the Spirit in many ways. He was born by a work of the Spirit. He spoke and performed miracles by the Spirit. He died and was resurrected by the Spirit. And the Holy Spirit inspired the writers of scripture to present Jesus Christ as God the Son.
As the angels watched all of this they were dumfounded by the wonder of God’s great gift of love. This one, Jesus Christ, has been preached among the nations, and there have been those who believed on Him all over the world. Yes, He was taken up into heaven following His death and resurrection, with the promise that He will return for His own.
What a simple but profound declaration of truth. Do you believe it? I hope you do.