Christmas is right around the corner, and I think it can be so easy to take for granted what it’s all about. Do we truly wonder at what it really means?
Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great. (16a)
The mystery of godliness. So many people in Paul’s time said that the key to godliness was their own self-effort. That it could be found through asceticism or through keeping the law. Others were saying it was found in these myths and genealogies that they were promoting.
But true godliness does not come through religion or self-improvement. It comes through Jesus Christ and what he did for us.
[God] 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. (16b)
God came down to this earth as a tiny baby in Jesus Christ. God who created this world. God, the one who sustains all things by his word alone. The true King of the universe, apart from whom nothing would exist. He came as a helpless child.
Jesus grew up as a carpenter’s son. He knew hardship as a youth with Joseph his father passing away, leaving him to care for the family.
He then left his home to start his ministry, preaching to the people. He showed them who God really is. He showed them the power of the kingdom, casting out demons, healing the sick, and raising the dead. And yet they crucified him, just a week after declaring him king.
But the Spirit showed him to be the Son of God with power by raising him from the dead. The angels proclaimed his resurrection to his disciples. He himself appeared to them, and then was taken into glory. His disciples took this news to the world, and even now, Jesus’ name is preached and believed on throughout the world.
And it is through this gospel, that people are now made righteous before God, their lives transformed by the very power of God that raised Jesus from the dead.
That’s the wonder of the gospel. That’s the wonder of Christmas.
May we, his church, be the pillar and foundation of this truth, proclaiming it to this world that is dying and without hope.
Let us never become calloused and take for granted the glory of this gospel.
How about you? Do you still wonder at this gospel you believe?