Beyond all question, 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. (1 Timothy 3:16)
There are a number of approaches to this verse, but I like to see it as Jesus’ life biography. Consider the following:
He appeared in a body: born of a virgin and placed in a manger in Bethlehem.
He was vindicated by the Spirit: the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus at His baptism and God said, “This is my beloved Son. In Him I am very pleased.”
He was seen by angels: The word for angels in the New Testament can refer to heavenly angels or earthly messengers. I believe Paul is talking about those who witnessed Jesus’ ministry, death and resurrection.
He was preached among the nations: Jesus’ witnesses preached His message to everyone.
He was believed on: People believed in Jesus and followed Him.
He was taken up in glory: Jesus gave His disciples their final commission and ascended into heaven.
Those who put their faith in Jesus…who accept His life, ministry, death and resurrection, are motivated to live holy lives. To know Jesus is to be like Him: beyond all question.
I think it is important to note, the ethical behavior of those who follow Jesus is rooted in historical fact. This is contrary to those who like to see Him as a moral teacher, but not the only Son of God. Why are some so ready to accept Jesus’ morality while rejecting His resume?
Do we accept the authority of anyone else in our lives without a background check? Do we go to doctors who don’t have diplomas? Do we let people who haven’t been to dental school drill holes in our teeth and fill them with epoxy compounds?
Why would we do anything Jesus asks us to do if He was not who He claimed to be?
This really is the dilemma of false teaching. False teaching attempts to strip away the divinity of Jesus to make His Words more reasonable. But in doing so, it loses any basis for a high moral ground.
Because of the things Jesus said about Himself, He is either God’s Son, or a liar. There is no middle ground.
I actually can stand in the middle ground in many cases…but not here.
Dear God, thank You for giving me a foundation for my faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen.