December 18 (Daily reading: 1 Timothy) The “mystery of godliness” could be a Christmas carol:
“He who was revealed in the flesh,
Was vindicated in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Proclaimed among the nations,
Believed on in the world,
Taken up in glory” (3:16).
First stanza: Jesus was God, “revealed in the flesh.” “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us” (Jn. 1:14). The mystery was revealed to Joseph: “They shall call His name Immanuel, which means, ‘God with us’” (Mt.1:23). Also, to Paul: “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” (2 Cor. 5:19).
Second stanza: Jesus was “vindicated in the Spirit.” At His baptism, “The Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son, in You I am well pleased” (Lk. 3:22) This man from Nazareth was the Son of God!
Third stanza: Jesus was “seen by angels.” Angels announced His birth. To Mary: “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High” (Lk. 1:32) To Joseph: “He will save His people from their sins” (Mt. 1:21). To the shepherds: “Today…there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Lk. 2:11).
Fourth stanza: Jesus was “proclaimed among the nations.” His birth was an international event! “Magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?’” (Mt. 2:1-2). “(Christ) would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles” (Ac. 26:23).
Fifth stanza: Jesus would be “believed on in the world.” “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (Jn. 1:12).
Sixth stanza: Jesus was “taken up in glory.” The angels told those who witnessed Christ’s ascension: “This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven” (Ac. 1:11).
– Al Gary