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The Great Mystery of the Incarnation

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.

—1 Timothy 3:16

It is a great mystery, if compared to all other mysteries

Creation was a great mystery, for all things to be made out of nothing, order out of confusion. For God to make man a glorious creature of the dust of the earth, it was a great matter. But what is this in comparison for God to be made man?

What are all mysteries, either of nature or hell, to this ‘great mystery’?

First of all, learn hence from blessed St Paul how to be affected when we speak and think of the glorious truth of God; that we should work upon our hearts, to have large thoughts and large expressions of it. St Paul thought it not sufficient to call it a mystery, but a great mystery.

—Richard Sibbes, 1577-1635

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The Crisis of Incarnation

The subject of the Incarnation is at once initial and fundamental. … The Lord Jesus Christ is a Person infinitely transcending the possibility of perfect human comprehension. Nevertheless the Scripture declares certain facts concerning Him, which account for His glory and His grace, and without which He remains an unsolved problem, defying every successive age in its attempts to account for Him. It should at once be admitted that no final words of explanation can be written concerning Him. And yet it is of the utmost importance that so much as has been revealed should be recognized, in order to a comprehension of the true meaning of His mission. . . .

[Let us look at] the birth of Christ as the crisis of Incarnation. There is always the danger of dwelling more upon the birth of the human, than of contemplating that birth as the crisis through which God became incarnate. . . .

“The Word became flesh.” The statement is appalling, overwhelming. Out of the infinite distances, into the finite nearness; from the unknowable, to the knowable; from the method of self-expression appreciable by Deity alone, to a method of self-expression understandable of the human. . . .

In this sense Christ is the mystery of God. Perfect analysis and explanation of His Person is impossible. The fact thereof is declared as to origin, and essential characteristics. These must be recognized, in order to a right understanding of the great subject of human redemption.

—G. Campbell Morgan (1863-1945)

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