The Incomparable Christ I: His Preincarnate Glory

Incomparable Christ

“Now Father, glorify Me together with Yourself with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” (John 17:5)

“. . . He existed in the form of God . . .” (Phil.2:6)

“. . . He was rich . . .” (2 Cor. 8:9)

Where does one begin in examining the unfathomable majesty and mystery of Christ?  One begins in eternity, for “in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”  But we must always remember that the unique Person of the Godman, Jesus Christ, that unique theanthropic Person has only existed from Mary’s womb onward – an existence that will never end or be altered.  But the preincarnate Son of God, the 2nd Person of the Trinity, had eternally delighted in the Father’s love.  The Bible only hints at that unique and inexplicable relationship.  Only that there was the sameness of deity and of glory.  There is just so much that created beings are able to peer into.  “Things into which angels long to look.”  But never has a distance so enormous been so traversed as that from the Son, the infinite Creator, to the finite creation.  Never has a humiliation been so great, never a condescension as enormous as the Word become flesh.

The classic type and prefiguring of this was the Old Testament tabernacle.  There the unobservable, unendurable glory and Presence of God, the Shekinah, was localized in a small cubicle.  A Holy of Holies, where Glory and the fullness of deity was contained and confined in skins.  A glory upon which no unauthorized eye could gaze, and yet confined to that which was approachable.

And so was the “mystery of godliness – God manifested in the flesh.”  Such was the eternal Son of God taking residence in a body that could be laid in a manger – sit at table – mount a cross.

As Paul wrote, “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ who though He was rich for your sake became poor . . .” (2 Cor. 8:9)  What a thought.  “He was rich.”  Rich in power.  Rich in glory.  Rich in angelic worship.  Rich in deity.  Such was the “form of God.”  Yet He became a pauper for me.

This is a theological point we cannot fully understand.  This is not merely a moral admonition we can obey.  All we can do is stand back in awe and wonder.

What profound humiliation.

God will never demand more from me than He has modeled in the most extreme form.  He, as God, taking up time and space.

Indeed did Isaiah understand this when he prophesied, “His name shall be called ‘Wonderful’ . . .”  The Hebrew  word for “wonderful” is elsewhere used in the repeated Old Testament statement “nothing is impossible with God.”  It means something which, though true, is beyond our ability to comprehend.  Such is the baby born in Bethlehem who was named by Isaiah “Everlasting Father.”  Such is full of wonder.

Certainly did the angels sing at His birth and announce to Mary and Zacharias His approach.  Certainly did the angels attend Him in the wilderness and Gethsemane.  Certainly did the angels sit reverently in His vacated tomb and stand reverently in mid-heaven at His ascension.  Certainly will they sound forth His return when He descends from heaven with a shout and the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God.  And most certainly did the demons fall prostrate at His feet in the body of that most wretched demoniac and beg not to be sent in to the abyss.

And how rightly does John’s gospel end in the crescendo of Thomas – “My Lord and my God!”