1 Timothy 3:16 (ESV) 16 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.
Although this hymn-like text does remind us of His ascension, the primary function is to highlight His glory. His home is glory. He is glorious and we want the world to see His glory. So why this hymn…? (here is an excerpt from my sermon on 1 Timothy 3:14-16)
…. So that Christ’s sacrifice looks amazing. So that God’s value would jump off the page. So that you will break inside at how much love was poured out for you and how that magnifies the worthiness of God. This is about glory – not yours, but God’s. Yes, the cross shows you as valuable, but not as most valuable. The rescuer is the hero of the story, not the rescued (The movie isn’t called Lois Lane. It is called Superman). The one who sacrificed his life for the helpless gets the fame. If the gospel were on the big screen, at the end the crowd is meant to leave in a unanimous chorus of “Jesus is best. I want to be like Him.” He is the star of the show. He is the brightest point of the universe. You are not insignificant; you are just not as significant as God. And this is part of the test that saving faith exists. The believer delights that God gets more glory than they do. The one who fights to protect his glory rather than God’s glory is flirting with insubordination. God’s glory is our aim, our delight, our treasure and His rights are to be trumpeted. It is His gospel that is to be proclaimed to the ends of the earth so that thousands, millions might embrace Christ and experience the abiding joy and peace through present suffering and an eternity with the King. He was taken up in glory because He is glorious.