A Gift Too Great For Description
Originally preached Dec 15, 2013 by Pastor Jonathan Laye
It is Christmas, a time when we celebrate the gifts of the Wise Men to the young child Jesus, gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These gifts dates back to Origen in Contra Celsum: “gold, as to a king; myrrh, as to one who was mortal; and incense, as to a God.” Have you ever received a gift that you just couldn’t find the words to describe it and what it meant to you? An almost unbelievable, indescribable gift. That it is: Beyond Words, Beyond Description, Unutterable, Unspeakable, Inexpressible, Incommunicable. The other day I saw a tee shirt that said, “Today I feel Indescribable.” During this season of giving and receiving gifts, I think it would be fitting to consider the gift God has given to us.
The Apostle Paul was writing to the Corinthian Church about their graciousness in giving for the cause of Christ, in closing his discussion he emphasized the reason for Christians to be generous. In light of the gift of Christ to us and the benefits it brings us, it is impossible to describe what God’s gift means to all of mankind. All Paul could say was, “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift” (II Corinthians 9: 15 KJV). The NKJV reads, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”
The word “unspeakable” translates a word that is used here for the first time ever in the Greek language. Two other times in the New Testament the word unspeakable is used (2 Corinthians 12:4 and 1 Peter 1:8) but, it is another Greek word. Paul needed a word to describe the great riches that have been given to us in Jesus, but he did not possess a suitable word in his entire vocabulary. So, Paul invented a word. The word Paul uses means “indescribable”. When Paul speaks of the gift God gave us when He gave His Son, he says “Jesus is a gift so good, so great, so wonderful that He really can’t be described.”
I. The Indescribable Gift:
- Christ is indescribable as a person:
- He is perfect man and glorious God.
- No angelic being, good or bad can describe His full nature, the nature of one who is called, “Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace.”
- One whom God gave, “for us men, and for our sakes.”
- He was the Creator of all things, for “without Him was not anything made that was made,” yet He was “made flesh and dwelt among us.”
- Christ was omnipresent, filling all things; yet He came and lived among mankind on this earth.
- He was that child whom Mary birthed, yet He lived in all eternity.
- He was in the beginning with God and yet He, Himself was God. He was truly God and also truly man.
- He is indescribable, no human words can explain this sacred being.
- Christ is indescribable in His condescension:
- Who can describe how far Christ stooped when He left a glorious throne in eternity and came to lie in a manger along with lowly livestock.
- The Infinite becomes an infant.
- The Eternal comes to be held in the arms of a mortal woman.
- The Creator of all the universe finds Himself in a carpenter’s shop.
- He who has all the riches of Heaven comes to live in absolute poverty with no where to lay His head.
- There are no words to describe the fullness of that condescension.
- Christ is indescribable in His sacrifice:
- Who can weigh the depth of His sweaty blood in the garden, or the treachery of Judas’ kiss of betrayal.
- Who can fully understand the flight of His disciples in His dying moments, or that pulling and plucking of His beard and the humiliation of spitting in His face.
- Someone tell me why the false accusations, the slanders and the blasphemies were spieled out against one who was pure and undefiled.
- Describe to me how it is that the Son of God allowed Himself to become a beaten bloody mass of human flesh crying out, “it is finished” on an old rugged cross.
- Someone explain the deep feeling of loneliness He felt when He cried “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me.”
- How, just how, can someone so righteous, love those who are so totally depraved, enough to give His life a ransom for their salvation.
- There are no words in heaven or earth to describe the depth of His sacrifice.
- Christ is indescribable in His glory:
- There are no words to describe how a dead and buried Jesus had the power to descend into hell and snatch the keys of death and hell from the hands of Satan.
- Explain in detail how the departed spirit of Jesus re-entered the dead body He had lived in and rose from death.
- Describe how it is that He could appear to His disciples and eat and allow them to touch Him and yet He could appear and disappear at will.
- Are there words enough to cause understanding as to how the resurrected Jesus could just ascend into the air and disappear into Heaven and go to the right hand of His Father and sit again in His glory.
- How can He be described in His glory when He returns to this earth, except in the words of John, “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had[a] a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean,[b] followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp[c] sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: King of kings and Lord of lords.” Revelation 19: 11 – 16 NKJV
- His glory is indescribable, far above any imagination of human words.
II. The Only Response Man Can Give Is One Of Thanks: “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.”
- Give thanks to God for the person of Jesus the Christ, the indescribable Word of God who allowed mankind to behold His glory, full of grace and truth.
- Give thanks to God for the condescension of the Son of God who was willing to become the Son of Man and dwell among us.
- Give thanks to God for His sacrifice that we may have life eternal.
- Give thanks to God for the glory He will share with His redeemed.