1 Timothy 3:16
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels…
The word is not altogether so fitly translated, for it is more pregnant than it is here rendered, "He was seen." It is true. But He was seen with admiration and wonderment of angels.
1. They saw Him with wonderment. For was it not a wonder that God should stoop so low as to be shut up in the straits of a virgins' womb? It was matter of admiration to the angels to see the great God stoop so low, to be clothed in such a poor nature as man's, that is meaner than their own.
2. And because He was their Head, as the Second Person, and they were creatures to attend upon Christ, their sight and wonderment must tend to some practice suitable to their condition. Therefore they so see and wondered at Him, as that they attended upon Christ in nil the passages of His humiliation and exultation — in His life, in His death, in His resurrection and ascension.
3. They saw Him so as they were witnesses of Him to man. They gave testimony and witness of Him.
(1) Shall angels see and wonder at these things? at the love and mercy and wisdom of God in governing His Church, in joining together things irreconcilable to man's comprehension, infinite justice with infinite mercy in Christ, that God's wrath and justice should be satisfied in Christ, and thereby infinite mercy showed to us? Shall they wonder at it, and joy and delight in it, and shall we slight those things that are the wonderment of angels? There are a company of profane spirits — I would there were not too many among us — that will scarce vouchsafe to look into these things, that have scarcely the book of God in their houses. They can wonder at a story, or a poem, or some frothy device; at base things net worthy to be reckoned of.
(2) Again, from hence, that Christ was seen and attended on and admired by angels, there is a great deal of comfort issueth to us. So we have a derivative comfort from the attendance of angels upon Christ. But surely, whatsoever they did to Him they do to us, because there is the same respect to Head and members. And hence we have the ground of the perpetuity of it, that they will for ever be attendants to us; because their love and respect to us is founded upon their love and respect to Christ. Likewise, it may comfort us in all our extremities whatsoever, in all our desertions. The time may come, beloved, that we may be deserted of the world, and deserted of our friends; we may be in such straits as we may have nobody in the world near us. Oh! but if a man be a true Christian, he hath God and angels about him alway. A Christian is a king; he is never without his guard, that invisible guard of angels.
Parallel VersesKJV: And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
WEB: Without controversy, the mystery of godliness is great: God was revealed in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, and received up in glory.