Key Verse: Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! – 2 Corinthians 9:15
In 2 Corinthians 9, Paul at first is writing about human gifts. The church in Corinth is taking up offerings to give to the poor Christians in Jerusalem. He commends them for their eagerness to help, and reminds them that those who sow sparingly will also reap sparingly, but that those who sow generously will reap generously.
Then he shifts his attention from human gifts to God’s gift of sending Jesus to earth for us. Furthermore, he cannot find words to describe that. He simply says, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.”
Why does Paul call Jesus “indescribable?” first of all, I believe that Paul calls Jesus “indescribable” because of His nature. How do you describe Jesus? What words would you choose? How do you describe a baby born of a virgin? How do you describe God in flesh, walking upon our earth and reaching out to the hurting masses of humanity?
Isaiah said He would be called Emanuel, “God with us.” How do you describe that? What words would you choose? How do you describe that which is spirit when all we have ever known is that which is either physical or material? How do you describe God who has all knowledge when all we have is limited knowledge? How do you describe God who is all-powerful? How do you describe the eternal? How do you describe the indescribable?
Paul says that we can’t. Words aren’t adequate. Nevertheless, many of the wisest men in the world have tried to describe Jesus. Listen to the Council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D. The greatest theological minds of the time came together and tried to describe Jesus. Here is their description: “Perfect in Godhead and perfect in manhood. Truly a man of a reasonable, rational soul and body. Consubstantial, co-essential with the Father according to the manhood. In all things like unto us without sin. Begotten before all ages of the Father according to the Godhead. And in these latter times for us and for our salvation, born of the Virgin Mary. According to the manhood – one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only begotten to be acknowledged in two natures. Inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably and the distinction of natures being by no means taken away by the union, but rather the property of each nature being preserved.”
Did you understand that? Neither did I. That’s man’s attempt to describe the indescribable. Even when we bring together our greatest minds and our most extensive vocabularies, we cannot adequately describe Jesus because He is always more. He is the Father’s indescribable gift to us.