People have a lot of ideas about why Jesus came. For too many, especially around Christmastime, these those ideas don’t go much deeper than a sweet baby Jesus in a manger, who came to bring joy to the world, or at least, joy to retailers. Who came to make us feel warm and cozy while Jack Frost nips at our nose.
At key points during His ministry, Jesus declared why He came. He even contrasted why He came with why He did not come. Apparently, people misunderstood His mission even while He walked among them.
Jesus knew His purpose better than any man ever has. He said with confidence, “…I know where I came from and where I am going” (John 8:14). Jesus knew exactly what He needed to do during each hour upon earth.
Let’s ignore the greeting card companies for a moment, and discover from the lips of Jesus Himself why He came.
He Came to Die to Provide You Eternal Life
Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many (Matt. 20:25-28).
Jesus was a king and could have expected to be waited on. But no servants laid out his clothes or made His bed (Luke 9:58). Jesus is the only person in history who could choose the time and place and circumstances of His birth, and He chose little Judea during a time of darkness and upheaval. He chose a family so poor He spent His first night in a feeding trough. He spent his life teaching, healing, and helping. At the end, He gave His life on the cross, a Lamb for the sins of the world.
Any view of Jesus that fails to take into account the cross is a sanitized version which minimizes our own fallen condition, and the greatness of His sacrifice.
He Came to Do God’s Will
I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me (John 6:38).
Jesus dedicated Himself to knowing and accomplishing God’s will daily. He was entirely submissive to God until the very end (Matt. 26:42).
May we have that same clarity of purpose. When is the last time you woke up and said, “What can I do in the service of my heavenly Father today?” If we are to be followers of Jesus, we need to learn His priorities (Phil. 2:3-8)—God first, others second, self last.
He Came to Testify to the Truth
“You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate answered, “What is truth?” (John 18:33-38).
Our lives are governed by truths no one dares question—gravity, electricity, momentum. Suggest there are similar laws of truth that govern the moral realm, and one is bound to hear skepticism and opposition. But why should it be any different? God is not mocked—certain behaviors lead inexorably to certain outcomes (1 Cor. 6:9-11).
Jesus came to bear witness to the objective truth that He is the Son of God, and that His words are the words of eternal life. Jesus’ rules are not arbitrary, because they are a reflection of God’s own nature. Obedience to this truth will determine every person’s everlasting destiny (2 Thess. 2:11-12, John 8:31-32, 14:6).
He Came to Call Sinners to Repentance
The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?” And Jesus answered and said to them, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:27-32).
Jesus spent time with sinners to introduce them to the gospel. He viewed even prostitutes and drunkards as saints-in-prospect. He touched them, and allowed them to touch Him. He saved them. Let us never fail to appreciate that we are not far removed from even the lowliest sinners (Titus 3:3-5). We must be lights to the world (Matt. 5:13-16).
He Came to Demand a Decision of You
Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me (Matt. 10:34-39).
Jesus certainly provides peace between people and God (Luke 2:14). But, because not all submit to Him, conflict results. Decide now whom you will serve! —John Guzzetta