Why Did Jesus Come?

Most Christians can give a Biblical answer to the question, why did Jesus come to earth? As the Son of God, as a person in the Trinity, He certainly had no burning need to share in the experience of humanity. He came because He had some things that He could best accomplish in the likeness of mankind.

One thing is clear to us now that was not clear for the people of the first century. That is, Jesus came to die.

But before He fulfilled that pivotal role, He first came to live. He clarified this purpose to His closest followers the night before His arrest. He explained that He walked among us in order to show us the Father.

Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. (John 14:8-10)

It’s kind of funny that some people who do not believe in God’s existence say that if he would just come down and show himself then they could believe, but since he is invisible, they have no way to verify that he’s real.

I say it’s funny, but in a sad sort of way, because that’s exactly what Jesus did. He came to earth to show us what God is like. To make the point, He did all kinds of miraculous things, the kinds of things that only God can do.

One of my favorites was when some of the religious Jews confronted Peter about whether or not Jesus paid the temple tax. Peter said He did, though as the story unfolds, it’s clear He hadn’t paid it that year, or that month, or whenever it was collected. Jesus basically told Peter that the family of God was exempt, but in order not to offend, they’d pay. Then He sent the fisherman out to catch a fish. And inside the mouth of the fish, he’d find a gold coin that would cover the tax for both of them. (See Matthew 17:24-27). Really? Did Jesus have miraculous knowledge of what that fish had ingested? Did He miraculously put the coin in the fish’s mouth? Did He miraculously put the fish in Peter’s net?

Pretty much we have to say no amount of “coincidence” could explain this incredible event. But Matthew wrote about it, so clearly, this was not some secret thing that happened that only Peter and Jesus knew about. This is simply one of those works that Jesus referred to as the Father’s works.

Same with feeding the 5000 hungry men, their wives, and children who also might have been present. All He had were a few loaves of bread and a couple fish, but He blessed it, then started the distribution process. Everyone had enough to eat and there were baskets and baskets of leftovers.

Yes, Jesus blessed the food, as if to make a public display that this work was of God.

As if such a miracle might not be believed by people who weren’t there, He did it again for a crowd of 4000 men. That’s 9000 men, plus women and children, who witnessed this multiplication of food.

That only scratches the surface when it comes to the works of God that Jesus performed. He gave sight to the blind, raised the dead, healed the lame and the maimed, and on and one. Why? Because He came as a healer? Not really. In fact when the word spread in a community, instead of being sure that He healed every last person, He at times moved on. At other times He told the person He healed to tell no one about the miracle.

These were signs, not the reason for His coming. He knew that as a man, His life was just a vapor, same as ours. He knew He faced death, that He wouldn’t be there to heal the people in the next generation or in far away places. He didn’t come to heal everyone any more than He came to set up an earthly kingdom.

Instead, He wanted people far and wide, down through the centuries, to know who God is.

So what do we learn about God by looking at Jesus?

The first thing that comes to my mind is that He welcomes everyone. Jesus wasn’t about finding the richest, though He didn’t turn away the rich; He wasn’t looking for the most religious, though He didn’t turn away the religious; He wasn’t seeking the most powerful, though He didn’t turn away the powerful.

But everyone was welcome. When He went to a new community, He went to the synagogue. When He went to Jerusalem, He went daily to the temple. And yet the people that followed Him were fishermen, tax collectors, even someone we’d probably classify as a terrorist. Women followed Him—some were married to Roman officials, some were prostitutes, some were widows. He really didn’t care. If they came to Him, He welcomed them.

That’s God’s heart. If someone wants to come to Him, He will “in no wise cast Him out.” The NASB translates it this way: “The one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.”

The fact that Jesus welcomed everyone, showing us God’s heart and His desire to welcome everyone, shows us more: God’s desire for relationship, even with the people who have turned away from Him. Consequently, He’s also willing to forgive and willing to provide the means to forgive, both the faith we need to believe and the payment of the debt that keeps us separated from Him.

There’s really not much we can’t learn about God by looking at Jesus.

Published in: on March 23, 2018 at 5:47 pm  Comments Off on Why Did Jesus Come?  
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