Why Did Jesus Come?
What is Truth?
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” Gal 4:4
For years, I have been asking my students the question: “Why was Jesus born? For what reason did He come into the world?” My first objective is to get people to think, which we unfortunately don’t engage in much today. I have been amazed to see the look on people’s faces when this question first confronts them. I can see they haven’t really thought about it before. The second reason is that it affords the opportunity to ponder one of the most astounding events in all of history.
Paul, in 1 Timothy 3, spoke of it this way:
16And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
God was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory.
John, in John 1, spoke of it this way:
14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
I don’t suppose we can properly grasp the full essence of what it meant for the infinite, holy, omnipotent God of the universe to put on the form of finite man and dwell among the living dead. The reasons for Him doing this are probably deeper than we could possibly contemplate. However, it is not as if we have to guess about this thing. God has given us clear testimony in His Word concerning the reasons why He humbled Himself and “made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” (Philipians 2:7)
Here are a few of them:
• Matt 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
• Matt 10:34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn "’a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law–a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
• Luke 12:51 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.
• Luke 12:49 “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!
• Matt 20:28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
• Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
• Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."
• John 12:47 “As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it.
• 1 Tim 1:15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst.
• 1 John 3:5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin.
• Mark 1:38 Jesus replied, "Let us go somewhere else–to the nearby villages–so I can preach there also. That is why I have come."
• John 9:39 Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind."
• John 12:46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
• Luke 5:32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
• Matt 9:13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
• Mark 2:17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
• John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
• John 638 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.
• Heb 10:7 Then I said, ‘Here I am–it is written about me in the scroll– I have come to do your will, O God.’"
• John 12:27 “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.
• John 15:22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin.
• 1 John 3:5 But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins.
• 1 John 3:8 He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.
• 1 John 4:10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
• 1 John 5:20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true–even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
But the final reason I ask this question is to focus on the very specific words of Jesus as He was giving the “good confession” before Pilate (1 Timothy 6:13):
John 18:37 “You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."
Here is one of the clearest and most objective statements that Jesus made about the reason He came into the world. This statement doesn’t override the others, in fact, I think it helps to clarify many of them. For example, in 1 John 3:8, we are told that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. What is the devil? A liar. When Jesus said that He didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword, we understand that it is not a worldly sword that He is referring to. The Scripture makes reference over and over again to the sword being the Word of God (Eph 6:17), which in Hebrews 4:12 reiterates that it divides (“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”) This reinforces what Jesus said about coming for judgment that the blind should see (John 9:39), coming as a light (John 12:46), came to preach (Mark 1:38), came to give us understanding so that we would know him who is true (1 John 5:20), and so on.
Now, so there be no misunderstanding. This does not, in any way, diminish the great, grand and glorious purpose of Jesus to give His life as a ransom (Matt 20:28), that he appeared to take away our sins (1 John 3:5), that He came to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:10). That is another of those astounding things that are beyond comprehension—that God would, Himself, take the penalty and wrath that was due us. Absolutely breathtaking.
So, our focus upon the words of Jesus to Pilate that He was born and came into the world to testify to the truth, should not be seen as diminishing the work of Christ upon the cross nor the power of the resurrection. But, it is evident that the life of Jesus was dedicated to this task of testifying to the truth. And, in a world that is dead set against truth, it is time for us to elevate it to its proper place. And, as we briefly mentioned in Tour 1, there is a great Scriptural link between the issue of truth and salvation.
Amen and Amen.
© 2006 Focus on the Family.