About two thousand years ago, Jesus lived on earth as a human. In Bible language, the Word became flesh and dwelt among men (John 1:14).
While living in a human body, the Christ shared the same experiences which other humans do. He was hungry, He slept, He was tempted, and He cried. But why did He come? Why did He live on the earth for more than thirty years? What was His mission?
Let us first observe some things which Jesus did not come to accomplish. For instance, Jesus’ purpose in coming to earth was not to:
Remove every problem which humans face
Eradicate all sickness and disease
Improve the world’s economy
Settle all domestic disagreements
Make the world a better place (He certainly did that, but that was not His ultimate goal)
Change the world by political activism
Overthrow civil government
Establish an earthly kingdom
If the above matters do not indicate Jesus’ mission in coming to earth, what light does the Bible shed on His real purpose in coming?
Jesus came to save sinners. Before the Christ was born, an angel of God told Joseph, the husband of Mary: “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). God chose the name “Jesus.” Why that name? Because He was going to save people from sin. What does “Jesus” mean? It means Jehovah is salvation.
Jesus said He came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). Paul also affirmed, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners . . .” (1 Timothy 1:15).
Thus, Jesus came to be “Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14). Sinners are those who have transgressed God’s will and stand lost without Him. Jesus came to save people of all races and backgrounds, regardless of the kinds of sins they have committed. The remedy for man’s sin is not to become better people or increase the number of good works we do. Salvation is granted to humans only through the blood of Jesus, who willingly laid down His life, becoming a sacrificial lamb on our behalf (John 1:29). Brothers and sisters, if we are going to “preach Jesus” in a biblical sense, we will preach Him as Savior, the only remedy for mankind’s rebellion against the Creator.
Jesus also came to serve humans. He declared, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). The Christ, who was the servant of God (Matthew 12:18), took on the form of a bondservant and became the servant of humanity (Philippians 2:7). While on earth, our Lord “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38). While His mission was not simply to help others, serving them was a part of His role. He showed incredible compassion, thoughtfulness, and love, leaving us a perfect model to imitate.
In addition, the Christ came to preach the truth. Before going to Calvary to give Himself as a ransom, He first spent a few years proclaiming God’s word, which is truth (John 17:17). Just before Pilate sentenced Jesus to death, He told the governor, “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth” (John 18:38). Because Jesus wanted men to understand that only God’s truth can make them free from sin (John 8:32), He propagated that truth.
Jesus’ mission to earth also included building His church. That plan was in the mind of God before the creation of the world. Jesus promised to build His church (Matthew 16:18). Because of His great love for His church, He gave Himself for it (Ephesians 5:25), purchasing it with His precious blood (Acts 20:28). He is the Savior of His one body/church and serves as its Head (Ephesians 5:23). While Jesus now sits at His Father’s right hand in heaven, on earth His church continues His mission of glorifying God and helping people prepare to go to heaven.
How blessed the human race is that Jesus came into the world! He came to save sinners, serve humans, preach the truth, and build His church. May we always appreciate all that He has done for us.
Adapted from Roger D. Campbell