(If you would like to receive Pastor Harris’ weekly sermons via e-mail, Click here)
Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
July 11, 1999
Why Did Jesus Come?
The following is a fictional story, but it is based on many true stories of missionaries that have occurred over the years.
Many years ago a team of missionaries from England set out to bring the gospel to a tribe hidden deep in the woods. These missionaries were well trained and understood what it would take to reach a people that knew nothing of the outside world, much less what God had done for them in Jesus Christ. When they first arrived these native people were very skeptical of these white people. They were very different from them in appearance, in clothing, in manner and in the strange noises they made when talking with each other.
These natives had met white people before, but these people were different. There were traders that had come to exchange things with them. They had pretty beads and warm blankets that were soft to the touch. They had knifes made of metal and cooking pots that could be set in a fire and not be damaged. All these traders wanted in exchange was the skins of the animals that were so plentiful around them anyway.
There were other white people that had come, but these did not bring things for trade. Instead they brought guns that could kill at a long distance. In many ways they were helpless before these men and so they had they belongings stolen from them, or these violent men would try to set themselves up as chiefs over them.
But these new people were different. They had guns, but they only used them to kill game to eat. They never threatened them. In fact, they would use their guns to help them. They did some trading, but they received a lot more than with the other white men gave them. Often these white people would give them things without cost and had strange medicine to make them feel better when they were sick. Even more strange was the that these white people were building homes nearby and were working hard to speak the tribes language.
Months went by, and then years and still the tribe did not understand these white people who were so different. What did these white people want? Why were they here? Why had they come? Then a day came that these strange people asked the natives to come and listen to a story they had to tell. It took many days for them to tell the whole story, but these natives listened intently, in some ways motivated with great curiosity that they might finally find out why these people had come to live with them. The story was strange to their ears. They told of a God that had created everything, of the world and how big it was, of a land far away and of another people that lived long ago and things that had happened to them. They were told of the first humans the created had made and how they had broken the creators commands. They were told of the evil that their descendants did and how the creator eventually destroyed the world with a flood that covered the earth, but a few people were warned by the creator and saved by building a large boat. These stories were strange, yet similar to their own legends. They were told of a special people that the Creator had chosen for himself and of the many events in their history – of their becoming a great people, of their being held in slavery in another country for many years, of how God had freed them with many miracles, of these people becoming a great nation with powerful kings that ruled over many lands, of the disobedience of these people who would neither worship the Creator in the way He commanded nor would they obey God’s instructions on how to behave. Many more stories were told of these people including their being oppressed again by another nation. Finally came the day when a new character was introduced into the story. His name was Jesus.
They were told that Jesus was God Himself who had become a man. They were told of the life that He lived, the miracles He did and the things that He taught. The tribe was excited thinking that this Jesus would restore these people to power. They thought these white people had come to tell them of this great nation far away. But then they were told of the jealousy and hatred the religious leaders had toward Jesus and how they finally killed Him. These natives were now very confused. Why would these white people come and live with them for so long just to tell them such a sad story. What good was this to them to hear about how evil had triumphed over good. They knew many such stories themselves in their own history of how evil people had abused and killed the good people. Why had these white people come to them? Why did they tell this story? Why did this God become a man if He was only to be killed by evil men?
Perhaps you are here today with similar questions? Why is this church here? Why do we talk so much about events that happened thousands of years ago in a distant land to a foreign people? Why do we talk about this Jesus so much? And if what we are saying is true, why then did God become a man in Jesus Christ only to end up being killed by evil men? Those are legitimate questions? They deserve legitimate answers. This tribe did not understand until they heard the end of the story and then they began to understand all that Jesus had said about why He came and what He was going to accomplish.
Let me tell you the end of the story, and they I am going to go back and point out many of the things Jesus said about why He came so that you too will understand, and believe, and respond in faith.
The story does not end with Jesus’ death does it? His death itself gives many of the clues to why He came, but if Jesus’ murder was the end of Him it would also be the end of His story and He would have failed to accomplish what He said He had come to do. When Jesus died, He did so willingly. Though He had been arrested by the Romans at the prodding of Jewish religious leaders, they did not have power over Him. Recall that when Jesus was arrested and Peter tried to defend Him with a sword that Jesus told Peter to put the sword away saying, do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? Remember as well what Jesus said in John 10:17,18, “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.” When Jesus died on the cross, He did so willingly because it was in the Father’s plan and not because Jesus was forced into it by evil men. At the moment Jesus died we are told that He “gave up His spirit” (John 19:30). It was not taken from Him.
When Jesus came, He was still in control.
Recall as well what Jesus said in John when Pilate asked Him if He was a king. Jesus said that He was, but that His kingdom was not of this world otherwise His servants would fight that He would not be delivered up to the Jews (vs. 36).
Jesus had come for some reason other than setting up an earthly kingdom.
When Jesus was in full torment of suffering on the cross, even then, Jesus was compassionate – even towards the evil men that had placed them there. He petitioned God the Father to “forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
Jesus did not come for revenge.
The last thing Jesus said before He died was, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Jesus completed all that He had come to do as a man
There was still work Jesus would do after death for Him to accomplish the work He had come to do, but this would be done in proof of His deity and the validity of His promises. Of primary significance is that Jesus would take the keys of death and hades (Rev. 1:18) by conquering death itself by rising from the dead. The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15 that if Jesus had not risen from the dead we would have no hope and be left in our sins (vs. 17). And after the Resurrection, Jesus would give a final commission to His followers (Matthew 28:18-20) before ascending to Heaven where He is at the right hand of God the Father making intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25).
It was at this point that the natives understood why this missionaries had come to them. They had the wonderful story of Jesus to tell them. They now understood why Jesus had come. Think back with me now at the various statements Jesus made in which He specifically states why He came.
Jesus Came to Do the Father’s Will – John 6:38
“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.“ Jesus added in John 8:42 that “I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.”
Jesus did not operate out of ego-centrism, out of selfishness and pride. He did not come to gain for Himself and fulfill His own purposes and desires. Jesus came with complete humility in total submission to the Father. The Father’s will was His purpose and desire. It should be our purpose and desire as well.
Jesus Came to Fulfill God’s Law – Matthew 5:17,18
“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. 18 “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished.”
If Jesus had come to do that which was contrary to what God had already revealed about Himself and His will, then we would know that He was a false prophet. Remember that Satan can also work what seems like miracles to us and in fact will do so to deceive many into following him (Matthew 24:24; 2 Thess. 2). We need to keep this in mind so that we are not deceived and led astray from the truth by the false prophets and teachers that abound in our own day (2 Peter 2:1). Jesus came to fulfill God’s law and give fuller explanation of it. Jesus was in complete harmony with what God had already revealed about Himself and His will. That is why we know Jesus was truly from God the Father.
Jesus Came to Bear Witness to the Truth – John 18:37
In talking with Pilate, “. . . Jesus answered, “You say [correctly] that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
Jesus was born a king, but His kingdom was not one of this world which the Jews expected. It was not a kingdom that Pilate understood. Jesus came to declare the truth and to call truth seekers to Himself in a spiritual kingdom that transcends this world. Another way of describing Jesus bearing witness to the truth is the analogy of being a light in a dark place.
Jesus Came as Light into the World in order to Save It -John 12:44-50
“And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me does not believe in Me, but in Him who sent Me. 45 “And he who beholds Me beholds the One who sent Me. 46 “I have come [as] light into the world, that everyone who believes in Me may not remain in darkness. 47 “And if anyone hears My sayings, and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. 49 “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me commandment, what to say, and what to speak. 50 “And I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.”
Jesus’ did not come to bring condemnation on the world. His purpose was to declare God’s plan of salvation from sin in Himself. Yet, where a light shines, a division is made between that which is in the light and that which remains in the shadows of darkness. The light is available, but they do not come. This analogy is used in the first chapter of John’s gospel. In vs 4 Jesus is declared to be the life and the light of men. In vs 5 Jesus is the light shining in the darkness, but the darkness did not comprehend it. In vs 9 Jesus is the true light coming into the world enlightening every man. In vs 10 we find that Jesus came unto His own, but they did not receive Him.
Jesus gives further explanation of this in John 3:16-21: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. 17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. 18 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 “And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. 20 “For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 “But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
There is a division between those that seek the light and those that hate the light. This then is another reason Jesus came.
Jesus Came to Divide Humanity – Matt. 10:34-40; Luke 12:51-53
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 “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; 36 and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. 37 “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. 38 “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 “He who has found his life shall lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake shall find it. 40 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”
Again, this division will be based on the response people have to Jesus. In John 9:39 Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see; and that those who see may become blind.” Those that come to Christ in humility will be given grace to see, but those who remain prideful thinking they can earn their own righteousness will be left in their blindness (vs. 40,41; Matt. 15:12-14; 1 Peter 5:5). Those who love the light and believe are given eternal life and will not be judged, but those who hate the light and reject the revelation of truth about Jesus will be condemned and judged by their own evil deeds.
Jesus Came to Seek and Save That Which was Lost – Luke 19:10
“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
What a wonderful truth this is for we could not seek Him ourselves. Ephesians 2:1 tells us that we were born dead in [our] trespasses and sins. Dead people can not seek anything. Furthermore, in Romans 3:10,11 Paul quotes from Psalm 14 and tells us that “There is none righteous, not even one; 11 There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God.” In John 6:44 Jesus said, “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” We could not seek Him, but Jesus came to seek and save us.
How is it that Jesus could save us?
Jesus Came to Suffer and Die for Our Sins – John 12:27
“Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28 “Father, glorify Thy name.” There came therefore a voice out of heaven: “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”
The context of this passage is after Mary had anointed Jesus in preparation for His coming death (vs. 7), and His entry into Jerusalem (vs. 12). Jesus is telling His disciples again about His coming death when He would be “lifted up from the earth” on the cross (vs. 32).
The cross was not a surprise to Jesus. He knew from the beginning why He had come and that He would face the cross at the end. Jesus had been warning the disciples for sometime that He would suffer at the hands of the elders, chief priests and scribes and be killed. Recall that right after Peter made His great declaration in Matthew 16:16 that Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” Jesus began to reveal this truth to the disciples and Peter tried to rebuke Jesus saying it would never happen (vs. 22), as if Peter could stop it. Jesus sternly rebuked Peter saying, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s” (vs. 23). Jesus told them again after the transfiguration (Matt. 17:12 & 22,23). Jesus warned them again just before going up to Jerusalem (Matt. 20:17-19, 28), and then again just two days before the betrayal (Matt. 26:2). Jesus knew the purpose for His coming, and though in His humanity He desired to avoid it, He was in complete submission to the Father’s plan and sought to glorify Him through it.
Jesus also knew that the manner of death was necessary. There had been other attempts on Jesus life. The crowd as Nazareth sought to push Him over a cliff, but Jesus walked through their midst (Luke 4:29,30). The religious leaders sought to kill Jesus many times, (John 5:18; 7:31; 8:20,59; 10:31; 11:8), but Jesus’ “hour had not yet come” (John 7:31). The usual manner in which the Jews would carry out capital punishment – death – was through stoning (Lev. 24:16; John 10:32 cf. John 18:31,32). Jesus had to die on the cross, because that was the fulfillment of His taking upon Himself the curse of our sin. Gal. 3:13 quotes Deut. 21:23 and tells us that “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.” Jesus “who knew no sin [became] sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). Jesus came to suffer and die for our sins. This same idea is expressed in our next verses.
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Two ideas these passages need to be brought out. First, Jesus came to give His life a ransom. How is it that Jesus’ death could have any benefit to us? Without getting into a long theological discussion involving all the intricacies involved in this idea, let me summarize. Sin brings the penalty of death. Ezek. 18:4 is very direct saying, “the soul that sins shall die.” It was the penalty Adam was warned about in the Garden of Eden. Romans 6:23 states it, “the wages of sin is death.” God’s justice demands that the penalty for sin be paid. The Old Testament sacrificial system pointed this out and reinforced this truth. An innocent animal was killed as the substitute for the one that had sinned and deserved to die. The animal was the ransom payment for the sin of the individual. The problem was that animals are not equivalent to a human. Hebrews 10:4 says, “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” Something of equal or greater worth would have to be a the substitute. Jesus Christ became the substitute, the ransom payment for our sins. Hebrews 10:10 tells us that “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Jesus came to give His life a ransom.
Jesus also came to serve, not be served. This again points to His humility and the example He set for us. Life is not about you or me. It is about the glory of God. Jesus Christ glorified God through His service to mankind. God desires us to do the same. That is why Jesus said in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. How is it that Jesus death can be applied to us as individuals?
Mark 2:17 And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “[It is] not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Luke 5:32 “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
Many of the Pharisees and scribes rejected Jesus because they thought they were already righteous. When someone thinks they are already good enough to earn God’s favor and make it to heaven, there is not much you can do for them. They have to realize their need first. It is not until a person understands that they are a sinner, someone who has missed the mark of God’s call to holiness by breaking His commandments, that they become a candidate for salvation. The first step of salvation begins in an individual’s life is their becoming poor in spirit (Mt. 5:3). They recognize their depraved spiritual condition and that they can do nothing on their own to change nor do they have anything to bargain with to get someone else to change it. All they can do is beg that God will change it. That is the essence of repentance. A change of mind about one’s spiritual condition resulting a change in action in one’s life from self reliance to reliance on God for salvation and direction.
Finally, Jesus Came to Give Abundant Life – John 10:9-11
I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. “The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly. “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.
Jesus came to give us an abundant life. That is does not mean a life filled with material things and success as the world defines it. It means a life that is alive and has eternal purpose. We were dead in our trespasses and sin and Jesus made us alive together with Him (Eph. 2:1, 5). Our minds operated in futility because our understanding was darkened and we were blinded by the devil (Eph. 4:17,18; 2 Cor. 4:4), but Jesus has brought us to the light and given us the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). We were once slaves to sin, but now we are slaves of righteousness (Rom. 6:17,18). We were once destined for eternal separation from God and punishment in Hell, but now we are destined for eternal life with Christ in the joys of Heaven (Rev. 20,21). That is the abundant life.
The story I started my sermon with has been repeated in many placed around the world. People who had never heard the story of Jesus have been told the good news of salvation in Him and after finding out why Jesus came they have turned from their sin, found forgiveness and Christ and have gained this abundant life. That is my prayer for you.
Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy -laden, and I will give you rest. 29 “Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. 30 “For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.” That is an invitation for the non-Christian and Christian alike. If you do not Christ, He invites you to find rest from your burden of sin in Him. You come today and talk with one of our church leaders and let us show you from the Bible how you can be forgiven and begin a life with Jesus Christ. For the Christian, Jesus gives an invitation that you would come and find peace and rest in Him. We invite you pray with someone else in this local body of Christ that you may find in Him the peace that passes all understanding in the midst of what ever you may be going through today (Phil. 4:6,7).
Sermon Study Sheets
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help.
Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Write down all the verses mentioned in the sermon and look them up later. 2) Talk with your parents about what you learned today about why Jesus came.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others.
Have you ever wondered before why Jesus came? What can you learn from the story of Jesus death about why He came? What work was there for Jesus to still do even after His death on the cross? Jesus made many statements about why He came, and some of they we are to imitate. How are doing in doing the Father’s will? Do you bear witness to the truth? Do you seek out the lost and tell them the gospel? Do you call sinners to repentance? Could Jesus be from God if He had not fulfilled God’s law? How can you tell a true teacher from a false one? How can you tell a when a “miracle” is done by demonic power? What is the nature of Jesus’ kingdom? Jesus did not come to judge the world (Jn 3:17), yet for judgement He did come into the world (Jn 9:39). How is that reconciled? How does the message of Christ divide the world? Why did Jesus die? How does His death apply to you? Define in your own words, “repentance.” Do you have His abundant life?
Sermon Notes – 7/11/1999 a.m.
Why Did Jesus Come?
What We Learn from His Death
Jesus Came to Do the Father’s Will – John 6:38
Jesus Came to Fulfill God’s Law – Matthew 5:17,18
Jesus Came to Bear Witness to the Truth – John 18:37
Jesus Came as Light into the World in order to Save It – John 12:44-50
Jesus Came to Seek and Save That Which was Lost – Luke 19:10
Jesus Came to Suffer and Die for Our Sins – John 12:27-28
Jesus came to Give Abundant Life – John 10:9-11
For comments, please e-mail Church office