Saturday, January 5, 2019

190106 Why He Came

Luke 4:16-21 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
Jesus intentionally opened the scroll of Isaiah and went to what we now designate as chapter 61. He would have needed to know exactly where that was in the scroll because there were no chapter and verse divisions. After reading the section Jesus proclaimed that this Scripture was fulfilled in their presence. Let’s look at several references that will help us to know why Jesus came into the world.
We want to look at Jesus’ own statements as well as passages from the Old Testament about why he came. There is a wealth of material available throughout the Bible showing why Jesus needed to come into the world.
Jesus’ responded to a question by John the Baptist. Let’s look at Matthew 11:2-6. Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”
This is one of the most impressive descriptions of the work that Jesus did while he was on earth. He had gathered the twelve and Matthew pointed out that one of them was the person who betrayed Jesus. Jesus did not present the future to them as a bed of roses. They understood that they were going to face opposition and they were going to be like sheep in a flock of wolves. Jesus encouraged them not to be afraid because the Father would take care of them. But he assured them he did not come to bring peace to the earth. The future for them would be opposition in their communities and even in their families.
Then, John the Baptist’s disciples arrived with the question that must’ve been very heavy on John’s heart. “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” This was a burning question for John. He was in prison at the order of Herod Antipas. John had been bold enough to challenge the king who had taken his brother’s wife. John himself must’ve realized that he would very likely die in that prison. We know the story, at the request of his step-daughter John’s head was cut off. Yet, while he awaited his fate in the King’s prison he wanted to know if Jesus was really the Messiah.
Jesus’ answered them by demonstrating what he was doing! The blind were given sight! The lepers were cleansed! The deaf could hear! The dead were raised to life! And, last but not least, the poor heard the gospel! Jesus always was concerned for the downtrodden. He had compassion for those in need. In Jesus own words…
Jesus came to provide spiritual freedom. Let’s look at John 8:31-32. So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Many times we hear someone quote the words, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Somehow they think this has to do with education. There is a certain kind of education involved. But it is a deeply spiritual learning process. Jesus spoke to the Jews who believed him!
I had to go back and correct what I had written. Originally I wrote that Jesus spoke to the Jews who believed in him. But what John said was that he spoke to the Jews who BELIEVED HIM! If we’re not careful we will find ourselves adding thoughts that become words to the word of God.
He went on to say, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples.” Abiding in his word and becoming his disciples allowed them to know the truth and be set free. It is the same for us today.
In the first chapter of his letter (John 1:9) John said that Jesus was the light which came into the world. Let’s look at that passage…
Jesus came to bring light into darkness. John 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
The promise came from God hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus in the prophecy of Isaiah. God, Yahweh, called his people in righteousness. And he still does today! Jesus came to give us a righteousness that is not our own. Jesus, who had no sin of his own, became sin for us in order for us to become the righteousness of God! IN HIM! None of this world’s righteousness is of any value. The only thing that counts is that which is given by God through Christ. God the Father promised to give a light for the nations to open the eyes of the blind and bring prisoners into freedom (Isaiah 42:6-7).
Jesus came to save all who believe in him. Let’s look at those familiar words in John 3:16-18. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
Without God’s righteousness mankind had no hope. The Bible tells us that we are brought forth in iniquity (Psalm 51:5). In plain language look at Ephesians 2:1 “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked”. When Jesus came into the world it was a world of darkness. They were carrying on the sacrificial system given to them by Moses. But that system was not sufficient for the needs of mankind. As the writer of Hebrews taught us, “But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Hebrews 10:3-4). Consequently, in order for anyone to be saved and inherit eternal life the Son of God had to come into the world and take mankind’s sin into his own body. Jesus had to become the substitute sacrifice that covered our sin.
God does not condemn us we are born condemned because we inherit the sin of Adam and Eve. As a consequence we deserve death and hell! Unless we repent and place our faith in Jesus we have no hope. The message of John the Baptist when he began his preaching was simply, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). Praise God, Jesus did not inherit Adam’s sin. The apostle John puts it this way, “You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin” (1 John 3:5). So one of the reasons he came into the world was to take away sin. Not his own sin since he did not have any sin. He came to take our sin and to give us the ability to repent and believe.
In his own words…
Jesus came to seek and save. Let’s look at Luke 19:10. “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
This is not a new concept. During a time of great trouble King Asa was warned that “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him” (2 Chronicles 16:9). I hope our response to the idea that God is a seeking God is more positive that Asa’s was. He rebelled against that idea that he needed to seek God. Or that God was seeking him and requiring him to be blameless.
Many people today have the same kind of response. Many rebel at the idea that they may need to repent and follow Christ. When we come to Christ for salvation we are not doing God a favor. God does not need us it’s quite the other way around. Without him we have no hope.
Jesus did not just appear in order to sit and wait for those who would believe to come to him. He came to seek and save. No one who seeks him will ever be turned away. The reasons why he came into the world could be summed up as…
Jesus came to give abundant life. Let’s look at Jesus’ words in John 10:10. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
We know that thief is Satan himself. He is also roaming to and fro over the earth looking for those whose hearts are not completely surrendered to God. He is seeking to steal and kill and destroy. Just as Satan tempted Eve he tried to pull Jesus down in the temptation in the wilderness. Satan and his demons will do everything possible to blind the spiritual eyes of people. He will use lies and deception. Our enemy will work to keep people in bondage to anything that hinders them from coming to God. The enemy will use temptation, doubt, guilt, fear, confusion, sickness, envy, pride, slander, or anything else that will possibly hinder a Christian’s peace and the ability to witness to Christ. Satan would not have us be useful to God in any way.
On the other hand, our Lord Jesus came into the world in order that we may have abundant life. It’s so sad that so many sincere believers allow Satan to rob them of their inheritance in Christ Jesus.
“The fact that God created us for his own glory answers the question about our purpose in life. Our purpose must be to fulfill the reason that God created us: to glorify him. When we are speaking with respect to God himself, that is a good summary of our purpose. But when we think of our own interests, we make the happy discovery that we are to enjoy God and take delight in him and in our relationship to him.” (Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, p 441).
King David told God “In your presence there is fullness of joy in your right hand are pleasures for evermore” (Psalm 16:11). The normal attitude of the Christian is rejoicing in the Lord and the lessons of the life he gives us.
Jesus came to give us these things and much more. In the words of our Lord Jesus, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11). Jesus came to disable Satan and deliver us from a life of rebellious sin into a life of peace. He came to take away the fear of death! Have you put your heart and life into his hands? Today could be your day of salvation. Call on him, repent of your sin and he will give you life abundant.
All scriptures quotes are from: The Holy Bible: English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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