The Good News for a Modern World | Part 4
Who is Jesus Christ?
Part 2 | Why Did Jesus Come to Earth?
Jesus came to earth for many purposes. The overarching purpose was to establish his own sovereignty:
“Keep this mental attitude in you that was also in Christ Jesus, who, although he was existing in God’s form, gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that he should be equal to God. No, but he emptied himself and took a slave’s form and came to be in the likeness of men. More than that, when he found himself in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient as far as death, yes, death on a torture stake. For this very reason also God exalted him to a superior position and kindly gave him the name that is above every [other] name, so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven and those on earth and those under the ground, and every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”
– Philippians 2:5-11
Up until his bestowal on earth, Jesus was a vicegerent of his universe, meaning he was an appointed sovereign. He was existing in God’s form, meaning he had all the accoutrements of God, but he lacked the experiential knowledge which the Father possesses existentially. In other words, what the Father inherently knew, the Son would have to learn. So, with the Father’s blessing, Jesus humbled himself and came to be in the likeness of his own creation in order to know them by experiencing their lives and their trials and their joys.
“Seeing, therefore, that we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold onto [our] confessing of [him]. For we have as high priest, not one who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tested in all respects like ourselves, but without sin. Let us, therefore, approach with freeness of speech to the throne of undeserved kindness, that we may obtain mercy and find undeserved kindness for help at the right time.”
– Hebrews 4:14-16
And after he completed his mission and returned to heaven, he had earned his sovereignty and was given ‘the name that is above every other name so that all of his creations, in heaven and on earth, would openly confess him as Lord.’ (Philippians 2:9-10) These scriptures lead us to conclude that his intelligent heavenly creations knew of the Son’s relation to the Father. And while they unreservedly worshiped the Father and honored the Son, they knew the Son had only been an appointed Creator God. But after his earthly sojourn, it was as Jesus truly said: “All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth.” (Matthew 28:18) Thus, every knee would bend to his established universe sovereignty.
As the baby Jesus grew into manhood, he dealt with life as a normal human being, though it appears he had a limited awareness of his special relationship to the Father. At the age of 12, when he went missing and was finally found, he said:
“Why did you have to go looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in the [house] of my Father?”
- Luke 2:41-50
When Jesus reached the full stature of manhood, he presented himself for baptism by his cousin, John the Baptizer, along with other pious Jews as a national sign of repentance. It was at this time that Jesus became fully conscious of his pre-human existence as the Christ, Son of God. His Christ awareness descended upon him in the likeness of a dove
“After being baptized Jesus immediately came up from the water; and, look! the heavens were opened up, and he saw descending like a dove God’s spirit coming upon him. Look! Also, there was a voice from the heavens that said: “This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.”
– Matthew 3:16-17
By the Father’s approval, he had earned his right of sovereignty. Now began the second phase of his earthly bestowal.
Immediately after his baptism, Christ Jesus went away alone into the Perean Hills to formulate his plans and determine upon the technique to uplift the spiritual state of his misled, abused and dejected creation, a ministry of enlightenment that would spread over the entire planet and prepare the way for global peace. It was during that 40-day period of isolation that it is recorded that the Devil tried to tempt Jesus from doing that work. (Matthew 4:1-11) But Christ Jesus emerged from the mountain with the glory of spiritual victory, moral achievement, and a plan.
Jesus brought a message of good news, not only peace on earth, but something far greater. He began preaching about a new era for mankind, entry into the kingdom of the heavens:
“Repent, you people, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.”
– Matthew 4:17
“Then he went around throughout the whole of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the good news of the kingdom and curing every sort of disease and every sort of infirmity among the people.”
– Matthew 4:23
In his first major sermon, called the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus informed us of the invitation to enter into the kingdom of heavens:
“Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need, since the kingdom of the heavens belongs to them. Happy are those who mourn, since they will be comforted. Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit the earth. Happy are those hungering and thirsting for righteousness, since they will be filled. Happy are the merciful, since they will be shown mercy. Happy are the pure in heart, since they will see God. Happy are the peaceable, since they will be called ‘sons of God.’ Happy are those who have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake, since the kingdom of the heavens belongs to them. Happy are you when people reproach you and persecute you and lyingly say every sort of wicked thing against you for my sake. Rejoice and leap for joy, since your reward is great in the heavens; for in that way they persecuted the prophets prior to you.”
– Matthew 5:3-11
This was an unusual message. Never before had mankind been told that they would see God, that the heavens would belong to them, that they would be, not mere slaves or servants of God, but sons of God, and that they would be able to enter into the kingdom of the heavens! As the Apostle John wrote:
“He came to his own home, but his own people did not take him in. However, as many as did receive him, to them he gave authority to become God’s children, because they were exercising faith in his name; and they were born, not from blood or from a fleshly will or from man’s will, but from God.”
– John 1:11-13
For the next few years, Jesus continued to elevate man’s dignity. Specifically, he taught them to refer to God, not by name, but by relationship – as Father – as would any loving child.
“You must pray, then, this way: ‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth. Give us today our bread for this day; and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the wicked one.’ For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; whereas if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
– Matthew 6:9-15
“But you, do not you be called Rabbi, for one is your teacher, whereas all you are brothers. Moreover, do not call anyone your father on earth, for one is your Father, the heavenly One.”
– Matthew 23:8-9
But there was a specific work Jesus had to perform, unique to his people, the Jews:
“And he came to Nazareth, where he had been reared; and, according to his custom on the sabbath day, he entered into the synagogue, and he stood up to read. So the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed him, and he opened the scroll and found the place where it was written Jehovah’s spirit is upon me, because he anointed me to declare good news to the poor, he sent me forth to preach a release to the captives and a recovery of sight to the blind, to send the crushed ones away with a release, to preach Jehovah’s acceptable year.”
– Luke 4:16-19
Jesus purposed to free the Jews from their captivity to the burdensome Law Covenant and its associated rituals. As he said:
“Do not think I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I came, not to destroy, but to fulfill; for truly I say to you that sooner would heaven and earth pass away than for one smallest letter or one particle of a letter to pass away from the Law by any means and not all things take place.”
– Matthew 5:17-18
Yes, Jesus fulfilled the Law. By fulfilling it, he finished it. He released the Jews from it and he brought it to an end.
“But now we have been discharged from the Law, because we have died to that by which we were being held fast, that we might be slaves in a new sense by the spirit, and not in the old sense by the written code.”
– Romans 7:6
“For Christ is the end of the Law, so that everyone exercising faith may have righteousness.”
– Romans 10:4
“Furthermore, though you were dead in your trespasses and in the uncircumcised state of your flesh, [God] made you alive together with him. He kindly forgave us all our trespasses and blotted out the handwritten document against us, which consisted of decrees and which was in opposition to us; and He has taken it out of the way by nailing it to the torture stake.”
– Colossians 2:13-14
“However, before the faith arrived, we were being guarded under law, being delivered up together into custody, looking to the faith that was destined to be revealed. Consequently the Law has become our tutor leading to Christ, that we might be declared righteous due to faith. But now that the faith has arrived, we are no longer under a tutor.”
– Galatians 3:23-25
The Law Covenant served an important purpose as a tutor leading the Jews to the Christ, who would bring to mankind the next revelation of God. Once the Christ arrived, the Law Covenant with its associated rituals was not longer necessary. The prophet Daniel prophesied that the Law Covenant would end with Messiah’s arrived:
“And he must keep [the] covenant in force for the many for one week; and at the half of the week he will cause sacrifice and gift offering to cease.”
– Daniel 9:27
But how would Jesus go about bringing an end to the Law Covenant? The Law Covenant and the added rabbinical commands were so deeply ingrained in the Jewish mind that death could result for failure to honor and keep them. Obviously, Jesus would have to engage in a more serious and somber undertaking. He would be presented with a “cup” that he would at one time pray be taken away, but one he loving accepted as the will of God in order to free his people. (Luke 22:42)
“[T]he Son of man came, not to be ministered to, but to minister and to give his soul a ransom in exchange for many.”
– Matthew 20:28