God had a very special purpose in mind when he sent Jesus: to show us how to live, to teach us the truth about God, and to reconcile us to God.
In a previous post, I presented the case of Jesus’ miraculous birth and “ordinary life”. You can be confident then that Jesus was born a normal human being, just like you and I, albeit through some rather remarkable circumstances. The next point to understand is that Jesus is special because he was sent.
Right away, just putting that down brings up all sorts of questions about Jesus, not the least of which is that, if he was sent before he was born, then he must have existed before he was born … an idea which starts to make my head feel like it is going to explode with confusion.
Now, trust me, just put all of that aside for the time being. I am trying here, with this website, to highlight and describe what I believe are the essential things about God, faith, Jesus, etc, the things that you need to understand before you can really start to place your faith in him. Afterwards, you can have all sorts of fun with your friends, down at the pub or in the café, discussing the finer points of Theology until you’re ‘blue in the face’ or ‘passed out on the ground’.
The question that is important now is why was Jesus sent?
In “Why Was Jesus Born?”, I wrote that, by being born human, Jesus affirmed that being human is all right. That might seem like a strange thing to write at first glance, but think for a moment how many people are so negative about themselves. Suicide is as prevalent as it is today precisely because many of us think so poorly of ourselves.
In contrast to this, God says, “No! You are just fine the way you are because I made you.” It is all right being who we are because we are exactly as God intended us to be. Of course, we can be better, especially better than our bad choices. Because of these, we may have strayed away from our potential and become less than we could be. This brings us to the first reason God sent Jesus: Jesus shows us what it means to be human.
The fact is that we screw up all the time. We seem to be particularly bad at making the right choices, especially when it comes to how we treat other people. We’re not particularly good at taking care of ourselves either.
If God exists, then he created us. If he created us, then he should know a thing or two about the right way for us to live. In fact, if the Bible is correct, then God-our-Creator wants us to live a free, full, and forever life, one that is far better than anything we could imagine for ourselves or accomplish for ourselves.
Jesus was sent to show us what this looks like.
He endured exactly the same sorts of trials and temptations that we face: His family wasn’t particularly well off; he likely stubbed his toe every now and then; he was tempted in the wilderness; he faced opposition. There is nothing that you face in life that Jesus did not also face similarly. The only difference is that he remained pure, he overcame!
The fact that he overcame his trials and temptations means that we can overcome also!
The second reason God sent Jesus was to teach us the truth about God.
If you read the biographies of Jesus in the Bible, you will likely notice that he often started his teaching with these words: “You have heard that it was said … but I tell you …” It’s not that the religious teachers of the past were completely wrong in what they understood about God, it’s just that they had strayed away from the essential message. Jesus was sent to clear up this confusion. Even more than this, he was sent to bring to completion all that we could know about God!
Jesus stated, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9; cf. Mt 5:17). In other words, to look at Jesus —to hear what he said, to watch him care for others, etc.— was to see God. Everything we ever need to know about God we see in Jesus. Very truly, he is the Truth! (Jn 14:6)
The third reason God sent Jesus, that I am going to highlight in this post, is that Jesus made possible our reconciliation with God. This certainly needs a lot more background information and explanation than I’m going to provide here —I’ll save that for a later post. For now, essentially, you need to begin to appreciate that Jesus’ death was his gift to us. He took on the penalty of our turning our backs on God, our Creator. And that is a pretty serious thing, turning our backs on God, and God takes it pretty seriously, as he should.
Luckily for us, God does not treat us as our turning away deserves (Ps 103:10). Instead, he himself provided the sacrifice that would pay the penalty on our behalf. Jesus stood in the gap between what we’ve done wrong, in our attitudes as much as in our actions, and the justice that we rightly deserve. And that is pretty gracious on his part.
Yet, besides being gracious, it’s really a win-win for both of us! As our Creator, God wants to be in a relationship with his creation and especially us, the pinnacle of his creation. If this were not true, why would he have gone to so much effort, throughout human history, to draw us to himself, to act on behalf of his people? The pages of the first major section of the Bible, the Old Testament, are filled with stories of how God wanted to be with his people. Sending Jesus was just another in a long history of interventions by God. He was the ultimate intervention.
When we accept God’s overtures towards us our relationship with our Creator is renewed and we re-establish a live-giving connection to The Giver Of Life. A win-win!
Meant To Live
I know you want more out of your life. It’s only natural because each of us know instinctively that something is missing. All the fame, fortune, and fornication we could ever want still fall terribly short of what we really desire: meaning and purpose. God knows our meaning and purpose because he created us with intentionally. He knows the best you you can be.
God sent Jesus to show us a whole new world of possibility for ourselves and to make that possible for us, with him. Which will you choose? Will you continue to go your own way or will you start to reconsider the good news about Jesus?
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