I’m naturally a questioner, and if you’re like me then you’ve learned what questions make people nervous, especially when it comes to Scripture and Christ. But what I continue to discover as I ask my questions is that God doesn’t fear them, he meets us with the answers! One question that often used to meander around in my head, was voiced to me recently by one of my kids: why did Jesus have to come to earth? He’s God after all! Why would he come to live as one of his created?
The lovely and complex thing about this question is that the answers are far too numerous to list here, so here are just four: to fulfill his word, to save sinners, to do the will of and glorify the Father, and to bring eternal life.
To Fulfill his Word
God is in all things faithful—if he said something would come to pass it does! We can trust His Word because of this—isn’t that encouraging?
God first promised Christ’s coming in Genesis 3:15 when he assured that a deliverer would defeat Satan. There are at least 300 prophecies of Christ in the Old Testament. He is the embodied fulfillment and proof of God’s faithfulness to his promises. Matthew 1:22-23 reminds us of this amid the narratives of Mary and Joseph learning about Jesus: “This all happened so that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet would be fulfilled.” And Christ himself taught this during the Sermon on the Mount: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have not come to abolish these things but to fulfill them” (Matt. 5:17).
Christ’s coming proves to us the trustworthiness of our Lord—he is faithfulness to his core and all his promises come to fruition.
To Save Sinners
Matthew 1:21 says, “She will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.” Christ came as the Savior of the sinful and broken. Again originating in the Garden, as sin was ushered in so was the need for a Savior. As sin came upon all humankind through Adam and Eve so it is that all people need the Savior.
We are a people desperate for redemption, but we can’t know this need apart from understanding the nature of our sin. I’m painfully aware of living in a sinful world. I have a list of broken relationships, broken body parts, and sinfulness that daily reminds me of the reality of sin. What I’m also aware of is my total inability to free myself of my own sin. Despite my best efforts I still sin in my anger, act selfishly, and choose pride over humility. I cannot change this apart from the deliverance by Christ and the renewal and aid of the Spirit. Ephesians 2 meets us in that subtle and intrusive thought that perhaps we have some power to save ourselves, as it teaches, “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). It is through faith in Christ our Savior, by the grace of God, that we are set free from sin. For this Christ came, to set free the captives, to save the lost, and to give sight to the spiritually blind (Lk. 4:18, 19:10, Jn. 9:39).
To Do the Will of the Father & to Glorify Him
I know, I know, technically these are two things. But they’re so intertwined that I’m lumping them together. Truly the list of reasons for Christ’s coming is so long, can you blame me for throwing another in?
Christ, in His teaching to the crowds that followed Him, professed His purpose as obedience to the will of the Father: “For I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me” (John 6:38). Christ’s submission to the will of the Father is seen again as He prays for the cup of suffering to be removed from Him in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:39). This wasn’t a one-time event but rather Christ’s coming reveals a beautiful aspect of the relationship of the Trinity! Christ submits to and glorifies the Father through His coming, His ministry, and His death.
The Father’s will was for Christ to come to earth—living a life of obedience, service, and suffering—to be our Savior, Redeemer, and Deliverer. In so doing Christ glorified the Father. As He prepared to obey and submit to the will of the Father unto death, He prayed, “I glorified you on earth by completing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4). In turn, Christ was glorified through His sacrifice and humiliation.
The kindness and mercy of God so often astound me. He didn’t only send His Son to atone for our sin, but also grants eternal life through Jesus Christ! In this he brought us hope. The ultimate redemption is given through Jesus. Though death is the outcome of everyone on earth, through Christ we have hope of life everlasting—not here, in this broken world but in the perfect presence of God (Rev. 21:3-4).
“For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him” (Jn. 3:16-17). These verses are so familiar to those of us raised in the church (perhaps your first memory verse!) but the familiarity sometimes allows us to forget the truth of it. Christ came to bring life to the fullest. Amazing!
Sin ushered in death but at the advent of Christ’s birth, the battle for life was already won. This is the cause for our great celebration as we are just days away from Christmas. We don’t celebrate a hollow day, consumed only by giving and receiving gifts. Rather, we prepare to celebrate the gift of life, of our Savior coming to bring truth, justice, peace, eternal life, redemption, and restoration.