Why did Jesus come? It is an interesting question, and one which seems to garner many and varied answers. So let’s see what the Bible has to say about it. Let’s read out from the Bible so we have a chance to receive revelation… rather than reading into the Bible, to support our denominational views.
Before we look at some Bible verses, let’s first reacquaint ourselves with what theologians call The Law of First Mention: “The Law of First Mention may be said to be the principle that requires one to go to that portion of the Scriptures where a doctrine is mentioned for the first time and to study the first occurrence of the same in order to get the fundamental inherent meaning of that doctrine. ”
In other words, when studying the Bible, we need to keep to the principle that we need to keep all interpretations in line with previous mentions and information which the Bible provides, and we need to be careful not to take bible verses out of context. This is another reason why we need to read out of the Bible, and not into it!
The work of Jesus was actually predicted before his birth: The KINGDOM OF GOD ON EARTH
Luke 1:31-33 31 And behold! You shall conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name JESUS. 32 He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest. And the Lord God shall give Him the throne of His father David.” (i.e. Jesus shall become a King).
33 And He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end.
From Luke 1:31-33 it is clear that Jesus was to come to earth for two reasons:
1) become a King and
2) to re-establish a Kingdom.
Let us now proceed to the first words which Jesus spoke, as recorded in the Bible. These words are recorded in Luke 2:24-50 where we find Jesus teaching with amazing understanding and authority, at 12 years of age:
Luke 2:46-50 “46And it happened that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both hearing them and questioning them. 47 And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.
48 And seeing Him, they were amazed. And His mother said to Him, Child, why have you done so to us? Behold, your father and I have looked for you, greatly distressed.
49 And He said to them, ‘Why did you look for Me? Do you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?’
50 And they did not understand the word which He spoke to them.”
In Luke 2:49 we find the focus and direction of all of Jesus’ earthly works as the He says effectively, “It’s all about My Father’s business…” or “What I do is not about Me, but about My Father…”
This is a very important concept to recognise, that Jesus was not focussed on His work for His own sake, but for His Father’s sake. He was doing the will of the Father at all times. This is position and affirmation of submission is repeated in John 5:30 as Jesus says:
John 5:30 “I can do nothing of My own self. As I hear, I judge, and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of the Father who has sent Me.”
As we move on to the first words of Jesus recorded from His adult ministry, let us en route look at why it took Jesus 30 years to start His ministry, though at the tender age of 12, He was already acknowledged as speaking and interpreting the Torah with astonishing understanding and authority.
I believe the answer may be found in Hebrews 4:5 where it states that Jesus was a King and Priest in the order of Melchezidek. Genesis 14:18 says “Melchizedek the King of Salem brought forth bread and wine. And he was the Priest of the most high God.” Jesus, like Melchizadek, was both a King and a Priest. A quick study of the Book of Numbers reveals that Levitical priests worked in ministry from age 25-50 (Numbers 8:24-25), “but the Sons of Kohath … among the Levites… serve in the most Holy Place” from age 30-50 (Numbers 4:2-5).
The First words in Jesus’ adult ministry as recorded in the Gospel of Luke are:
Luke 4:43-44 “And He said to them, ‘I must proclaim the gospel, the Kingdom of God, to other cities, because I was sent on this mission‘, 44 And He proclaimed in the synagogues of Galilee.”
Jesus makes it clear here why his Father sent Him. Jesus was to “proclaim the Gospel, the good news of the Kingdom of God,” for that, as Jesus says, was why He “was sent on His mission.”
This is the Mission Statement of Jesus: to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God.”
This is why Jesus came, and this is what we must understand. If we don’t know why He came, how can we correctly understand what He did, and why?
The First words in Jesus’ adult ministry as recorded in the Gospels of Matthew are similar:
Matthew 4:17 “From that time, Jesus began to preach and say “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”
These are is the same words as John the Baptist uses in Matthew 3:2, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” As you will recall, Jesus said of John the Baptist in Matthew 11:11, “Assuredly I say to you, among those born of woman there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist….. but he who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he.”
What me must recognise here is that: The Kingdom of God = The Kingdom of Heaven. In the Gospels they mean the same thing and are interchangeable.
In the Gospels, (the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), the Kingdom of God is used in the Gospels written for Gentiles, while the Kingdom of Heaven, is used for the Gospels written for Jews, as they do not write or speak the name of word “God,” using “G-d,” even today.
Outside the Gospels, reference to Kingdom of God, means a direction from God, while Kingdom of Heaven refers to a direction form “Headquarters” – the ruling government of Heaven.
Jesus put the Gospel of the Kingdom of God into the context of the end-times for us, in reply to a question from his disciples:
Matthew 24:3-14 “.. And as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the world? [END OF THE AGE..]
4 And Jesus answered and said to them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, I am Christ, and will deceive many.
6 And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not troubled, for all these things must occur; but the end is not yet.
7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in different places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9 Then they will deliver you up to be afflicted and will kill you. And you will be hated of all nations for My name’s sake.
10 And then many will be offended, and will betray one another, and will hate one another.
11 And many false prophets will rise and deceive many.
12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many will become cold.
13 But he who endures to the end, the same shall be kept safe.
14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in all the world as a witness to all nations. And then the end shall come.”
The Great Commission
Note here how easy it is to shorten “this gospel of the kingdom” to… “the Gospel” to… “to the Good News” to… “the Gospel of Jesus” to… which … as you know… is love…. is this…. is that. Yes, it is very easy to distort this clear message of Jesus and twist and distort the meaning of v14, as often happens when explaining and quoting, or rather, misquoting, the Great Commission. So, given that the Law of First Mention determines the usage of phrases and concepts and how to interpret them, therefore, I believe that “this Gospel of the Kingdom” is the correct interpretation of use in the 2x Great Commission passages which occur later in the Bible. They are:
Matthew 28:19-20 “Therefore go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things, whatever I commanded you. And, behold, I am with you all the days until the end of the world. Amen.”
Mark 16:14-18 “And He said to them, Go into all the world, proclaim the gospel to all the creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned. And miraculous signs will follow to those believing these things: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will be well.”
Jesus saw the Gospel of the Kingdom of God as very important – indeed, worth all we have! Jesus saw and described the finding of the Gospel of Kingdom of God as worth and worthy of everything we possess. Indeed, He gave His life for it.
Read what Jesus says about the Kingdom of Heaven in these following two short, but focussed parables:
Matthew 13:44-46 ” Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which when a man has found it, he hides it, and for the joy of it goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.
45 Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls; 46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”
What most Christians do not know, is that Satan also knows how important the Gospel of the Kingdom of God is, and he does all he can to take it away from us! But don’t take my word for it, read what Jesus had to say about it:
Mathew 13:18-19 ” Therefore hear the parable of the sower. 19 When anyone hears the Word of the kingdom and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and catches away that which was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown by the wayside.”
Given the importance of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to Jesus (and to Satan), perhaps it would be beneficial to look at a simple paraphrasing of the Great Commission, combining Matthew 28:19-20 and Mark 16:14-18, in order to understand the essence of what Jesus was calling us to do:
“Go and teach all nations; proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to all the creation, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
In essence, I believe this is what Jesus has commanded all His followers, believers, to do.
As Jesus says, in Matthew 24:14, until that is done; until we go and teach all nations, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to all the creation, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, the end will not come.
Now we understand in his own words why Jesus came in the first place, we need to ask ourselves if we understand what the Gospel of the Kingdom of God is, and what it means for us.
How does this understanding impact our lives? How does this understanding change the way we live our lives, for Him?
~ Angus MacKillop