Shortly before Pontius Pilate caved in to mob rule and turned Him over to be crucified, Jesus stood before Pilate who asked Jesus, “Are You a king then?”
Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (John 18:37)
Thus Jesus Himself gave one reason for His coming. And He courageously proclaimed it before a representative of the greatest world power of the day, the Roman empire. It was under this man’s rule, as we confess in our ancient creed, that Christ was crucified.
On a previous occasion two brothers among Christ’s disciples, abetted by their mother, had approached Jesus to seek a glorious high position for themselves in His kingdom. Jesus used the occasion as a teaching moment. Included in His instruction was this statement:
“…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28) He Who is the Truth came to bear witness to the truth, and to serve.
Another teaching moment arose when a Samaritan village refused to show hospitality to Jesus and His disciples. Indignant, the latter presumed that they could imitate the mighty prophet Elijah. At the word of Elijah, God had shown dreadful judgments; fire coming down from heaven to consume men who had been sent to hinder the prophet’s ministry (see 2 Kings 1).
The disciples asked Jesus if they too should command fire to come down from heaven and consume a village which was hindering a greater Prophet. But Jesus told the disciples, “…the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” (Luke 9:56). The true King, great High Priest, and final Prophet came to witness to truth, to serve, and to rescue not destroy.
Although some complained when Jesus went into the home of the notorious sinner Zacchaeus, Jesus rejoiced in that man’s evident repentance for his sin, and explained that “…the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)
So why did Jesus come? He said He came to stand for truth, to render service to others, and to deliver those worthy of destruction from it. Here He gives us another reason for His coming. The good Shepherd came to seek His lost sheep.
Not only does the good Shepherd look for His lost human flock and deliver them from evil, but He works proactively to give them life which is life indeed. He said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
And so from Jesus’ own lips we learn five reasons for His coming. When Jesus had ascended to His Father’s right hand, the Spirit of truth (John 14:7, 15:26, 16:13) came in Christ’s stead. Writing under the inspiration of that blessed Holy Spirit, Christ’s spokesmen the apostles added at least two more reasons. One has to do with the evil one.
The ancient serpent’s wicked work of temptation and deception became the occasion for Adam’s willful and high handed disobedience which ruined him and all who came from him. BUT! “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8)
The Truth Himself witnessed of truth and sent the Spirit of Truth. He is the great Servant. He is the Deliverer. He is the good Shepherd Who seeks His lost sheep and gives them life. He came to destroy the devil, who already has suffered a fatal wound. The day is coming when Christ will finally and fully destroy that that wily snake, who is also compared to a prowling lion ever seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
Another apostle both confessed his need of this One, and succinctly articulated our seventh reason for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ:
“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” (1 Timothy 1:15)
Who is the Truth and truth Speaker, the Washer of His disciples’ feet, the One Who diverts certain destruction, the Finder of the lost, the life Giver, the righteous Enemy and ultimate Doom of God’s and mankind’s greatest enemy, Who came to save to the most unworthy to the uttermost?
His name is wonderful. He is the great I AM. He is the One designated by the original language of the New Testament’s word for “fish,” used from ancient times an acronym and transliterated into English as IXTHUS — Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior.