part of the what is truth? series

Jesus’ mission is something that can be confused with His actions. What Jesus came to this world to do (Jesus’ mission) and what he did (Jesus’ activities) are not necessarily the same thing. For example, one of the things He did was feed the hungry. But was that Jesus’ mission on earth? He also healed the lame, but again, was that Jesus’ mission? He also became flesh and endured the ‘human experience’ which some would say was His mission. Jesus did many things, but what exactly was Jesus’ mission on earth?

How Scripture answers "What was Jesus’ mission on earth?"

Jesus made three direct statements about His mission on earth (which was God’s mission13). First, He said He came to “seek and to save the lost”3. This is possibly the most well-known fact about His mission. He was the remedy for sin12,15, culminating in His death, burial, and resurrection10. The salvation aspect of His mission is repeated and reiterated several times in Scripture in various ways2,5,6, including Jesus’ own analogy of Himself to a door and a shepherd11.

Second, Jesus said that He came to “bear witness to the truth”1. Specifically, He ushered in the gospel of the kingdom of God9. The words He spoke were from the Father (John 17:14-17) which He embodied12 by becoming flesh (John 1:1,14). This is highlighted when Jesus says He came not to bring peace but a sword4 and when Paul says the Old Law was nailed to the cross7. It was a fulfilling all that had been communicated by God to that point14 and freeing us from fleshly sin to live in/with His Spirit12.

Third, Jesus said He came “for judgment”8…which links to the first two. Jesus came to judge all mankind8 against the truth1,9 of God’s word. Those that accept/believe Him (e.g. enter through “the door”11) receive eternal salvation2,3,8,10.

Yes
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No

1

Then Pilate said to him, So you are a king? Jesus answered, You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.

Pilot asked if Jesus was a king and Jesus effectively responded, “Yes”, and adds that he came into the world to “bear witness to the truth.” Whoever is interested in truth will listen to him.

Jesus evening of betrayal and series of trails concluding here with Pilate.

How does it apply here?

Jesus says he came into the world to testify to the one truth.

2

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.

Paul makes a noteworthy statement of truth, that Jesus came into the world to save sinners – Paul being foremost.

Paul is writing to the young preacher of the gospel, Timothy.

How does it apply here?

Jesus came into the world to save sinners.

3

And Jesus said to him, Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

Jesus, the Son of Man, came to seek and save the lost.

As Jesus was passing through Jericho he encountered Zacchaeus, famously perched in a sycamore tree in order to catch a glimpse of Jesus.  Being a rich tax collector, Zacchaeus wasn’t well-liked among his countrymen, but his demonstration of faith (acknowledging Jesus) and actions (giving to the poor) were recognized and praised by Jesus.

How does it apply here?

Jesus came to seek and save the lost.

4

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to peace but a sword! For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.
Don’t think that I [Jesus] came to bring peace on earth. I didn’t come to bring peace, but conflict (“a sword”).  My coming pits even family members against each other! The resulting conflict will be personal, even within one’s household.
Chapter 10 is Matthew’s account of Jesus sending out the twelve to teach.  He has given them “authority over unclean spirits so they could cast them out and heal every kind of disease and sickness” (vs 1).  However, he has warned them that they will be “like sheep surrounded by wolves” (vs 16) and that “Brother will hand over brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rise against parents and have them put to death” (vs 21).

Mark’s account (6:7-13) and Luke’s account (9:1-6) are much shorter.

How does it apply here?

Jesus coming to earth would cause strife and conflict. More specifically, given the context it is clear it is His teachings would cause angry and even violent reactions.

5

You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.

Jesus appeared to take away sins and Himself had no sin.

John is stating the case for fellow believers to continue in the love of God, here reminding them of the contrast between those that practice sin (e.g. “lawlessness” vs 4) and those that have accepted Jesus and been cleansed of their sin.

How does it apply here?

Jesus lived a sinless life on earth, demonstrating His authority to be the redeemer for the sins of others. Or, stated another way in vs 8, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”

6

By his will we have been made holy through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands day after day serving and offering the same sacrifices again and again—sacrifices that can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, he sat down at the right hand of God, where he is now waiting until his enemies are made a footstool for his feet.

Jesus sacrificed Himself to make all holy.  Different from the priests’ sacrifices under the Old Law that could never take away sins, Jesus’ sacrifice was for all sins for all time.  After His sacrifice, He sat down [in heaven] at the right hand of God where He is now waiting until His enemies are conquered.

The Hebrews writer is reminding Hebrew Christians all of the ways in which the New Covenant of Christ is better than what they left behind in the Old Covenant of Moses.

How does it apply here?

Jesus came to sacrifice Himself for all mankind – to take away their sins and thereby make them holy.

7

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
You who were dead in your sins and uncircumcised in the flesh, God made alive with Him by forgiving our sins since He forgave our sins by removing the Mosaic Law with its legal demands that opposed us.  He set it aside by nailing it to the cross, triumphing over, dismantling, and disgracing the rulers and authorities.
In the immediate context, Paul is warning the Colossians to not fall away by being captivated (enamored) by empty philosophies or anything that is not according to Christ (vs 8).  He continues by specifically calling out the Mosaic Law (“a certificate of indebtedness expressed in decrees”) – the law that Christ replaced.  Under the same theme of not falling away, he tells them not to allow others to judge them against things pertaining to the Mosaic Law such as food, drink, feasts, Sabbath days (vs 16).   In Christ, they are not obligated to observe those things.
How does it apply here?

Jesus came to be the conduit through which the Old Law was replaced by the New.

8

Jesus said, For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.

Jesus came into the world for judgement, the result of which would be the blind seeing and the seeing becoming blind.

Jesus has just healed a man blind from birth.  The man testifies to the Pharisees about the man that healed him.  Not believing him, they then called his parents who only confirmed he had been blind from birth.  Calling him back a second time, the Pharisees refused to credit Jesus with the miracle.

How does it apply here?

Jesus states a spiritual truth, explaining that His judgment will cause the blind to see and the seeing to be blind.

!! scripture-block context extra important here !!

Against the backdrop of Jesus just having healed a man that was physically blind, the contrast is clear. The formerly blind man – a disregarded “sinner” [blind] that believed in Messiah [gained sight] – and the Pharisees who witnessed the miracle [saw] but refused to believe [became blind].

9

And when it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them, but he said to them, I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.

In the morning he left and went to a desolate place.  But the people came to him, attempting to have him stay, by he said, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.”

Jesus has just begun His public ministry and is in Capernaum at Simon’s house healing his mother-in-law and others.

How does it apply here?

Jesus says He came for the purpose of preaching the “good news [gospel] of the kingdom of God.”

10

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
The Son of Man came to serve, not to be served, and to give His life to ransom many.
Jesus is in the midst of His public ministry.  His apostles have just engaged in an exchange, really an argument, about who might be exalted in His kingdom.

Matthew (20:20-28) and Luke (22:25-27) also record this event.

How does it apply here?

Jesus came to serve mankind by standing in the place for sinners (all mankind) and giving His life.

11

I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

I am the door, the only way by which someone can be saved and find spiritual solace.  The imposter comes only to steal, kill and destroy.  Jesus came to give abundant life.  Jesus is the good shepherd, who will always lay down his life for the sheep.

Jesus has just healed the man blind from birth and gives His great dissertation of the good shepherd.

How does it apply here?

Jesus came to give life, spiritual life, to those otherwise that would be dead.

12

For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

God has done what the law [of Moses] could not do since it was weakened by the flesh.  He sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin itself, condemning sin in the flesh.  As a result, the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who walk according to the Spirit and not the flesh.

After rejoicing in his own salvation and freedom from “this body of death” (7:24) through Christ, Paul is calling on the Roman Christians to remember their own calling and the triumph they share in Christ (vss 1-2).  He implores them to “live according to the Spirit” (vs 5).
How does it apply here?

God sent Jesus to condemn all sin in the flesh and be a remedy for it for all mankind.

13

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.
Everyone that God gives me [Jesus] will come to me and I will never cast them away.  For I have come from heaven to do God’s will alone.

Jesus has just fed the large crowd (5,000 men) by performing a miracle and departed to the other side of the Sea of Galilee by walking on the water and calming the storm along the way. The next day, the crowd again finds him in order to be fed, and a discussion contrasting physical and spiritual food ensues.

How does it apply here?

Jesus came to do the will of the Father only.

14

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
Don’t think that I [Jesus] came to cancel the Mosaic Law or the Prophets since I have actually come to fulfill them. What I’m saying is true. Not before all of this world is destroyed will any part of the Law be disregarded until all is accomplished.

After beginning His ‘Sermon on the Mount’ by describing the characteristics of a [new] kingdom citizen (vss 2-14), Jesus clarifies that His coming fulfills the Old Law and does not replace it.  He continues to give specific examples of how their behavior would need to exceed that of the religious leaders of their day (vs 20 “scribes and Pharisees”).

How does it apply here?

Jesus, in His coming, fulfilled the Law and prophetic writings.

15

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Just as man’s appointment is to die and then face judgment, so also Christ has already been offered to bear the sins of many and will appear a second time not to deal with sin but to save those still waiting for His return.

The Hebrews writer is in the midst of his argument about why Jesus and the new covenant are better than the old – here specifically arguing about His superiority as a High Priest.

How does it apply here?

Jesus came the first time to “deal with sin.”

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  1. Games_Amoung at - Reply

    In the Gospels we do not read of Jesus freeing anyone from prison. (In Acts we do read of some who were miraculously set free from jail). He did not even give freedom to John the Baptist when he was in prison, although he certainly would have had the power to do so. In our country there are many who have turned to spiritism, witchcraft, and mind-reading and are bound in some way by evil spirits. Do we teach the students at our Christian institutions how these people can be set free from their captivity?

    • Excellent observation! There was much “undone” that Jesus certainly could have fixed or “made right” when he was on earth. More evidence to the fact that His mission was not about carnal matters. His mission and what the Bible teaches is how we can be set free from the captivity of sin.