The Rescue – Why Did Jesus Come?
by Greg Koukl
In just a few weeks most of us will be hovering over a gastronomical feast preparing to eat much more than we should, appropriately celebrating the generosity of God towards us that is much more than we deserve.
Not long after, we will celebrate the most sublime example of that generosity, the greatest reason for giving such hearty thanks just weeks before—God come down. God getting low. God with us. Emmanuel.
Christmas starts the story of Jesus, the greatest tale ever told. But it is not really a tale at all, because the story is a true one. It is the most important part of the true Story of Reality.
What follows is an excerpt from The Story of Reality—How the World Began, How It Ends, and Everything Important that Happens in Between. In this part of the Story I answer the second of the two most important questions anyone could ever ask about the remarkable man from Nazareth: Why did He come? It is a question there is far too much confusion about, even for those who call the Story their own.
To answer that question I first want to tell what Jesus did not come to do. Then I want to tell you why He did come. It’s captured in the most important Christmas verse in the Bible you will never see printed on a Christmas card and you will never hear recited at a Christmas pageant. It tells of a rescue operation that formally started at Christmas, but ended in a dark event decades later. It tells the reason Jesus was born. It tells the reason God came down.
Now to our second question: What did Jesus come to do? Since there is more debate on this than there ought to be, we must first correct a misunderstanding. Sometimes knowing what Jesus did not come to do is almost as important as knowing what He did come to do, because a wrong understanding of the first can lead to confusion on the second.
So let us be clear. Jesus did not come to help us get along, or teach us to take care of the poor, or to restore “social justice.” To some, this assertion is a bold stroke, since they have been told just the opposite. This is because there are many noble people who are drawn to Jesus for His moral excellence (as they should be). However, often their admiration of His civic virtue has distracted them from a more important matter.
Their mistake is thinking that Jesus came principally to teach us how to live a better life. He did not. God had already sent many before with the kind of advice we need to hear, and there was no point in His personally coming down merely to repeat what had already been said. No, Jesus came for a different reason.
What I am going to say next will come as a shock to some, but here it is…
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