Why He Came: Part 1 of 2
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.
38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
As she made her way along the road she wondered if it all made sense. Although she had agreed she still couldn’t understand why. She lived in a poor country that was occupied by a foreign army, violence was never far away and often during the night you would hear soldiers entering the home of neighbors looking for the patriots they had called terrorists. Even as she made the trip with her husband she was shocked with the conditions that lay outside the small village they called home. The poverty she saw on her travels was an eye opener for a young woman who had never wanted for food. Her family was not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination but her hard-working father had always provided the food and shelter the family needed. Occasionally she would see lepers in the distance, scorned by society and pushed far away from those they loved, and there were the beggars who lined the busier sections of road, men and women who couldn’t see or couldn’t walk, dependent on the kindness or pity of strangers just to survive.
On their journey she even saw a crucifixion, she had heard about the horrors of the executions the Romans performed, but to see those victims left hanging on the primitive crosses was horrible. So much despair and sadness; could anything ever change the way her world was. She wished that there was something she could do to make a difference. It wasn’t that many months ago that her life had been simple, engaged to be married, she dreamt of the life that lay ahead of her, and this wasn’t it.
An angel had appeared to her one night with a story that she couldn’t believe. She was told that she would have a child, a son. And she knew that wasn’t to be, after all, she had never been with a man, had not even held the hand of her fiancé because it just wasn’t done. And now she was being told that she would be a mother. The messenger explained that it would be a miracle, that the Father of her child would be God himself and the child would be the Son of God, in fact, God himself. What could she do?
She knew that she was a virgin and if she became pregnant then what the angel had said must be true, she believed him, but would anyone believe her? How could she explain this to her parents, her friends? What would she say to the man she was engaged to? “Hi Joseph, guess what? I’m pregnant, but don’t worry I’ve been faithful, God’s the Father.” Joseph might just be a carpenter but he certainly wasn’t a stupid carpenter.
Why did God choose her, as a matter of fact, why did God have to do this? Come as a child to this cruel and hostile world. I’m sure that question would surface time and time again as she raised this child she would call Jesus. The question is still valid 2000 years later, people still ask: Why did he come? Well probably if you asked people, those who had an answer would tell you He Came So We Could Have Eternal Life. After all, it is recorded in the Bible in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Throughout history, humans have sought to reconcile themselves with God and they haven’t been able to do it. I don’t have to go through the plan of salvation here, you already know it. You understand that we really don’t deserve to go to heaven and that in our own power and through our own efforts there isn’t anything we can do that will make us worthy of eternal life. And so into the picture steps Jesus Christ, God himself and he offered himself up as a sacrifice, paying a debt that he didn’t owe because we couldn’t pay it.
Jesus came to do what we couldn’t do, and that is to obtain eternal life for ourselves. You understand at this point in history, 11:__ a.m., December 19th, 2002 that everything that has to be done for you to go to heaven has already been done. All that is missing is your acceptance of that fact. And so your salvation depends wholly on you because God has already done his part. And all he’s asking of you at this point is for you to respond. And so most of us, probably not all of us, but most of us have opened that gift, the gift of eternal life.
But it’s not the only reason he came. There is another gift that’s waiting for us, and we can choose to open it or we can leave it wrapped and ignore it. The gift has been given but it’s up to us to accept it. He Came So We Could have Abundant Life. You see, Jesus didn’t just come so we could have eternal life. If the only reason we get saved is to gain eternity then the day we embraced that salvation we would go to heaven. Think how much easier that would be, saved would mean safe. Once we accepted Christ as our Savior all of our troubles would be over. One minute we’d be on earth with all of its problems and all of its pain and the next minute we’d be in heaven with no pain no sorrow and no loss.
But that wasn’t the plan. Jesus didn’t just come and live and die so we could live in heaven; he came so we could live on earth. In John 10:10 Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (NKJV) And that promise is as real today as it was when Jesus made it 2000 years ago. And it wasn’t just a promise for those listening to his words that day; it was a promise for every person who has ever called upon his name. The word that is used for abundantly here literally means full to the point of overflowing. That’s the life that Jesus wants us to have, a life full of living. Life is meant to be lived to the full, to be enjoyed and to make an impact. It was Helen Keller who said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” And the life that Jesus offers will make a difference not only to us but to those around us.
When Jesus was searching for images to describe what our lives were to be like he said that we would be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Both are elements that change their environment. Once you’ve added salt to something you know there is salt in it. And if you’ve ever been on a sodium reduced diet you know how bland food can be without salt. Jesus left us here to flavor the world to make a difference with our lives. And throughout history, Christians have done exactly that. I’m not saying that all the positive contributions made to society in the past 2000 years have been made by Christians but a good majority of them have.
We hear people talk about the crusades and abuses that have happened in the name of Christ, but very seldom do we hear society as a whole acknowledge the contributions that the church has made. It was the church who established hospitals, and orphanages, it was the church that reached out to the outcasts of society with shelters for lepers and the poor. It was the church that started schools and universities.
I read the other day that some parents in Alberta, Canada have complained that their children were asked to take part in Operation Christmas Child because it was a Christian organization that was blatantly sponsoring the program. Well, that’s a dumb reason.
Of course, it was a Christian organization; nobody else does that type of thing. When was the last time you saw Muslim or Buddhist organizations raising funds to help children around the world? Where would the hungry of the world be without groups like World Vision, World Hope, Compassion International and Samaritan’s Purse? Dead! Because, for all of the criticism of the church we are making a difference. (Note, by “church” I mean that invisible church of Jesus Christ, whose members are born again believers.) Or at least we should be.