Question: "Why did God send Jesus?"
Answer: The Bible teaches that the Father sent the Son into the world (John 5:37; 6:44, 57; 8:16, 18; 12:49; 20:21; Galatians 4:4; 1 John 4:14). In other words, God sent Jesus. The Bible also tells us why God sent Jesus into the world—reasons that redound to His glory and our eternal benefit. We will look at four of the reasons God sent Jesus:
Why God Sent Jesus: To Reveal the Father
In creation, we learn some things about the Creator, such as “his eternal power and divine nature” (Romans 1:20). But what is God really like? Is it possible to know Him personally?
In the Old Testament, God began to reveal Himself as the Creator, Lawgiver, Judge, and Redeemer of His people. And then came Jesus (Hebrews 1:1–2). Jesus revealed God in a way that really caught our attention.
Without Jesus, we would not be able to see God. “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known” (John 1:18). Jesus is, in fact, “the exact representation and perfect imprint of His [Father’s] essence” (Hebrews 1:3, AMP). That is, if you’ve seen Jesus, you’ve seen the Father (John 14:9).
Without Jesus, we would doubt God’s love. But in the works that He did and the death that He died, Jesus revealed God’s love (Luke 7:12–13; Romans 5:8). Without Jesus, we would question God’s goodness and care. But Jesus revealed God’s knowledge of our needs and His desire to meet them (Matthew 6:8). Without Jesus, we might consider God unfair. But in His interactions with people of all backgrounds, Jesus revealed God’s impartiality.
Without Jesus, we would be forever fatherless. But Jesus showed us that we can approach God as a child approaches his or her father (see Matthew 6:9). There’s a relationship not just based on creation, the law, or judgment; there is a family relationship (see Matthew 12:49–50). As J. I. Packer wrote, “If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father. . . . Everything that Christ taught . . . is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God. Father is the Christian name for God” (Knowing God, InterVarsity Press, 1973, p. 201).
Jesus spoke God’s words, thought God’s thoughts, felt and expressed God’s emotions, and did God’s works. God sent Jesus into the world to reveal the Father to us.
Why God Sent Jesus: To Do Away with Sin
Hebrews 9:26 says, “He has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.”
The sacrifices of the old Levitical system were insufficient to take away sin. But Jesus offered the perfect sacrifice, once for all time. With the shedding of His blood on the cross, never again would animals need to die as our substitute. When God sent Jesus into the world, the Son of God took on human flesh and provided a better sacrifice for sin and a better covenant with God’s people.
God sent Jesus not to deny the fact of sin or help us forget about our sin. Denials and cover-ups were not His purpose. God wanted to do away with sin once and for all. In Christ, God forgave sin and released us from its penalty. Through faith in the Son, we have full deliverance from guilt. Not only that, but we have deliverance from the hold of sin itself, true salvation, and real peace with God. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
Our religious actions cannot put away sin. Neither can feeling sorry, practicing self-denial, or holy living. Not even our death can get rid of sin. Sin is a blot on our soul, a stain in the fabric of our being that can only be washed away by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Jesus alone can put away our sin (1 Peter 2:24). It’s one of the reasons God sent Him.
Why God Sent Jesus: To Destroy the Works of the Devil
Another biblical reason that God sent Jesus into the world is spelled out in 1 John 3:8: “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” It was a divine mission, executed with the precision of a well-planned military strike. Two thousand years ago, the Son of God landed on foreign soil, behind enemy lines, with a mission to demolish something, and He succeeded in His objective. He wrecked all that the devil had been doing.
The devil has been working to build a kingdom for himself, and Jesus came to dissolve the framework, making everything Satan has ever done a worthless waste of time. The devil had made his sand castle, and Jesus was the tide.
The devil’s works that Jesus destroyed include deception (Jesus is the Truth); sin (Jesus is our Righteousness); and death (Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life). Jesus accomplished His wrecking of Satan’s work by the fact of His holiness (Matthew 4:1–11; John 14:30), the excellence of His sacrifice (John 12:31; Colossians 2:15; Hebrews 2:14–15; 1 John 2:2), and the action of His grace (Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 3:4; Romans 16:20).
The devil had a plan for Lazarus, and it did not involve his being resurrected from the dead (John 11). The devil had a plan for Saul of Tarsus, and it did not include his becoming a missionary to the Gentiles (Acts 9). The devil had a plan for the Philippian jailer, and it did not include living through the night and being saved and baptized with his entire family (Acts 16). Satan’s plans have gone awry, and they will continue to as God’s will is accomplished in and through us. As for the devil’s future, he will eventually be sent to the place of torture he dreads (Matthew 8:28–29; Revelation 20:10).
Why God Sent Jesus: To Provide an Example of a Holy Life
In the context of suffering for righteousness’ sake, Peter tells us that Christ has left us “an example, that [we] should follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21). All those who follow Christ ought to conduct themselves just as Jesus conducted Himself (1 John 2:6). We are to be holy as God is holy (1 Peter 1:16), and Jesus is our example.
Jesus handled temptation, and He did so without sin (Luke 4:1–13; Hebrews 4:15). Jesus lived blamelessly, being holy in word (John 8:45–46) and holy in deed (1 Peter 2:22; Hebrews 7:26). Jesus nurtured a prayer life (Luke 5:16), and He relied on the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1, 14).
God sent Jesus into the world, and we praise Him for it. We are eternally grateful to our Lord who, at the end of His ministry, was able to look to heaven and say, “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4). Mission accomplished.