What Did Jesus Come To Do?

Jesus-Wall

If someone asked you to tell them in one word “What did Jesus come to do?” what would you say?

 Maybe “die on the cross” or “help people”?
 I want to read 1 verse from Luke 4:18 which may help answer this question.  To set the scene a little, this is Jesus himself speaking publicly probably for one of the first times in the synagogue on the Sabbath…
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,”
(Luke 4:18 ESV)
Do you see any common ideas in this passage?  Liberty – literally a ‘release from captivity’ or a ‘release from a punishment or guilt’
I would suggest that this passage is telling us that the one word we could use to answer the question of what did Jesus come to do is “freedom.”   Jesus came for freedom.
The undeniable fact is that since the Fall, since sin entered the world, everything here is under the curse of sin. We are totally unable to fix the situation by our own power, and are only trapped in it. Trapped.  Prisoners.  Captives.  In need of being released – whether we realize it or not it’s true. Christmas is a great time, usually a happy time with family and presents – but for some it highlights the brokenness of this world – family drama happens a lot around Christmas, conflicts, hatred, bitterness, sins against family. Maybe you have been sinned against by your family and friends and being forced to be with them on Christmas just makes you more aware of that.
Will it ever be fixed? Can we just encourage you — all along, it has been God’s plan to provide freedom in the Messiah – the one who came on a mission to be the payment that is required to purchase our freedom.   You see, this verse, even though it’s in the gospel of Luke, it is really Jesus himself quoting the Old Testament prophet Isaiah – who hundreds of years earlier wrote about the Annointed One, the Messiah, the Christ will come for freedom. Jesus himself makes a bold claim and says “Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled…”  meaning – “Hello…I am Him — – The Messiah.”  Talk about your controversial statements – the crowd was so angry after hearing him say this, that the Bible tells us they literally wanted to throw him off of the nearest cliff. (Luke 4:28-29)
The message that we celebrate at Christmas is the message that the long foretold Messiah has come to bring us freedom from sin, guilt and shame and live the abundant life he created us to by finding our true joy and purpose in our Creator – God.   You can be free this Christmas, and wouldn’t that be the greatest gift ever?
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Psalm 119:30-32

I rediscovered this passage written on a memorization note card this week while driving to work.

I have chosen the way of truth;

I have set my heart on your laws.

I hold fast to your statutes, O LORD;

do not let me be put to shame.

I run in the path of your commands,

for you have set my heart free.

I love the pattern.  Chosen, set my heart, hold fast, run.  Way of truth, laws, statutes, commands.

I have chosen:  note the intentionality and the decisiveness.  Past tense.  Done deal.  This is the way I’m going.

Set my heart:  all in.  Believed with your whole being.

Hold fast:  hang on.  Whatever is going on, I’m not letting go.

Way of truth:  So, if I’ve intentionally chosen the way of truth, by principle then I have not chosen the way of lies or deceit.  When faced with lies, negativity from the enemy, false truth, attacks on who I am or my worthiness – I set my face towards God in Jesus – that is my choice.  I will not entertain lies – they are not my choice.  “Get behind me, Satan.”   (Matthew 16:23). Paul also focuses on forward movement in perhaps my favorite passage, perhaps why the subtitle of my blog is “straining forward” –

 12Not that I have already(AB) obtained this or(AC) am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do:(AD) forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for(AE) the prize of the upward(AF) call of God in Christ Jesus. 15Let those of us who are(AG) mature think this way, and if in anything(AH) you think otherwise,(AI) God will reveal that also to you.  (Phil 3:12-15 ESV)

Laws, statutes, commands:  His revealed will – the Bible.  Read it.  Meditate on it.  Memorize it.  Pray for the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to understand it.

Do not let me be put to shame: Kind of interesting how this is thrown in the middle here, but it shows the humanity of the author.  This is a big fear of all of us, let’s face it.  We don’t want to be put to shame, look embarrassed, have things happen to us that make us look bad, to live trapped in guilt and shame.  Interesting how cry for help to God is buried in the middle of the praises to God for his Word.  His Word is sufficient, trust in it, it testifies of new life in Jesus. Trust in Jesus. “Whoever believes in Him shall not be put to shame.” – Rom 10:11  Why?  Because if you have come to faith in Jesus he bore all your shame and your sin and your guilt on the cross and when he rose again from the dead, you rose again to new life!

I run in the path of your commands for you have set my heart free:  What a great thought.  Usually we think of laws, statutes, commands as burdensome.  The Psalmist says they actually provide freedom.  Looking above to the Phil 3:12-15 passage we can also see that when we are running ahead in freedom, we aren’t looking back in bondage.  There is no bondage, Christ freed us.  I have this mental picture of a little kid just running free in their backyard because they know their parents are home and they love him and they are protecting and caring for him.  There is true and total freedom in the Lord Jesus Christ and the Gospel.   2 Cor 3:17 tells us – “The LORD is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”