When I was conceived it could not be said that I came from somewhere other than the interaction of my mom and dad. I had no pre-existence. My soul was not waiting in Heaven for a body to be made for me. I had no previous life. Elements of the genetic makeup of my body did pre-exist me, I was a part of God’s foreknowledge, but that is all.
Jesus was definitely different. As far as His human nature goes, we are the same. Jesus is both God and man, however. This doesn’t neatly sort out to His body was human and His consciousness or soul was divine. Just how those two natures interact is unknown. That said, Jesus did consciously exist before His conception and actually before everything. He is the Creator inserting Himself into His Creation in a very formal way.
Why? I want to deal with three powerful, seemingly contradictory, and even disturbing statements from Jesus’ mouth that describe His purpose. I hope that it gives you insight into our world and an opportunity that God holds out to you.
Here is the first, most well-known and the happiest purpose statement:
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.John 3:16-17 (ESV)
If God could have His way, this would be the only purpose statement. It is strange to think that God could somehow not have His way. But God is very strict about living within certain limits He sets. He separates Himself from evil, for instance. He also respects certain aspects of our personal integrity. He will not turn us into a robot. We also cannot come to Jesus for salvation without significant help.
The world continues on because this mission continues on. God is still interested in saving people. Saving them from what? Saving them from the required punishment for sin, which is being forsaken by God. He continues on this mission even though, as time goes on, more people are being lost. God may have some tricks up His sleeve that will result in the extension of time being a net gain, but from What we know it looks like a net loss.
Another statement of purpose seems in line with the paragraph above. It is spoken to a hardened group of Pharisees that reject Him on all fronts.
9 Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.”John 9:39 (ESV)
In the first quote, Jesus said that He didn’t come into the world to condemn it. That remains a true statement. His purpose was salvation. The stubborn resistance to God that is in mankind forces the purpose to judgment in the case of many. In the case of some, it even leads to God icing whatever potential for turnaround they may have had. He makes sure they stay blind. This is tragic and tough to hear. Whatever grief we may feel about this, we feel because we are feeling the grief of God.
The final purpose statement is the hardest to hear:
34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.”Matthew 10:34-36 (ESV)
There has been strife between religions, strife within nominal Christianity, strife that divides families at times and even escalates to violence. None of it desired by Jesus. But Jesus acknowledges that, because of sinful human nature and the deceptive and evil opposition of Satan, the process of saving anybody will result in this kind of division and that it is still worth it.
The true reason why the Son of God came from Heaven and became human, suffered through human life and experienced forsakenness and death was to save people–probably hundreds of millions if not billions of people. The cost would include increased division and violence on Earth and the eternal judgment of many. We should note that this judgment would have happened if the Son of God did nothing as well. The only way any of the negative stuff could have been avoided was to terminate creation at Adam and Eve and save no one, because they never would have existed.
Clearly, the value of every saved human being is very great. The cause for judgment and division does not come from God. It comes from human sin. It ultimately comes from Satan and rebellion. It is a painful reality. If you are able to be reached by God, to receive faith and eternal life, then rejoice! Jesus came to get you.