A Translation of Fred Smolchuck's monthly newsletter, "Fred's Epistle to the Ukrainians"
How would you like to exchange life in an elegant palace, for residence in a run down area of extreme poverty, of filth and violence? No? Well, this is what Jesus did. His home was in heaven with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Angelic hosts and all creatures of the universe adored Him and gave Him honor and glory. As Creator, He was in charge of God's kingdom. He enjoyed the fellowship of heaven.
Why would He ever want to leave the glories of heaven, and take on the physical form and limitations of a human being? Why would He, the Son of God, choose to live as a man on a sin cursed planet called earth? Why? -- Why?
Paul tells us: "Jesus Christ, Who being in very nature God... made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness -- as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death -- even death on a cross" (Phil. 2:5-8, NIV).
In His own words, -- Jesus tells us why He came.
1. "I have come in My Father's name" (Jn. 5:43). He came as the Ambassador of Heaven representing the Heavenly Father's interests and will for this world. His coming was the plan of the Godhead -- The Trinity. "I came from the Father and entered the world" (Jn. 16:28). He was sent by the Father on a rescue mission to save lost mankind. "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son...to save the world through Him" (Jn. 3:16,17).
When man rebelled against God, he ruptured his close fellowship with the Creator. It resulted in a curse upon mankind and on all the earth. The results of Adam's sin was death -- a separation from God. Adam quickly recognized his mistake but there was nothing he could do to remedy the situation and be reconciled to God (Eph.2:8,9). It was the Lord Himself who planned to step in and rescue sinful, stumbling mankind. "He was not willing that any should perish" (2 Pet. 3:9).
2. "I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes should stay in darkness" (Jn. 12:46). Sin so blinded mankind, that no one was able to see or understand his desperate plight. Apart from God, mankind could never realize the seriousness of the situation, nor understand God's love, or know how to escape from the clutches of the devil. Jesus came to make it all clear, to enlighten us to the truth, and reconcile us with God.
3. "I am come...to fulfill the law" (Mat. 5:17). By sinning against God, man showed himself to be a rebel, not willing to obey Him. The Creator desired a close fellowship with the one whom He made in His own image. However, there were standards of holiness and rules of obedience He set, so man would understand Who was his Maker, and through submission prove his love and respect for the Almighty.
Jesus came and accepted human physical limitations He identified Himself with us as the "Second Adam" (1 Cor. 15:45,47), He allowed Himself to be tempted, to confirm to all, that He was qualified and worthy to be our Savior (Phil. 2:8). He fulfilled God's requirements of holiness and obedience, -- the very areas wherein Adam failed (Mat. 3:15). "He was tempted in every way, just as we are -- yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15).
4. Jesus said, He came "to minister and to give His life as a ransom for many" (Mat. 20:28). He came to serve as the Good Samaritan and The Good Shepherd, ministering to the physical and spiritual needs of the hurting. But over and above these necessities, He came to pay the price of our salvation with His own life. He died in our stead. He took our punishment. He came to rescue the perishing, -- and that includes all of us.
5. Jesus said, He came "to seek and to save what was lost" (Lk. 19:10). The Bible tells us, "There is none righteous, no not one -- all have sinned" (Rom.3:10, 23). "All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way" (Isa. 53:6). And while we are straying, -- predators are nearby. "The devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (2 Pet. 5:8). Like the Good Shepherd that He is, Jesus willingly entered our hopeless situation -- to find us, and rescue us from certain destruction. Paul clearly states, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Tim. 1:15).
6. "I was sent to preach the kingdom of God to other cities also" (Lk. 4:43). His ministry was not just to a small segment of society where He lived, but to the whole "world" (Jn. 3:16). He lovingly calls to all people, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Mt. 11:28). The redeemed in heaven are listed as "...out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation" (Rev.5:9). None are excluded! "Whoever comes to Me -- I will not refuse."
7. "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (Jn. 10:10). Life with Jesus in our hearts takes on a new dimension. His peace, joy, and power, bring satisfaction like nothing else can. "In Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore" (Ps. 16:11). All of this and more is not just for the present; His intention is, that we may have "eternal life" - to live with Him forever (Jn. 3:16).
8. "I am not come to judge the world, but to save the world" (Jn. 12:47). God is not a mean despot, but is gracious, loving, and patient, earnestly seeking to rescue the world from its horrible dilemma, -- "not willing that any should perish."
9. "I am come to send fire on the earth" (Lk. 12:). In His mission to save the lost, He came to stir a dull and unresponsive world with His burning zeal and genuine love. At the same time, He reminds unbelievers, if they continue to ignore His sacrifice, the fire of God's judgment awaits them. Read Revelation 21:7, 8.
10. "For this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth" (Jn. 18:37). In His own words, Jesus clearly indicates the purpose of His coming. He came to rescue us. He came to pay our penalty. He came to show us God's love and mercy. He came to reconcile us to God. Let us understand, accept, and boldly herald the true meaning of why He came. But, hear this -- He is coming again! "I will come back and take you to be with me that you may also be where I am" (Jn. 14:3). Some, were not ready for His first coming; -- how many of us are ready for His second return?
May the true meaning of Christmas not be buried under an avalanche of trivial frivolities and carnival-like celebration. Let us be glad, give thanks to the Lord for His great love to us, and humbly rededicate ourselves to Jesus.