TBU: The Bible Unpacked: Comprehensive Edition

II. The Messiah’s Purpose and Person

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Chapter 11  Part II

The Messiah’s Purpose and Person

Arguably the fundamental assertion of the NT is that God sent the Messiah – Jesus Christ – into the world to save people from sin and its devastating consequences. For this mission, Jesus Christ was born of the Holy Spirit and became fully human – further assertions that are very significant to the Christian faith. In fulfilling the objectives of the mission, Jesus Christ lived a life which was faultless, with his character being both exemplary and inspiring. The following teaching shows the NT’s testimony to these crucial matters.

Jesus Christ’s Mission from God

God sent Jesus Christ into the world

John 5:36  [Jesus, to the Jews:] But I have a testimony greater than that from John. For the deeds that the Father has assigned me to complete – the deeds I am now doing – testify about me that the Father has sent me.  NET

John 10:36b  [Jesus:] I am the one God chose and sent into the world.  NCV™

God sent Jesus to take away sins . . .

1Jn 3:5a  You know that Christ came to take away sins.  CEV

. . . God sent Jesus to save the world

John 3:17  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him.  NET

Luke 19:10  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.  NET

Saving the world from sin was arguably the key objective of Jesus Christ’s mission. The following subsections speak of other important objectives of Jesus Christ’s mission, that were to be accomplished in conjunction with saving the world from sin.

Jesus came to bring spiritual light into the world . . .

John 12:46  [Jesus:] I have come into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me will not remain in the darkness.  ISV

. . . Jesus came to bring truth

John 18:37b  [Jesus:] For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world – to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.  NET

Jesus came to enable us to know God

1Jn 5:20a  And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us insight to know him who is true, and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ.  NET

Jesus came to destroy Satan’s work

1Jn 3:8  The devil has been sinning since the beginning, so anyone who continues to sin belongs to the devil. The Son of God came for this purpose: to destroy the devil’s work.  NCV™

The “devil’s work”, which Jesus Christ came to destroy, involves people’s sin – as pointed to by the first statement here and by v. 5 (“…Christ came to take away sins…”). As such it also encompasses the results of sin – such as separation from God, enslavement to sin, and death.

Further objectives of Jesus Christ’s mission

See also:

Luke 4:43  But Jesus said to them, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns too, for that is what I was sent to do.”  NET

John 10:10  [Jesus:] A thief comes to steal and kill and destroy, but I came to give life—life in all its fullness.  NCV™

Note: Jesus Christ’s mission took place at a time chosen by God

Gal 4:4-5  But when the right time finally came, God sent his own Son. He came as the son of a human mother and lived under the Jewish Law, 5to redeem those who were under the Law, so that we might become God’s sons and daughters.  GNT

The phrase “when the right time finally came” (v. 4) parallels “the time set by his father” (cf. v. 2), implying that God had set the time of Jesus’ mission.

 Questions for Section A

Jesus Christ’s Humanity

See also:

This and the following section speak of Jesus Christ’s person in his mission. The sections cross-referenced above are complimentary in that they encompass Jesus Christ’s divine nature.

Jesus Christ became a human being

Rom 8:3b  By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and concerning sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, …  NET

God sent Jesus Christ “in a human body like ours” (NLT).

Jesus was born, of Mary – after being conceived through the Holy Spirit

Matt 1:18-25  Now the birth of Jesus Christ happened this way. While his mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19Because Joseph, her husband to be, was a righteous man, and because he did not want to disgrace her, he intended to divorce her privately. 20When he had contemplated this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will give birth to a son and you will name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22This all happened so that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet would be fulfilled: 23“Look! The virgin will conceive and bear a son, and they will call him Emmanuel,” which means “God with us.” 24When Joseph awoke from sleep he did what the angel of the Lord told him. He took his wife, 25but did not have marital relations with her until she gave birth to a son, whom he named Jesus.  NET

Jesus was a descendant of David

2Tim 2:8  Remember Jesus Christ, who was raised from death, who was a descendant of David, as is taught in the Good News I preach.  GNT

Jesus had family

Matt 13:55-56a  [People of Jesus’ hometown, referring to Jesus:] Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother named Mary? And aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? 56And aren’t all his sisters here with us?  NET

Jesus grew from childhood through to adulthood

Luke 2:40-42  And the child [Jesus] grew and became strong, filled with wisdom, and the favor of God was upon him. 41Now Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem every year for the feast of the Passover. 42When he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom.  NET

Luke 2:52  Jesus became wiser and grew physically. People liked him, and he pleased God.  NCV™

Jesus was called a man

Acts 2:22  [Peter:] Fellow Israelites, listen to these words! Jesus from Nazareth was a man accredited to you by God through miracles, wonders, and signs that God performed through him among you, as you yourselves know.  ISV

Jesus had a physical body . . .

Col 1:22a  [Paul, to believers:] But now Christ has brought you back to God by dying in his physical body.  GW

. . . and Jesus had physical limitations

Matt 21:18  Now early in the morning, as he returned to the city, he was hungry.  NET

John 4:6a  Jacob’s well was there, so Jesus, since he was tired from the journey, sat right down beside the well.  NET

Like all humans, Jesus experienced difficult times – including temptation

John 11:33-35  When Jesus saw her [Martha, whose brother had died] weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35Jesus wept.  ESV

Heb 4:15  [The writer, to believers:] For we do not have a high priest [Christ] incapable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin.  NET

Note: Jesus’ humanity was vital to his mission to save people

Heb 2:14-18  Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, he [Jesus] likewise shared in their humanity, so that through death he could destroy the one who holds the power of death (that is, the devil), 15and set free those who were held in slavery all their lives by their fear of death. 16For surely his concern is not for angels, but he is concerned for Abraham’s descendants. 17Therefore he had to be made like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in things relating to God, to make atonement for the sins of the people. 18For since he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.  NET

Jesus needed to share in the humanity of God’s people and become like them so as to be identified with them, in a sense being one with them. As such he could die as a substitute and an offering for them. Partaking of their humanity would also be important for him in his ongoing role in helping God’s people, as indicated in v. 18 and possibly also in view in v. 17.

 Questions for Section B

Jesus Christ’s Personality

See also:

Jesus was loving – shown ultimately in him giving up his life

John 15:9, 12-13  [Jesus, to his disciples:] Just as the Father has loved me, I have also loved you; remain in my love.12My commandment is this – to love one another just as I have loved you. 13No one has greater love than this – that one lays down his life for his friends.  NET

Jesus was compassionate

Matt 9:36  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were bewildered and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  NET

Jesus was meek

1Pet 2:23  When he was maligned, he did not answer back; when he suffered, he threatened no retaliation, but committed himself to God who judges justly.  NET

Jesus was gentle and humble – as a servant

Matt 11:29  [Jesus:] Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  NET

Luke 22:27  [Jesus, to his disciples:] For who is greater, the one who is seated at the table, or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is seated at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.  NET

Jesus was good

John 10:11  [Jesus:] I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  NET

Jesus was righteous

1Pet 3:18a  For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, …  ESV

Jesus showed righteous anger and indignation

John 2:14-16  He found in the temple courts those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers sitting at tables. 15So he made a whip of cords and drove them all out of the temple courts, with the sheep and the oxen. He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16To those who sold the doves he said, “Take these things away from here! Do not make my Father’s house a marketplace!”  NET

Jesus was courageous and composed

John 18:3-11  So Judas obtained a squad of soldiers and some officers of the chief priests and Pharisees. They came to the orchard with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4Then Jesus, because he knew everything that was going to happen to him, came and asked them, “Who are you looking for?” 5They replied, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He told them, “I am he.” (Now Judas, the one who betrayed him, was standing there with them.) 6So when Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they retreated and fell to the ground. 7Then Jesus asked them again, “Who are you looking for?” And they said, “Jesus the Nazarene.” 8Jesus replied, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, let these men go.” 9He said this to fulfill the word he had spoken, “I have not lost a single one of those whom you gave me.” 10Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, pulled it out and struck the high priest’s slave, cutting off his right ear. (Now the slave’s name was Malchus.) 11But Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath! Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?”  NET

Note: Jesus was prepared to associate with notably sinful people

Luke 15:2  But the Pharisees and the experts in the law were complaining [about Jesus], “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”  NET

In his mission to save the world from sin, Jesus reached out to sinners – in particular those who recognized themselves as such. These included groups of people looked down upon as “sinners” by the self-righteous members of society. Associating with and supporting such people showed Jesus’ love and compassion. These actions also reflected his strength of character, with him not being influenced by or giving in to social norms and the pressure of public opinion.

 Questions for Section C

Epilogue: God Works through Jesus Christ

See also:

God works in all eras through Jesus Christ, impacting all things everywhere

Heb 1:2  But now in these last days God has spoken to us through his Son. God has chosen his Son to own all things, and through him he made the world.  NCV™

Col 1:20  Through the Son, then, God decided to bring the whole universe back to himself. God made peace through his Son’s blood on the cross and so brought back to himself all things, both on earth and in heaven.  GNT

Rom 2:16  [Paul:] And so, according to the Good News I preach, this is how it will be on that Day when God through Jesus Christ will judge the secret thoughts of all.  GNT

God enacts his will in or through Jesus Christ

Gal 1:3-4  [Paul, to believers:] Grace and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from this present evil age according to the will of our God and Father, …  NET

Eph 1:9-10  God did what he had purposed, and made known to us the secret plan he had already decided to complete by means of Christ. 10This plan, which God will complete when the time is right, is to bring all creation together, everything in heaven and on earth, with Christ as head.  GNT

Bear in mind that the teaching in this and the previous subsection is not necessarily indicating that God works or enacts his will exclusively through Jesus Christ. The Bible also speaks of God working through the Holy Spirit and through his people – although this does not mean that Jesus Christ is not also involved in such work.

God fulfills his promises through Jesus Christ . . .

2Cor 1:20a   For all God’s promises are “Yes” in him.  ISV

All God’s promises are confirmed in Jesus Christ; they are “fulfilled in him” (NLT).

. . . Key promises of God have been centered on Jesus Christ

Acts 13:23  From the descendants of this man [David] God brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, just as he promised.  NET

Rom 1:2-3  The Good News was promised long ago by God through his prophets, as written in the Holy Scriptures. 3It is about his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ …  GNT

2Tim 1:1  From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God. God sent me to tell about the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus.  NCV™®

God saves people through Jesus Christ

John 3:16-17  For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him.  NET

God gave the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ

Titus 3:6  [Paul, to Titus:] God poured out the Holy Spirit abundantly on us through Jesus Christ our Saviour, …  GNT

God works in and through his people, through Jesus Christ

Heb 13:21  [The writer, to believers:] May this God of peace prepare you to do every good thing he wants. May he work in us through Jesus Christ to do what is pleasing to him. Glory belongs to Jesus Christ forever. Amen.  GW

The first sentence suggests that the second is speaking at least as much of the work he does through us (impacting others) as of that which he does in us (impacting our own spiritual lives).

 Questions for Section D

Pray for persecuted Christians