[Note: This MS is available in larger font on our New Uploads page.]
Jesus Himself tells us clearly why He initially came down from Heaven: “For the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). At various times He also stated several things that He did not come to do. These “why nots” are as significant as the “why” of His First Coming. So what did He come not to do? He came not:
- To destroy the law or the prophets: He came to fulfill them (Mat. 5:17–18). Destroy is from a very strong Greek word, meaning utter obliteration. However, in fulfilling their types and prophecies (climaxed in His death as the anti-typical atonement for sin), the authority of the Old Testament was abolished—rendered inactive—when Jesus died on the cross (Eph. 2:15; Col. 2:14; Heb. 1:1–2; 9:15–17). The Old Testament “law and prophets” were “written for our learning” and our “examples,” deserving our careful study (Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:1–11).
- To call the righteous to repentance: He came rather to call sinners (Mat. 9:13). Jesus thus responded to His self-righteous critics who asked why he was eating with sinners. That He spent time associating with sinners doesn’t mean Jesus was/is not concerned about righteous folk, but that His great concern was to save the lost. Unlike many professed disciples and their churches of our day, He came not to satisfy every “felt need” of either sinners or the “righteous,” but to bring salvation, the greatest need of sinners.
- To be ministered to: He came to “minister” (i.e., serve) (Mat. 20:28). He so stated to the apostles as some of them vied for greatest “positions” in Jesus’ kingdom. Their carnal ambition signaled both their spiritual immaturity and their failure to understand the nature of the kingdom. Jesus taught the great principle that He measures greatness, not by power, but by humble service, as He fully exemplified (John 13:1–17; Phi. 2:5–9). This principle does not conflict with the necessity of our serving/obeying Him (John 14:15; Heb. 5:9).
- To do His own will: He came to do His Father’s will (John 6:38). His perfect submission to God as both Son of God and Son of man qualified Him to be the perfect sacrificial Lamb Who alone was able to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29). He displayed unselfish submission to His Father to the ultimate degree: “Not my will, but thine be done” (Luke 22:42). Self-denial—fully submitting our own wills to Him—is the great challenge for all (Luke 9:23).
- To establish an earthly kingdom: His kingdom is “not of this world” (John 18:36), as the Jews then were expecting and as millions now still falsely expect. His kingdom/church (Mat. 16:18–19) is spiritual in nature and has existed since Pentecost when He first added men to it (Acts 2:38–47).
- To judge the world: He came the first time to save it (John 3:17; 12:47). When He returns He will come as Judge, with condemnation for those who rejected His Word and with no further opportunity for salvation (John 12:48; Acts 17:30–31).
[Note: I wrote this article for and it appeared in the Denton Record-Chronicle, Denton, TX, September 20, 2013.]
Attribution: From TheScripturecache.com, owned and administered by Dub McClish.