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In spite of the plainness of the singularity of Jesus’ purpose in coming to earth, men still misunderstand it. They have variously set forth such purposes as political revolution and healing the sick and ailing. Political liberals/progressives deceitfully invoke some of His words and works to bolster their program of socialism and social reform. All of these crucially miss the mark of the singular purpose for which He came to this “low ground of sin and sorrow.”
None besides the Christ ever lived with a clearer grasp of His aim or purpose: “For the Son of man also came…to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45); “For the Son of man came to seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10); “For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many unto remission of sins” (Mat. 26:28). Even His Heaven-ordained name, Jesus, identifies why He came: “And thou shalt call his name Jesus; for it is he that shall save his people from their sins” (1:21).
Motivated by compassion, He indeed healed the sick and miraculously fed multitudes (Mat. 14:14; 15:32). He proved Himself Master of both the natural and spiritual realms (Mark 4:39–41; Mt. 17:18). However, He could have done all of these things, either Himself or through Heavenly or human agents, without ever leaving Heaven. All of His miracles were for a higher purpose than the momentary benefits they rendered, as welcomed as they were. He indicated this fact at the healing of a palsied man:
But that ye may know that the Son of man hath authority on earth to forgive sins (he saith to the sick of the palsy), I say unto thee, arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thy house (Mark 2:10–11).
John clearly stated the true underlying purpose of all of the Lord’s signs:
Many other signs therefore did Jesus in the presence of the disciples which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name (John 20:30–31).
No wonder Jesus was so concerned for the lost that He worked and taught in every possible way to prove that He was the Savior of mankind—its only hope. His brief earthly life was spent traveling, teaching, healing, and helping—all to this one grand end. Many of His words are direct appeals to the lost and about the lost, including the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son (Luke 15:3–32). He issued His “great invitation” to all who are lost (Mat. 11:28–30). He wept over lost Jerusalem (Luke 19:41–44). All that He said and did was concentrated upon saving man from the curse of sin. Let all who yet remain unconvinced that Jesus’ chief concern was for the lost follow Him as He struggles up the path to Calvary and willingly lays Himself upon the cross. Ironically, His sacrificial act that procured our redemption was one concerning which He refused to employ His limitless power.
Men cannot claim to be sincere about serving Christ and not be seriously concerned about lost souls. His never-ending concern caused Him to order His followers to go into the whole world with the Gospel so that men might believe it, be baptized, and be saved (Mark 16:15–16). Through Paul He commanded Jesus’ followers to “Preach the word” (2 Tim. 4:2) and to teach others so they could do the same (2 Tim. 2:2). An active, genuine concern for men and women who are lost in sin is an inescapable part of every Christian’s life. It is not enough merely to observe Jesus’ concern for the lost. We must find some way or ways in which to follow Him in that concern by seeking those good and honest hearts and getting the Gospel to them.
[Note: I wrote this article for and it was published in The Lighthouse, weekly bulletin of Northpoint Church of Christ, Denton, TX, February 19, 2012, of which I was editor.]
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