Terry R. Baughman
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
Scholars examine the self-expression statements of Jesus in order that they might determine His understanding and the revealed purpose of His mission. Expressions such as, “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10) and, “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth” (John 18:37), reveal the personal sense of mission that motivated Jesus.
While He healed the sick and performed many miracles His real purpose was the proclamation of the Good News. Jesus told His disciples, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth” (Mark 1:38). This was a continuing fulfillment of the prophecy He read from Isaiah when He visited the synagogue in Nazareth, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18–19).
Jesus came with a message of hope, deliverance and salvation. He said, “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. … For I did not come to judge the world but to save the world” (John 12:46–47).
The Scripture declares Jesus to be a prophet like unto Moses. Peter said, “For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you” (Acts 3:22). There were unusual similarities in their lives. Both were born in times of tremendous adversity and national oppression. Moses was born in Egypt under the order of death for every Hebrew male child, where his people were subjected to slave labor. Jesus was born to a Jewish family who lived under the oppression of the Roman empire. A crazed puppet king, Herod, ordered the execution of every male child of Bethlehem, Judea, under the age of two in an effort to destroy the one born and identified by the wise men as, “The King of the Jews” (Matthew 2:16–18).
Moses fled from Egypt to preserve his life; the family of Jesus fled to Egypt to save him. Jesus returned to the land of Israel to fulfill prophecy, “Out of Egypt I called My Son” (Matthew 2:15). Moses was called to return to Egypt to become the deliverer of his people from bondage. Jesus came preaching “to proclaim liberty to the captives and …, to set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18). Moses led the people through the water of the Red Sea and built a Tabernacle to bring people to God and prepare them for the promised land. Jesus instituted the birth of the water and the Spirit to bring His people to eternal life! Moses initiated the offerings of sacrifices to bring atonement for the people. Jesus gave Himself as the Lamb of God to be the final sacrifice and to take away the sins of the world.
Jesus came to save, while giving Himself as the supreme sacrifice. The Savior has come and we have been delivered from the bondage of death and given the gift of abundant life!
“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).