by Bill Pevlor
Close to 2000 years ago Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, left heaven and came to earth. Think for a moment. If you were in heaven, what would it take to get you to leave the ultimate paradise and come to earth to face a terrible death? If you asked any number of people “Why did Jesus come to earth?” you will get a variety of answers.
Some people will tell you that Jesus came to teach us the way we should live. It is true, Jesus did teach us how to live. He taught us to live by the golden rule (Mat. 7:12), to turn the other cheek (Mat. 5:39) and to go the extra mile (Mat. 5:41). Though Jesus was the greatest of teachers, God had other teachers who could have taught those same messages. Jesus came for a much greater purpose.
Some will tell you that Jesus came to start a religion. This is simply not true. God did not devise a plan to send His only Son to die a horrible death so that we could formulate doctrine, teach catechism, perform dreary ceremonies and stare at stained glass windows. I suppose you could say Jesus was the originator of Christianity, but Jesus didn’t come here for the purpose of starting it and, by the way, Christianity is not a religion.
Some will tell you that Jesus came to die on the cross. Certainly Jesus did die on a cross, however, the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ was the necessary action taken to finish His mission on earth, but not the reason He came.
The Bible tells us the reason Jesus left heaven and came to earth in 1 John 3:8 when it says “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” All that Jesus did – His sinless life, His powerful teaching, His death and resurrection – were all part of his definitive purpose; destroying the work of the devil.
Jesus made a clear distinction between His work and the work of the devil. In John 10:10 Jesus said “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” The devil’s work is to bring havoc and untold devastation to your life. Jesus came to destroy the devil’s work so that you could have life. And not just an “average” life, but a “full” life. The King James version of the Bible translates it “that they might have it more abundantly.”
The devil’s plan for your life is a bare, minimum existence filled with heartache, distress, pain, suffering, and sorrow. Jesus, on the other hand, has a plan for your life that is pleasing, satisfying and full; a life of quality and quantity. The Amplified Bible translates what Jesus said as “I came that they may have, and enjoy, life and have it in abundance, to the full, till it overflows.”
Jesus was not referring to the time when we die and go to heaven. He was talking about life here on the earth. Thinking that the only reason Jesus came to earth was to hand out tickets to heaven is one of the fallacies of religion. It is clear, from His earthly ministry, that Jesus was exceedingly concerned about the quality and quantity of our lives here on the earth. Everywhere He went He healed the sick, delivered those who were oppressed by the devil and even raised the dead. If Jesus’ mission was only to provide a wonderful life in heaven after we die, when He encountered sick and suffering people, He would have simply patted them on the head and said “Just hang in there, I promise it will be better when you get to heaven.”
The glorious reward of accepting the saving work of Christ is not limited to the “sweet by and by” if you can just hang in there till the end. Jesus came to destroy the work of the devil so you could have an assurance of heaven and also live a full, abundant life here on the earth. If you are not living the joy-filled, abundant, overflowing life Jesus promised, recognize the work of the devil (to steal, kill and destroy) and turn to Jesus. As the memorable song says “Jesus is the answer.”