Why did Jesus come to earth?
My guess is you probably know the Christmas story. You’ve heard it many times before. But have you thought of the significance of the Christmas story? Have you ever asked yourself, Why did Jesus come to earth?
This story has become so routine that it’s sadly become mundane. We don’t even give it more than a passing thought. But this story is of high importance and has enormous implications. So let’s dive a little deeper into this question, why did Jesus come to earth?
Why Did Jesus Come To Earth?
On April 12, 1961, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to travel into space and orbit the earth. The blow to the American psyche at losing this leg of the Space Race was deepened when reports began to circulate that, during his flight, Gagarin had commented: “I don’t see any God up here.”
In response, C.S. Lewis wrote a work called The Seeing Eye that says, “If there is a God that created us, we could not discover him by going up into the air. God does not relate to us the way a man on the 2nd floor would relate to a man on the 1st floor. He would relate to us the way Shakespeare relates to Hamlet. Shakespeare is the creator of Hamlet’s world and of Hamlet himself. Hamlet can know about Shakespeare only if the author reveals information about himself in the play. So too the only way to know about God is if God has revealed himself.”
God writes himself into the story of humanity and he gives himself the name “Emmanuel,” meaning “God with us.”
God enters into the story not as a hero, but as an infant. He comes to earth in the most fragile and vulnerable way so that we can relate to him.
God Enters Into Our Story
This is radical, the creator of the universe walks in our shoes and experiences suffering so that we can relate to him. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it, “Only a suffering God can help.”
No other religion has a God that willingly suffers for his people. A God that can so deeply and compassionately identify with his creation. A God that doesn’t just yell out commands, but walks with his people.
Humanity longs for intimate relationships. Sure we hide it, pretend we don’t need it, but at our core, we were built for community. The Christmas story shows us that God, the creator of the universe, wants a relationship with us. So much so that he is willing to enter into our story, our pain, in order to show us his love and desire for us.
That’s why Jesus came to earth as a baby. He didn’t come to conquer and force his way. He desires not blind obedience, but love.
Philip Yancey in Disappointment With God says this: “He Desires what power can never win. He is a King who wants not subservience, but love. Thus, rather than mowing down Jerusalem, Rome, and every other world’s power, he chose the slow, hard way of Incarnation, love, and death. A conquest from within.”
The Significance of Immanuel
Isaiah 7:14 foretells the coming Messiah and hints to the way in which he will enter the world. His name shall be Immanuel. Immanuel implies that God would dwell among his people. Up to this point the Israelites had seen a type of this dwelling, but God was “contained” to the Holy of Holies. The thought that God would take on human flesh was beyond their wildest dreams.
John 1:14 encapsulates the promise of Immanuel without actually using the term. I love how Eugene Peterson’s The Message translates this verse: “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.” That is what Immanuel means. That even in the worst of places, God is with us. He has moved into our neighborhood.
This further shows God’s desire for a relationship. Rather than making us get to him, he came to us.
What Jesus Coming To Earth Means For Us
So, how does Jesus’ coming to earth impact our lives today? I want to end by giving you two ways you can live in light of this.
1. Remember God’s Desire For You
Many of us have this view of God that he’s just waiting for us to screw up so he can punish us. But that’s not his desire for you. He wants a relationship with you. He came into this world as an infant so that we can relate to him.
You’ve heard this Christmas story 1,000 times. But let it soak in. The creator of the universe came down to earth. Walked in your shoes. Felt what you feel. All in pursuit of his people (you!).
Go to God. Let him give you comfort and hope.
2. Do The Same For Others
The significance of the Christmas story isn’t just for us personally. It’s for us to give away. That’s how the Gospel works. We receive from God and in turn give to those around us.
Jesus came to earth and entered into our story. The Christmas story shows us that God isn’t scared by our messiness and sin.
We should react the same way to those in our life. There are people all around us who are hurting, messy, broken, and full of sin. We should enter into their story. It’s messy, difficult, and won’t be easy. But that’s exactly what Jesus did for us. And now we are called to do the same.
I know most of think, How could I do that? I don’t have the answers. I don’t know what to say… But, we aren’t called to solve everyone’s problems. We are called to love and serve people with what we have. We just need to be present with others as Jesus is present with us.
Why did Jesus come to earth? To reconcile his people back to him. The Christmas story is the opening scene of a God willing to leave heaven in pursuit of his people. May we never forget the significance of his sacrifice. And may we never stop showing others his love.
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