Why did Christ come to earth? The answer to this question unlocks our understanding of the gospels and Jesus’ words in the gospels. When we survey the entirety of the New Testament, the answer boils down to this: Jesus Christ came to earth to take the punishment for our sins, to die in our place. The wages of sin is death and Christ received those wages for all who believe in Him.
But there is even more to Christ’s mission. And the more, as Christ explains many times in the gospels, is the myriad of beautiful things Christ’s death accomplished on our behalf.
Christ purchased our freedom with His blood, freedom from the penalty and power of sin. He placed us in right standing with God. And He made us citizens of His kingdom; a kingdom He referred to interchangeably as the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven. Announcing and ushering in this kingdom in the here and now was a major piece of Christ’s message in the gospels. When we understand this part of Christ’s purpose in coming – to establish the kingdom of heaven on earth in the hearts of His followers – so much of the gospel content falls into place.
Over the next twenty days of Advent, we are going to explore the first coming of Christ the King and His announcement of the kingdom He was bringing with Him. Let’s start with the first public message of Jesus, recorded for us in Mark chapter 1. “Jesus arrived in Galilee preaching the gospel of God, saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel’ “ (Mark 1:14-15).
Jesus is heralding a new way to relate to God. The arrival of a King, prophesied throughout the Old Testament, is at hand. And this King is arriving with a gospel message of good news. “Repent, change your mind about how you are made right with God. Change your mind, and believe the new message of the gospel that I will be proclaiming.” What is the message of the gospel that Jesus is preaching? We will talk about it next time.