by J L Cook
Have you ever wondered why Jesus came? Does that seem like a silly question? We all know why Jesus came, don’t we? To save us from being enslaved to sin, yes, that’s it. But have you ever thought about the implications of why He came? Have you ever wondered what He meant to accomplish, from His point of view, from God’s point of view? Have you ever wondered why it took as long as it did? Was it all part of a big plan of God?
We know that Jesus existed in the beginning, that all things were created by Him and through Him. We also know that He will always remain in existence, at the end of time and forever more. Thus we can conclude that He has always been involved with mankind, throughout time, not just during those few years He was in the flesh and walked among us. His coming was predestined. It was planned far ahead of time, but God did not wish for it to be a total surprise when it happened. No, He planned it, and He foretold of it. He foretold it in the prophets, so it wouldn’t be a big surprise. He didn’t want to shock us out of our socks, when He came. Rather, He wanted it to be the logical conclusion to all the things that had happened up to that point in time. God could have come at any time. But He had to prepare us for Jesus’ coming. He had to teach us, to train us, to grow us up to a place where we could handle the coming of God among us.
The law was given to us as a tutor, a teacher. But a teacher is not meant to teach forever. The student will eventually grow and mature until he no longer needs a tutor. He no longer needs to be taught from the outside. Jesus came as the fulfillment of the law. He came to take us to the next level. He came to demonstrate how we should live, and how we can live. He came to give us new possibilities. The law taught us about relationships, with God and man. Jesus came to demonstrate those relationships. What made the man, Jesus, special was the fact that God was obviously inside Him. God was part of His life, His every thought, His every action. If God was not in Him, then He would have been just another person, just another fanatical preacher. But God was in Him. He was and is God, and yet He is God’s son, also. The law was given to children, to immature adults; Jesus came to take us into maturity.
But why did God come in such a way, putting on the flesh of a human, even starting out as a fragile little infant? I think He was trying to show us how to be humans, how to be normal, how to be children of God. That’s what we are, aren’t we, children of God? By coming as a human, Jesus was showing us how to be real humans. He wants us to imitate Him and let God live inside us, let God be our Father and our teacher. That’s the secret. That’s the mystery, “God in us.” God is our Father, and He wants a deep intimate relationship with each one of us. He is willing to go to great lengths to accomplish this task. He came to us in the gentlest way possible, and walked among us. He ate and drank with us, as if we were part of His family, His friends. He brought blessings and gifts to us. He came preaching pardon and acceptance. He gave unconditional love and healing and forgiveness. He came as a servant to us, to help us see better, to help us hear better.
To be the living image of God
To allow us to see God
To allow others to see God
Not to judge us
In the Old Testament, it was said, “No one can look at God and live.” But God wanted to reveal Himself to us. He wanted us to be able to see Him and believe in Him and have a relationship with Him. So He sent proof. He sent an image of Himself. He sent Jesus. Jesus came to reveal the image of God to us. Jesus came to be the living image of God. Jesus came to let us see God living in a man. Jesus came to reveal the essence of God, to give illumination to us, so we could see God better, so we could see ourselves better. Jesus came to be an example to us, to be the living revelation of God. Jesus came to be God in the flesh, God in our flesh, God living in a body of flesh. Jesus came to be God shining forth from our hearts, God on display in our lives. Jesus came to be God transcendent, the God who transcends everything, the God who permeates everything, the God who saturates everything. Jesus came to be the God who gives life and reality to everything and everyone. Jesus came to be the living image of God, an exact representation of both God and man. He wants us to do the same. He wants us to allow God to live inside our flesh, to shine out of us. He wants us to reveal God to other people, even those who are not looking for Him or deserve Him or care anything about Him. He wants us to allow the God inside of us to reach out and touch another person with love and blessings and healing and inspiration and true life.
Jesus did not come to judge us or condemn us. But just by coming, He brought judgment. Just by coming, He caused us to take another look at the God we worship. Just by coming, He forced us to look at our own lives and re-consider them. Just by coming, He caused us to make a choice. The choice is this: Is Jesus the Christ, the Messiah whom we have waited for? Did He come from God? Is He God, or man? Is He both God and man?
To be a prophet or messenger from God
To be like us or from among us
To be someone we would listen to
Because we wouldn’t listen to God, our Father
This describes one of the most tragic events that ever occurred in the entire history of the human race. It describes children asking their Father not to speak to them. One of the greatest needs of mankind is to hear and learn from our Father. What is a more natural and appropriate way for a child to learn, than from his parents? The point in time that Moses is referring to is found in Exodus 19:10-25, in Exodus 20:18-22, and also in Deuteronomy -33. The focus of the event is God giving Moses the Ten Commandments. God purposely had all the people gather around so they could hear His voice and see the fire and the smoke. God wanted them to know that He is real, and He is powerful. God didn’t want them to be so frightened of Him that they would pull away from Him, but that is what happened. I suppose God knew it would happen, because He replied, “They have spoken well.” God didn’t mean they did a good job. No, He merely recognized that they were being honest. He already knew their hearts, and He had already made plans to provide a way to get through to them. He had already planned how He would speak to them.
God would raise up prophets whom He could speak through, people who would convey the thoughts of God directly to the people. God had already been doing this through Moses, and the people were very eager to continue hearing from God in this same manner. But let me interject this thought: It was always God’s plan to speak to each and every one of us, individually, one on one, because He is our Father and we are His children. But we were not ready; we were scared to death to hear from the One who is our Creator, our God, and our Father. Remember before the time of Moses? When God spoke to people, He came to that person and spoke to them directly, or He sent an angel. That’s the way it was in the beginning, with Adam and Eve, and that is the way it was up until this point in time. God was growing up the human race, but apparently there had been a set-back.
Apparently, while the people had been living as slaves in
Jesus existed before time began. He was the original spoken word from God who caused everything to come into existence. And it follows that He would be the ultimate prophet of God, the ultimate communication of God to His people. Jesus said, “I am the first and the last.” But Jesus was different from the other prophets. Jesus took the process of hearing from God to an entirely new level. Jesus was a man with God living inside Him. He was a man who was having an intimate relationship with God. Jesus demonstrated with His body and His life that God can live inside a human being. Jesus demonstrated that God can communicate directly with a body of flesh, and even show out of Him. The glory of God showed in the life of Jesus.
Notice in the scripture above that the prophet will “come from among you.” He will be one of your countrymen. Instead of coming from some far off place, God wants to come from within. He wants to come from one of us. In a way, He is saying that He is one of us, but really, He is saying that we are part of Him. We came from Him, and we always belonged in His family. We were always meant to hear our Father’s voice and learn from Him. We were always meant to live in an intimate relationship with Him who created us. We have His seed inside of us. We only need to let it grow. We only need to listen for our Father’s voice.
Jesus came because the Father sent Him. Jesus is the Son of God because He came from the Father. He was God, yet He proceeded forth from God. He is God, and yet He chose to reveal Himself from inside one of us, from inside one of our countrymen. God came to speak to us. God, in Jesus, came to reveal the thoughts and intentions of God to us. Jesus came to show us the kind of relationship God always meant to have with each one of us. God is the Father of the entire human race, and He is determined to bring us all back into His family. It’s all part of the plan. It’s all part of the process of maturity. God has infinite patience with us, and His plan will come to its eventual conclusion.
Notice in the scripture above that God will “raise up” a prophet. That statement implies that being a prophet is part of a process. A prophet does not just appear from nowhere. It’s not magic. No, a prophet comes from someone who has a desire to know God, someone who struggles to find the important things in life, someone who has a heart to be a servant of the people. First God has to raise him up, to grow him up, and then he is ready to become a prophet to his own people. It’s about relationships. It’s about family. It’s about growing up in the family of God. It’s about children who are listening to the voice of their Father.
The time is past to hear about God from other people. Oh, we can hear about God from others and we do, but God wants to take us to a new level. He wants to spend time with each one of us, personally. He wants to speak to each one of us, personally. He wants to live inside of us and reveal Himself to others. We need to develop an intimate relationship with Him who is our real Father. In the days of Moses, God honored the people’s desire to not hear His voice for a time. But Jesus came to bring us into a new era, an era of human beings hearing from God personally, an era of God living and moving inside of each and every one of us. That is what He is offering. How can we not accept His invitation?
To be a sign from God
To be Immanuel to us
The Lord Himself will give us a sign. The truth is that the Lord, Himself, is the sign from God. His name is Immanuel, which means, “God is with us.” God is with us! What a great thought! God is not just the God who is far away. He is the God who is with us. He wants very much to be with us, to be near us, to be in our hearts and in our lives. He is our Father, and He desires to be a part of our life. Oh, yes, He is far away, too. He is everywhere. And part of everywhere is right here inside each and every one of us. We really can’t even live without His presence, without His power, without His nourishment. He is in front of us and behind us and to our right and to our left. The Bible says, “In Him we live and breathe and have our existence.” So He really is everywhere, both near us and far away.
He fills the entire universe with His presence. He wants us to be aware of Him. He wants us to get to know Him. He wants us to experience Him. He wants to walk with us as we go through life. He wants to talk with us and teach us good things. He wants to live inside of us and grow us up into mature adult children of God. But He will not force Himself on us, even though He loves us very much. He wants us to choose Him. He wants us to choose to walk with Him. He wants us to choose to listen to Him and learn from Him. He is our Father and our brother and our friend. He, Himself, chooses to be “with us.”
To show us how to be a child of God
To be a wonderful counselor to us
To be our mighty God
To be our eternal Father
To be a prince of peace to us
This must have been a fantastic statement, when it was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, about 700 years before the coming of Jesus. Many messiahs and many saviors would come and go, but how many of them could honestly claim all four of these names, “Wonderful Counselor,” “Mighty God,” “Eternal Father,” and “Prince of Peace?” Oh, some could claim to be wonderful counselors and princes of peace, but “Mighty God,” and “Eternal Father,” how could any of them claim these names for themselves? Yet it was foretold that “a child would be born to us” who could honestly claim all four of these names. How is that possible? How could any flesh and blood human claim all four of these names?
It is only possible if God, Himself, came and lived among us. It is only possible if God, Himself, came and put on a body of flesh, just like ours, and walked among us. It is only possible if God is part of our family. It is only possible if we are part of the family of God. He is our Father. He is the Father of all human beings. We were always meant to be much more than fleshly people, totally controlled by our desires and our thoughts and our needs. We were always meant to be children of God, growing up to be like our Father. This is why Jesus came, to show us how to be children, to show us how to grow up to be like God, to show us how to walk as mature adults. It’s about the Father and His children. It’s about loving relationships.
It must have seemed unbelievable when the prophet spoke these words. Even Isaiah was probably dumfounded. But he believed God. God had proven Himself over and over, in the most unbelievable ways, in the most fantastic ways, and Isaiah simply walked in that belief. He didn’t have to understand it or even pretend to comprehend it. He just walked in the presence of God, and knew that God was in control. When Jesus arrived on the scene, the people had drifted away from walking in the presence of God. The Jewish nation, His own people, crucified Jesus for claiming to be God in a body of flesh, even though His words and His deeds were as fantastic as only God can be. It is all part of a progression, part of a plan, part of a maturing process.
To judge the poor with righteousness
To decide with fairness for the afflicted
To strike the earth with the rod of His mouth
To slay the wicked with the breath of His lips
“The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him” is like saying, “the essence of God is in Him, the reality of God shows in Him and shows out of Him. “The spirit of wisdom and understanding” is like saying, “the essence or reality of wisdom and understanding is in Him.” This reality shows in His words and in His actions. These spirits are not something that suddenly came over Him, but rather something that grew inside of Him. It’s a process. It’s a progression towards maturity. Wisdom does not reside in a child; it resides in a person who has lived many, many years. It resides in a person who has sought wisdom, prayed for understanding, and struggled to live a life according to wisdom and understanding. All the spirits mentioned above are Godly spirits. All these spirits are different attributes of God, Himself. They are evidence that God is alive and working inside a person. They are evidence that God has made an everlasting impact on a person. They are the fruit, or natural consequence, of being in intimate contact with God, and growing up in His nourishment, in His teaching, in His love and protection.
I find it necessary to point out this expression, “fear of the Lord.” Many people have come to terms with this expression, and no longer believe it means “to be scared to death of God,” although some of that thought is valid. It means “to be in awe, to revere, to be afraid.” It is like many other words used then and now; their meaning depends on how they are used. The meaning can vary according to the context. But one meaning that we can be sure of is this: it implies a very strong emotion. God brought out strong emotions in people. People cared about God very deeply. They were extremely concerned about God and His influence in their life.
When you were a child, were you ever tempted to do something wrong, but did not do it because you knew your mom or your dad would be disappointed? You might have said something like, “I would do it, but my mom would kill me!” Or, “my mom would die if she knew about this!” Well, this is getting close to the meaning of the “fear of the Lord.” As a child, you might actually have had some fear of punishment, or even better, a fear of losing that special relationship with your mom or your dad. You didn’t want to hurt their feelings. You didn’t want to disappoint them. This is a very strong emotion, especially if it prevents you from doing something wrong. It might even save your life. It is very real, and it is very powerful. It’s all about relationship. It is the beginning of love. We need and desire deep loving relationships.
As a child, you might have lived with some fear of being punished by your parents. If you did something wrong, there would certainly be consequences to pay. This is how it was in the Old Testament. There were rules and regulations and punishments for disobedience. But we must understand why the laws were given. The Law of Moses was given as a tutor, a teacher. It was given by our Father. It was given to children, or immature people. That’s what children are, aren’t they, immature adults? But a child does not remain a child forever, or at least he is not meant to remain a child forever. No, he must grow and mature.
Every parent’s dream is for their children to grow up to be mature responsible adults, able to conduct their lives without constant supervision. Another dream of every parent is that their relationship with their children will not end. It will change, but hopefully it will not end. The children will come back to visit because their “fear of their parents” has grown and matured. This fear, this awe, this reverence has now become a deep love, a deep need for their presence, a longing to spend time with them. This fear has progressed, it has matured, it has blossomed, and it has grown to a new level. It has become a tremendously powerful love. It has reached its proper conclusion. It has become the fulfillment of everything the parents hoped for.
This is why Jesus came, to take our “fear of the Lord” to its proper conclusion. Jesus came to take us to the next level. God does not intend for the human race to be immature children forever. God, our Father, does not want to eternally dictate what we will think and do. Rather, He wants us to learn from Him, and grow up to be mature responsible adult children of God.
When we allow Jesus to take us to the next level of maturity, we will obviously have the Spirit of God resting on us. It will show, and it will be obvious to the people around us. We will have the spirit of wisdom and understanding in us. We will have the spirit of counsel and strength in us. We will have the spirit of knowledge in us. And like Jesus, we will delight in the “fear of the Lord,” and we will not judge by what our eyes see. We will not judge by what our ears hear. Rather, we will care about the poor; we will try to help them, whether they deserve it or not. We will decide with fairness for the afflicted. When we speak, our words will be powerful and true. Our words will strike deep and cause wicked people to be ashamed.
“Judging the poor” in the above scripture is not about deciding if they are worthy of our love. No, it is recognizing their needs and doing something for them. It is living life with our eyes wide open, and responding to the needs that we see. It is living outside of our own little world of comfort and security, and putting ourselves into a position to serve the needs of others. What better example of this can be found, than the example Jesus gave us?
When Jesus came, He went around spreading good news. He went around blessing people who didn’t deserve it. He went around healing people and casting out demons and eating meals with sinners, as if they were His own family. He went around calling God His own Father, and teaching us to call God, “Our Father.” He was including us into the family of God and teaching us to include others. It’s a progression. It’s about growing up. It’s about becoming a mature child of God. It’s about growing up to be like Jesus. It’s about growing up to be like our Father.
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