By Rev Dr Edward Goh
Why did Jesus come to earth? Mark 10:45 says He came to give His life as our ransom. He came to save us from sin by living, dying and resurrecting on our behalf. However, John gives us another perspective when he lets us into the conversation within the Godhead—Christ’s prayer in John 17. It is a closing prayer for the whole discourse from John 13 to 16, where the Lord was preparing His disciples for His physical absence. It is also the closing prayer of His earthly ministry.
John 17 suggests the Lord came not just to save us, but to transform us into a holy people for God’s dwelling. Being holy means believing, loving and devoting ourselves to God. How would the Lord accomplish this? He showed us the Father.
Satan, the father of lies, had slandered God since Genesis 3 and filled men’s heart with lies about God. Christ’s mission was to destroy the works of the evil one (1 John 3:8). He did it by revealing God. He said in verse 4, “I have glorified you on earth,” and again in verse 6, “I have manifested your name to the people you gave me . . . .”
How did the Lord show us the Father? Verses 6-7 say all that Christ has belong to the Father and He has given us the Father’s words. We know God, therefore, by hearing Christ’s words. Christ’s words cleanse us by correcting our views of God.
Christ would also further glorify the Father by going to the cross (v.1). His birth, life, teachings, miracles, and ministries culminate in His death and resurrection. God’s love, wisdom, justice and power is fully shown at the cross. Hence God will be worshipped eternally through the Lamb who was slain (Rev 5:13). It means in heaven, we will continue to know and see God through Christ’s cross. “The Lamb” is thus one of Christ’s most-used titles in John’s Book of Revelation.
Our faith is therefore a response to who God is as revealed to us in Christ. It comes by hearing Christ’s words. On the contrary, the greatest and the root of all sins which is unbelief, comes from hearing words that are not from God, but Satan and our deceitful hearts.
Why did Christ come? He came to glorify God by making Him known. By showing us God’s glory, He ushers us into the same glory, uniting us with Himself and with one another in His body forever (v.22). This is the reason for Christmas. He now sends us out with the same mission (v.18). Let us, therefore, as a faith community, seek to know Him and make Him known this Christmas and beyond.