Why Did Christ Come?
Dr. Valson Abraham
In 1990, 24 years ago, the Hubble Space Telescope was sent into orbit on the space shuttle Discovery.
It was the world’s most powerful camera and telescope sent into space. The camera lens was 8 feet in diameter, weighing 828 kilos, the most expensive space project undertaken by the government of United States.
This project grew out of the 1940s-1950s research of Dr. Edward Hubble. He discovered that the universe was expanding, and others continued to research this for 17 more years. The United States government became convinced that this project needed funding, but it took another 20 years of planning and preparation to send this telescope into space. Now it orbits at 352 miles above the earth at an original cost of 1.5 billion dollars for the project.
But there was one major problem. The pictures sent by this telescope were blurred. All that money spent, but the telescope failed its purpose.
It took another 3 years of research before they sent another crew on a space shuttle to repair the defect. The lens had not been properly placed. After it was repaired, for the first time, human beings saw images of galaxies in the universe never before seen by human eyes. The first set of pictures revealed 3000 previously unknown galaxies. About 6 years ago, they discovered a previously unknown solar system. On a computer, you can see new images every day received from the Hubble telescope, the constant discovery of new galaxies.
It was the largest camera, it had the most powerful lens that was ever made, it was the biggest project and had the biggest budget.
You may be big and you may have lots of money, but the most important thing in our lives is to have clarity and focus.
Jesus came to this world with a clear focus.
He came with a purpose to reveal God.
He came to rescue sinners.
He came to rule this planet Earth.
In John 18:37, Jesus answered defined his purpose to Pilate, “For this reason I came to earth”--for this purpose and this cause I was born--“I came to testify about the truth. Everyone that listens to the truth will listen to me''. Everyone on the side of the truth will listen to me.
Jesus came to share the words of His Father, saying, “The Father sent me.”
Jesus said the Father commanded him what to say, not only what to say but how to say it.
Jesus said, “I am light of the world.”
Jesus said, “I am the bread of life.” In other words, you will eat my words, and they will give life and quicken your spirit. Jesus said, “If you eat my word, you will not taste death.”
Jesus said, “I also came to do the Father’s work, I also came to finish the work that the father has sent me to do.”
Jesus said, “I came to save the world from sin.”
He said, “I came to die and be executed on the cross.”
He said, “I came to forgive sins.”
Jesus accomplished 27 impossible missions for his Father.
Since He ascended to the Father He still continues to do six things that He promised. He said, “I go to the Father that I might send you the Holy Spirit. If you ask anything in prayer in my name, the Father will do it for you. I go to prepare a place for you. For those who follow me and for those who are my disciples, I am going to prepare a place for them.”
He also said that He will return to earth and take us to be with Him.
He also said, “I will come back to judge humanity.” He said, “The Father has entrusted all judgment to Me, His Son.” This was the purpose for which Jesus was sent. It was a very clear purpose. Every word that He uttered, every deed that He did fulfilled that for which the Father sent Him.
In the four Gospels, there are more than 1,900 statements of Jesus Christ.
Jesus wants my life and your life to center around these words. No man spoke like Jesus. The greatest words ever heard by human ears were spoken by Jesus. No one ever did anything like Jesus Christ. The most important person in the entire human history is Jesus Christ.
Now, your purpose and my purpose, is to know and is to love and is to serve this one true God Jesus Christ. This is purpose of God for you and me.
The purpose of God is that I know Jesus, that I love Jesus, that I serve Jesus and recognize that He is the one and true God.
I have read several biographies of Mahatma Gandhi, of Winston Churchill and of John F. Kennedy. In all those biographies we find only a few pages devoted to their death, although they were significant political leaders. Even of Abraham Lincoln, less than 10% of the content is devoted to his assassination.
In other words, 90% is devoted to their lives. But all the Gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John devoted 1/3rd of what they have written, to the crucifixion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because they realized that it was not an ordinary death. It was not an ordinary death of a political leader, it was not the death of an ordinary emperor, He was greater than any political leader, He was greater than any scientist, He was greater than any philosopher, He was greater than any religious leader, He was greater than any other person. His death is important, His suffering is important, His crucifixion is important. How you view his crucifixion and death will affect your destiny.
I want to focus on one detail in Matthew 27:54.
The centurion worked for the Roman government. The Roman soldiers were fearless. They were trained to be brave, they were trained to march into any capital and conquer those places. This Roman centurion was assigned to oversee the execution of Jesus and two thieves. He had heard about the claims of Jesus. He had heard about the six trials Jesus faced in the previous 24 hours.
Finally, he heard Pilate asking him questions. Caiaphas the High Priest questioned Him. He had a feeling that Jesus was making bombastic claims, but he knew there was something different about this individual, Jesus Christ. The centurion, a Roman soldier, was trained not to fear anything, but Matthew, a credible witness, is telling us that the centurion and the other soldiers were terrified.
From Matthew 27:45, we read what they observed.
First, from 12.00 at noon until the 9th hour that is 3.00 PM in the afternoon, there was tremendous darkness all over the land. It was not ordinary darkness, it was great darkness, and it affected all the towns and villages of that place. Luke records the same thing, He investigated as to what happened during that time. It affected the whole region and the whole land. It was not ordinary darkness. God was showing signs that the executed One was not an ordinary man.
When Jesus was born God, put a new star in the sky. When Jesus was crucified, God switched off the light. God can do whatever He wishes to do whenever He wants to do it.
In the Old Testament we find that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still in the land of Gibeon. In the Old Testament, we read about Hezekiah and how the Lord turned the Sun 10 degrees backward. Sun is 35 times bigger than the earth. When you boil water you boil it at 100 degree Celsius but Sun is burning at 1 and half crore Celsius. What did God do? He switched off the light for 3 hours. There were miracles at His birth but there were also miracles at his death. Some critics say that it was a natural eclipse, but crucifixion happened during the time of the Passover. Passover always happens at full moon. No eclipse can happen at full moon. It was not a natural phenomenon, the creation was groaning even the Sun decided not to give light for 3 hours.
The second miracle, we read in verse 51. We know how the curtain, the veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom which divided the holy from the Holy of Holies. That curtain was not torn by human hands. The curtains in this pandal can be torn by one hand, but the curtain in the temple was as thick as the palm of a man’s hand, and this curtain was 1,500 years old. It was made with strong material. It was 60 feet high. The height of this convention tent is less than 20 feet, the curtain was three times the size of this convention tent. It was 60 feet high and 30 feet wide. Jewish historians tell us that it took 300 priests to hang it. When Jesus died, that curtain was torn from top to bottom. The most sophisticated religious system in this world was split wide open so people knew that access to God was not just for special people but to anyone who comes by your prayer and faith in Jesus Christ. You and I have access because the curtain was torn through the death and crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
The third miracle, recorded in verse 51, was an earthquake strong enough to split rocks. Roman writers of that time describe a severe earthquake that took place at that time. Not only Matthew, Mark, Luke and John but also Roman historians and writers describe a deafening earthquake that split granite. A week before Jesus’ crucifixion, people shouted “Hosanna to the king!” Now, nobody was shouting, all were holding their peace. Many people were healed but not a single person raised their voice in support of Jesus. Once, people cried out to Jesus, “Have mercy on us!” This included people like Bartimaeus and others. But none of these people were found around the cross. Only one voice protested the injustice of Calvary, and that was the cry of the repentant dying thief. Jesus told the religious leaders who asked him to let the people be quiet when they were shouting “Hosanna.” He said if they stopped, the rocks would cry out and praise God.
The fourth miracle comes from verse 53. The graves were opened. Matthew is very careful to say this miracle happened after the resurrection on Sunday. Bodies of saints came alive, and people all over Jerusalem saw these saints. They recognized them--people who died recently. If my grandfather comes alive, I would recognize him. If Pr. C K Daniel comes alive, I can recognize him. If Pr. T G Oommen comes alive I can recognize him because they died while I was alive.
This miracle tells me that Christ’s death disarmed and disabled death itself. The centurion, the Roman soldiers, witnessed many of these miracles. They witnessed the darkened sky, they witnessed the thunder that came from the rocks being split, they realized that it was not an ordinary earthquake (it was number 10 in the Richter scale).
They also never heard the kind of words that came from Jesus’ mouth. While they nailed him to the cross, Jesus prayed for His enemies. While people tortured him he prayed for his enemies. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” When Jesus said that it was not a one-time prayer, it was in the imperfect tense, meaning that He was continually praying that prayer. He was continually saying, “Father, forgive him, Father, forgive her, Father, forgive the soldier, Father, forgive the centurion, they know not what they are doing.”
The centurion heard these words. He said Jesus is not an ordinary person. When He is being tortured, He prays for others. He offered forgiveness. Man’s greatest need is not health. His greatest need is not food. His greatest need is not clothing. His greatest need is not house and money. The greatest need of man is forgiveness from God. Without forgivenesss, a man is condemned to go to eternal hell. The greatest need of man is forgiveness, which is our need. Jesus came to forgive sin.
I was preaching in a city in North India. It was a large crusade. We were allowed to have PA system only until 8.30 at night. We were praying for hundreds of people who responded to the altar call. For nearly 3.5 hours, till midnight we prayed for people. A well-dressed educated couple stood patiently until midnight. They came to me and asked me whether I would pray for them. “Would you also pray for my son?” After that, the lady said, ‘I am 62 years of age, I have earned all my life, I have heard about a god who punishes sin.” She was an educated lady, her husband and all three sons were engineers. She said, “This is the first time that I am hearing about a God who forgives sins, my sins.”
Dear friend, those who are watching us by internet or television, we offer the message of Jesus Christ to you. He came to reveal God. He also came to rescue humanity from sin and He also came to rule over your life. No one has made claims like Jesus. He made 170 claims in the Gospel. No one in humanity has ever made those claims. We invite you to put your trust in Jesus who only can forgive your sins. If He comes into your life He can change your life.
A pastor in southern France moved to a new church and was visiting each member’s house. When he visited one home, the wife was not there. She had gone for shopping, but he talked to the husband. When the wife returned from shopping the wife was told that pastor had come home. The wife wanted to know what the pastor said. The pastor asked, “Does Jesus live here?” She asked her husband, “Did you tell him that we are elders of the church, that we give more money to church than anybody else? Did you say that we always sit in the front row. The husband said, “Honey, he did not ask that. He just asked, ‘Does Jesus live here?‘”. “Did you tell him about our children, that our son is a doctor and our daughter is an accomplished person?” He said, “No, the pastor only asked, ‘Does Jesus live here?’”.
The most important question that God will ask us is, “ Does Jesus live in your heart? Has He taken up residence in your life ? Is he presiding over your life?” That is the most important question.