Why did he come?

Picking up from yesterday on why are we here, what is the purpose of life, let's take a moment to look at Jesus. The commemoration of his crucifixion is tomorrow, so it seems like a good time to consider why He came. If Jesus had come to pursue his own happiness, he would have been born in the usual way, married at the expected time, had children, perhaps taught in the synagogues as a rabbi, and lived a typical Jewish life during Roman times. He might have taken up the life of a zealot, a political mercenary, or he might have done all he could to keep the peace. From a purely human standpoint, he would have been rather ordinary - like everyone else - like us.

But Jesus was not ordinary because He had the uniqueness of being both God and man. Let's set that aside for a moment though.

When Jesus came to earth, He didn't come to show off the fact that He was God. He came to fulfill a specific purpose. He also came to fulfill specific prophecies of the Old Testament. And He came to die on a Roman cross for a specific reason.

Being God, He knew His purpose before He even stepped over the threshold from heaven to earth. Being man, everything He did was in accordance with that purpose. He did not come to fulfill his own personal happiness.

He came for a much more profound joy.

Hebrews 12 tells us that "For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross..."

What was that joy set before Him? He revealed it in what is known as His High Priestly prayer in John 17:

"Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world."

The joy set before Him - was us! Those who believed in Him - He wanted them to see where He came from, to meet His Father in person. He wanted them (and us who believe now) to share His glory and His joy. So He endured the cross (a most humiliating death) to bring that about, because there was no other way for us to get there unless He made a way. (But more on why that was necessary tomorrow.)

God isn't a killjoy who wants those who love Him to live miserable lives. On the contrary, He wants our lives to have meaning and purpose too. But our purpose isn't to pursue selfish happiness where we have to have every condition right to please ourselves. It isn't instant gratification or material pleasure. True happiness comes in setting aside self in order to seek Him.

Why did he come? He came because of love. He came so we could know Him. God doesn't want to be thought of as the happy genie who is at our beck and call. That's not who He is. God is the very lover of our souls, the only one who knows why we long to be happy. And the only one who can give us something much better than that temporary condition.

He came for joy.

He came for us.