Way back when our first parents sinned, God made a promise. One day in the future, he would send a special son, a child of our first mother Eve. This chosen boy would grow up to defeat sin, death, and the devil once and for all. As they waited for him to come and save the day, God’s people used special words for this long-promised savior. In the Hebrew language, it was “Messiah.” And in Greek, it was “Christ.”
Many, many years after making that promise, when the time was just right, God finally sent the Christ into our world. You’ve probably heard of him: Jesus, the Son of God. Sometimes the Bible calls him “Jesus Christ.” It’s not saying that Jesus’ last name was Christ. Instead, Jesus was the Christ. Jesus was the Messiah. He was the long-promised chosen child come to defeat sin, death, and the devil once and for all!
In 1 Timothy 1:15, the apostle Paul gives a simple explanation of Jesus’ mission to our world: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…” To finish that job, Jesus the Christ had a lot he needed to accomplish. But his God-given mission had two main goals. We'll talk about them briefly here, then look at them more closely later.
First, Jesus came to keep the whole law for his people. He came to do all the good things we were supposed to do. God gave us the Ten Commandments and told us to obey them. And how did we do? We failed miserably! In all sorts of different ways, our hands and hearts failed to obey what our King commanded us to do.
To save us from sin, Jesus the Christ needed to succeed where all of us failed. In Matthew 5:17, Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish (get rid of) the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Jesus didn't come to throw God's laws away. He came to “fulfill them.” That means he came to obey every single one of God’s commands perfectly for his people.
Keeping God’s law was the first part of the mission of Jesus the Messiah. The second part? Paying the price for all of our law-breaking. In Romans 6:23, we learn, “the wages of sin is death.” Our law-breaking earned us the punishment of forever death outside of God’s kingdom. As the Christ, Jesus came to suffer for our sins so that we didn’t have to! He came to die for his people. And as we’ll see in our study, the death he died for us was the shameful and painful death of the cross!