The Mission of Jesus
It is true that Jesus died for our sins, but the meaning of this is different from what has been hitherto believed. Jesus obviously brought a Message and it can be argued that almost all His time, if not all was spent in giving this Message. He explained to people how it really was in the Kingdom of God and in explaining either in parables or other means what the mechanisms or laws of Creation were and how we are meant to adjust ourselves to them.
There is not a single verse from Him where one would find that He said the main purpose of His coming to the earth was solely to die and through this automatically carry the sins of the world on His shoulders. There is not a single statement to this effect, not even by His Apostles. Though they made various references to the death of Christ and indeed to the saving grace afforded by His Blood, nowhere will one find this as the main purpose of Christ’ sojourn on earth.
There are numerous verses that one could quote but the conclusion to be drawn from an objective reading of the Scriptures is the fact that His Teaching undermined the influence of the religious authorities on the people. This led to hatred and the hatching of a plan to be rid of Him. They eventually found a willing instrument in Judas who was willing to betray his Master.
There are so many places where Jesus said that we shall reap whatever we sow and that we should be as perfect as the Father pointing to the importance of personal efforts in the salvation of each individual. In the Apostles’ writing the same tone is set in their constantly adjuring people to make the effort to be better human beings and strive to improve themselves.
If only we would take the time to read the Scriptures ourselves and not listen to conventional interpretations by people who would like nothing better than to lull us to sleep and tell us that all we need to get into the Kingdom of Heaven is to become a member of a Church and that they could become intermediaries on the way thereto.
After all each one is responsible for his or her own spiritual well-being and indeed we must make the requisite efforts to save our own spirits from the wrath of God and His Judgment. In promoting indolence, these people attract more believers to themselves, they get stronger and richer but in so doing they allow the believers to lose valuable time. Time that they would otherwise have used to improve themselves, strive to become better human beings and avoid the Judgment of God.
By their ready-made explanations, they prevent people from really examining the Scriptures themselves and realising that there is much more vitality than the dull message which they hold out to be the message of Christ Jesus. We allow other people to quote convenient passages to us instead of taking the messages of the Apostles as a whole. Since there is absolutely nothing of the Word of Jesus that they can use to support their suspicious doctrine, they selectively quote the Apostles’ writings which they use to their purposes.
Apart from some dodgy interpretation in the letter to the Hebrews, the authorship of which is in dispute, there is not a single place in the New Testament where it is stated that the main mission of Jesus was solely to come to the earth and die.
The question now should be why did He die? What is the meaning of it and what are the consequences of it and just as important what are the factors that led to His death.
As mentioned above, the religious situation and indeed the political situation in Palestine was precarious during the time of Jesus. They were an oppressed people, weighed down by extreme poverty and in the midst of all this were those amongst them who were apparent collaborators with the oppressors who had everything. In the midst of this grinding poverty was a desire for a deliverer from the yoke of the oppressors and indeed there had been would-be deliverers who had led the people astray and got many of them killed in several futile attempts to overthrow the Roman domination.
Also to be considered is the question of the prophecy from God of a Messiah which apparently had been misinterpreted by the people of Israel. When God makes a prophecy of a Messiah He does not mean an earthly Messiah, He does not mean a Messiah to deliver people from an earthly bondage. Indeed a little reflection would allow us to arrive at a conclusion that what God meant was a spiritual Messiah. A Messiah to free the people from their spiritual bondage which led to their earthly bondage in the first place.
It is obvious that God would never promise a Messiah for the sole purpose of deliverance from an earthly affliction. It must be a spiritual Messiah because all earthly afflictions have arisen first from a spiritual imperfection. The spiritual aspect of all matters must first of all be addressed and if this is done then it is automatic that the earthly aspects will follow. However, the Jewish people misunderstood this prophecy and placed all their expectations on the appearance of an earthly Messiah. It was not a surprise then that when the Messiah appeared they failed to recognise Him since they were looking in the wrong place. All those they placed their hopes in led them to destruction because these people had nothing else to offer. They should have first learned to recognise themselves through their faults. They should have first striven to free themselves spiritually after which their earthly freedom will follow as a matter of course.
Because of this lack of recognition by the leaders of the Jewish community and indeed the majority of the Jewish people it was easy for them to attack Him, oppose Him and to seek to destroy Him. After so many years of agitating against Him, they finally succeeded in killing Him. So His death was nothing more than a political assassination. The priestly authorities saw Him as a threat to their established doctrine which saw their firm hold on the people begin to weaken.
There are several verses in the Bible where He had differences with the way the religious law of the people of Israel was being interpreted. He felt that the real Law of God had been ignored and in its place were external ordinances which really had nothing to do with the ascent of the spirit. He felt that people were being made to adhere to what did not matter in the true ascent of the spirit, was immaterial to it. This He pointed out so many times and this brought Him into conflict with these people.
With His Teaching He was winning away people thereby undermining what they felt was an ancestral tradition in the interpretation of the law. Eventually when they could really find nothing concrete to accuse Him with, Caiaphas, now said that it was better for one man to die for the peace of the nation. More like his own peace of mind! What logic? It did not matter whether He was innocent or guilty. He just had to die because He was troublesome.
There are people who say that God must have sanctioned it for Him to have been killed. God sanctioned nothing! Jesus was sent as a Messiah to the Jewish people and in the law of the free will they could accept or reject Him. He could not unfold His Mission among other peoples because He was sent specifically to these people. The condition of the fulfilment of His Mission required that He complete It amongst them. He could of course have left or run away, but them He would not have fulfilled His Mission. Among the Israelites, He was to find a people who were meant to understand His Message best since these people had the requisite maturity for this. Elsewhere He would have been like a Stranger, with no connection to the people. All His helpers and His disciples incarnated among this people. All the prophecies indicated that He was meant to come to this people and work amongst them. We must realise that Jesus is not just another human prophet. Being out of God, the Laws apply to Him even more and there was no question of a deviation from this.
Also to run would have ruined His reputation and to deny His Origin when Caiaphas asked Him if He was the Son of God would have done irreparable damage to His Mission. It was the darkness’ last trump card. However, it did not work. He sacrificed Himself so that His believers would continue to have the authority of His Word. To have run or to have denied all He stood for at the threat of physical suffering would have completely undermined everything and Jesus today would have been a footnote in history and our Salvation would have been lost. There would have been no possibility of progress for mankind and we would have been lost to the darkness. As it is we could cling to the Message of Jesus, the love He preached and the power He gave to us through the Holy Spirit. This is what has sustained humanity, believe it or not for two thousand years.
That was His Sacrifice. Not that He had to but He was forced to make it out of love for mankind to prevent a final descent into darkness. Now in the face of this realisation to now say that He came specifically to die is to deny the enormity of this most important Sacrifice.
We must realise that by the time Jesus came, mankind was in total darkness with no possibility whatever of Salvation. We would irretrievably have been destroyed in the darkness even before the Judgment. That is how bad the downward spiral of mankind was. His coming therefore should be regarded as a measure designed to arrest a rapid decline into destruction which would otherwise have been the case. That is the Sacrifice and that is what we should thank the Creator for.