Ask almost any child who has been to Sunday school, “Why did Jesus come to earth?” And the most likely response you will get is, “To die for our sins.” But what did Jesus really say about his coming and his purpose. Before we take a look at the words of Jesus Himself let’s notice that the Gospel of Mark begins with explaining that John the Baptist appeared for this reason:
Baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. (1:4)
Notice that John’s baptizing people (i.e. a ritual cleansing) signified the person had repented of their sin and was made clean.
Why focus on the gospel of Mark? Because Mark is fairly universally recognized by scholars as a core document. Most scholars recognize that the gospels of Mathew and Luke contain all of the gospel of Mark – thus the strong implication is that both the authors of Luke and Matthew’s gospels used Mark as a primary source for their writings which are thought to have been written well after Mark. According to this article on the Dating of the Gospels Mark was written in the 70’s AD (for historical perspective, Jesus ascended to His Father around 33AD) and Matthew and Luke in the 80’s and 90’s:
This scholarly consensus holds that the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke were composed, independently of one another, sometime in the 80s or 90s. Both used a written form of the Gospel of Mark as source material for their own narratives. In addition, because both Matthew and Luke contain a large amount of material in common that is not found in Mark, most researchers hold that both Evangelists also had a collection of Jesus’ sayings that they incorporated into their works. This saying source is known as “Q” and was likely assembled in the 40s or 50s. This understanding of the origins of the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke explains why they are similar yet different from one another. The arrangement is called “The Two-Source Hypothesis” because Matthew and Luke are seen to have two written sources, Mark and Q.
The Gospel of John emerges from an independent literary tradition that is not directly connected to the Synoptic tradition. This explains the major differences between John and the Synoptics. The Johannine narrative is indebted to oral and possibly written traditions that were transmitted from earlier decades.
Below are the sayings of Jesus from the gospel of Mark that pertain in some way to His purpose and coming.
Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”(1:14-15)
And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” (1:17)
And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” 39 And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons. (1:38-39)
And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (2:5)
“Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” (3:28-29)
“Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” (3:33-35)
“To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, 12 so that
“they may indeed see but not perceive,
and may indeed hear but not understand,
lest they should turn and be forgiven.” (4:11-12) (Jesus is quoting Isaiah 6:9)
“Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” (5:19)
(Jesus’ words to the man he delivered from the legion of demons. Telling the man delivered to give all the glory to YHWH (not to Jesus) for his deliverance.)
And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” (8:29)
(The Messiah/Christ was to usher in the Kingdom of YHWH – Jesus demonstrated that the Kingdom of God was upon Israel through the miracles He performed and gave His disciples the power to do the same.)
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (8:34-38)
John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name,and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39 But Jesus said, “Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40 For the one who is not against us is for us. 41 For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward. ” (9:38-41)
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. 43 And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ 49 For everyone will be salted with fire.50 Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” (9:42-50)
And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 3 He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” 4 They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce and to send her away.” 5 And Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. 6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (10:5-9)
And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. 23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” (10:21-23)
And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, 40 but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” 41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. 42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (10:39-45)
“Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” 22 And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (11:21-25)
“Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (11:28-31)
22 And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. 24 And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” (14:22-25)
Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” 62 And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” (14:62)
And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” (15:2)
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Mark 15:2-5. Pilate asked him, Art thou the king of the Jews? — These verses are explained in the notes on Matthew 27:11-14. But Jesus yet answered nothing — This is not an accurate translation of the original, (which is, ουκετι ουδεν απεκριθη,) implying, as Dr. Campbell justly observes, “that he had answered nothing to the former question, the reverse of which is the fact, as appears, Mark 15:2. All the Latin translators say rightly, Nihil amplius respondit, he answered nothing more, or what is manifestly equivalent. All the foreign translations give the same sense. Yet, to show how difficult it is to preserve a uniform attention, and how liable at times even judicious persons are to run blindfold into the errors of their predecessors; it may be observed, that Wesley is the only modern translator who has escaped a blunder not more repugnant to the fact, as recorded in the verses immediately preceding, than contradictory to the import of the Greek expression here used. His version is, Answered nothing any more. The rest without exception say, Still answered nothing, or words to that purpose. Yet, in the translation commonly used in Queen Elizabeth’s reign, the sense was truly exhibited, Answered no more at all.”
And Pilate asked him, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answering said unto them, Thou sayest it.
14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. 15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs. (16:14-20)
- Mark 16:9 Some manuscripts end the book with 16:8; others include verses 9–20 immediately after verse 8. At least one manuscript inserts additional material after verse 14; some manuscripts include after verse 8 the following: But they reported briefly to Peter and those with him all that they had been told. And after this, Jesus himself sent out by means of them, from east to west, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation. These manuscripts then continue with verses 9–20
This study of the Words of Jesus is simply for the purpose of letting Jesus speak for himself about what His purpose is and why He came…with very little commentary, hopefully just enough to clarify for the reader a few important points.
That said, I am not saying Jesus did not come to “die for our sins”, but my purpose is to encourage all to be a Berean, study the scriptures daily, especially two things:
- First, study the back of the book (the Old Testament, particularly the first 5 books called the Torah aka the Pentateuch).
- Secondly, study the words of Jesus.
Dear Christ follower, dig deep, learn for yourself from the original, historical languages and manuscripts. Stop holding fast to your favorite pastor/teacher’s interpretation of the Bible. Instead hold fast to the very Word of Life itself.
If you obey the commandments of the YHWH your God that I command you today, by loving the YHWH your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live… I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the YHWH your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days… (Deuteronomy 30:16-20)
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. (Isaiah 40:8)
The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.