E66: Why did Jesus come? A good question to ask yourself at Christmas.
PODCAST: A challenge to us all to spend some time this Christmas thinking about what Jesus did for us on a personal level.
Why did Jesus come to earth? We all know the answer, on some level, but here’s a challenge to all of us to spend some time this Christmas thinking about what Jesus did for us. Not only for mankind on a large scale, but for each of us, on a personal and individual level. Join Kathy and Julia with our good friend Harald Kronstad, as we talk about the reasons behind Jesus coming and His love and compassion for us all.
Transcript: “Living the Gospel” podcast, E66: Why did Jesus come? Food for thought this Christmas
Welcome to ActiveChristianity’s “Living the Gospel” podcast. Join us as we talk about how we can “live the gospel” every day, no matter who we are, where we live, and what our circumstances are.
Kathy: Welcome, everybody, to another episode of “Living the Gospel.” It is December 23rd today and it’s almost Christmas.
Kathy: I’m Kathy.
Julia: I’m Julia. And we have a special guest today.
Kathy: Our good friend Harald has joined us. Hi Harald.
Harald: Hi, hi! Good to see you and hear you.
Kathy: We wanted to do something special for Christmas, a special sort of Christmas episode. And really, we thought, what could be better for Christmas than to talk about Jesus, right? And to have this episode focused around Him … what He did for us when He came to earth, actually. Because we all kind of know, at Christmas it’s a time to celebrate Jesus. And you kind of have that in your head and it can almost be a bit superficial. But to really, really think about what is it that we’re celebrating at Christmas time? So, I thought a good place to start is with some verses in Proverbs 8. And these are verses about Jesus. It says, “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I have been established from everlasting, from the beginning, before there was ever an earth … When He prepared the heavens, I was there, when He drew a circle on the face of the deep … Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman, and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him, rejoicing in His inhabited world, and my delight was with the sons of men.” Proverbs 8:22-23,27,30-31. What do you think about that, Harald? I especially think that that part where He says, “My delight was with the sons of men” is very interesting.
Harald: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it speaks here about, actually, eternity before the creation of this earth. And that’s also very interesting to me. I mean, Jesus, He was a master craftsman, a designer we can say, with God, in eternity, when He designed the whole universe. And He had also at some point experienced that catastrophic situation in heaven when Satan started to oppose God. He wanted to be equal to God. And what a tragic day, we can say, that that spirit, the spirit of pride and wanting to be something beside, or even more than, God, maybe. So Jesus was along in that, and He saw that and They designed a plan, also together, God and Jesus, that we have to come to an end with all the work of the devil. And then later on They created the earth, and everything was in right order and we know that Satan came in there as well, and he destroyed God’s plan. It’s interesting, you know, Adam and Eve, they got one commandment. And that was to stay away from that one tree. And they didn’t do that. They were snared to do something outside God’s will. And then the corruption came into this world as well. And Jesus, He saw also that, and it developed very fast actually. You see in the first chapters of Genesis how quickly it started, all this corruption, all this evil, all this sorrow and pain in this earth, because of sin! Because mankind wanted to do their own will. And Jesus, you know, none of us were there and really experienced what happened, but I can easily imagine that the most precious part of creation, man, was corrupted in such a way, was a great sorrow for Jesus.
Julia: For sure.
Harald: And it seems like what you read here in Proverbs 8, that Jesus, He was not accusing people because of that, but He was full of sorrow. And He wanted to help us. So, He made that plan. But mankind – can you say – they have erred in their ways? They’ve gone wrong. So the problem is of course death, but it’s mostly that they die inside. Their spirit is so contaminated by evil. And Jesus saw that. And you can read more places in the prophets. In Isaiah, for example, in 53 and 63. He had this longing to come and pave a new and living way out of all of that evil. And I can picture that in my heart, seeing Jesus, full of love and compassion, with all these people who had all this sorrow, all this pain, all these disappointments. And He came and He knew He had the solution. And that was to go the totally opposite way of what Satan had done. He who wanted to exalt himself, who wanted to be someone, to be equal to God. And Jesus went the total opposite way. He came and He humbled Himself. He found the way of humiliation. So surely, His delight was with the sons of men.
Kathy: But that is interesting what you say. How He went totally the opposite way of Satan. Because I don’t think I’ve ever thought of it quite like that before, but it is written there that He didn’t count it robbery to be equal with God, right? And then He humbled Himself. And that that act of humbling Himself and coming here to earth as a servant actually is what is saving mankind. Right? So, it’s actually humility that is the answer, right?
Harald: Humility and obedience.
Julia: And of course He had to come. Because human nature would never on its own think that humility is the answer. But as humans we look up to everything that is great and grand by nature, right? So Jesus had to come and show us. We would never have figured it out on our own.
Harald: That’s for sure. And Satan himself – and that’s also very interesting to me – that Satan himself can never destroy for a person who wants to humble himself. Because he doesn’t know that way.
Julia: He doesn’t understand that.
Harald: He doesn’t understand that. And the rulers of this world, they don’t understand that either, you know. Because Jesus says, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave – just as the Son of Man –” just as Himself “– did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28). It was so totally opposite of what everyone had been used to. And we are called to follow Him. And all these new possibilities started on Christmas Day. Fantastic possibilities. So, I can imagine that Jesus and God had a conversation in heaven and kind of said, “Now the time has come. Let’s do it. Let’s put this plan into practice now. The time has come.”
Julia: Yeah, I can imagine Jesus up there watching the suffering throughout the years, and kind of just chomping at the bit, wanting to go down and do something. But They waited until the right time. They knew what the right time would be. And then God said, “Go ahead. Go take care of it.”
Harald: Yeah, He came here to pave a way for us. And He has called us to follow Him. And to change all what happened in the past, with its exaltation of the devil, destroying the whole plan, we can say, for the universe and for mankind. And Jesus, when He came, He had all His delight was in God. To be faithful to Him. To be obedient to Him, to listen to Him. To say things and do things according to the promptings that came from God. And Jesus was very conscious about that. And we know that He made use of that opportunity to open a totally new way for us. And to make that plan come into reality and be a possibility for us, He had one very simple, we can say, a declaration, what it means to follow Him. And then He said, “If anyone wants to follow Me …” I mean, it was an offer, a tremendous offer. But very few make use of that. But then He said, you know, “… let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23.) So that’s totally possible for all of us. And my longing personally and my longing for my every person on the surface of this earth, is to take that opportunity and follow Him. And what a place you come to. Not only in heaven, but here on earth, that it can be a stop to all evil, that can stop with me and you.
Julia: It’s incredible.
Kathy: And just that it’s not a restriction to live this life. That, oh then I can’t do this and I can’t do that, but Jesus showed us this way because He knew it was the way that leads to life, right? And this way where we’re not bound by sin. But like, by nature we think that if we give into those things inside of us, those lusts and those desires that kind of come up in us, by nature we think that if we give in to that then we’re going to be satisfied and we’re going to be happy, right. And that’s one of Satan’s greatest tricks, is making us believe that. But Jesus came and He opened this way, the way of the cross, you could say, where you take up your cross and deny those things in yourself, because He knew that that is actually what leads to life and freedom.
Harald: Yeah, absolutely. If it was like that that people became happy by doing their own will, then the surface of the earth would be filled with happy people. But obviously it’s not.
Julia: So then something else needs to come in. And I thought too about … Actually, that verse came to me, I’m not sure where it’s written, but that we worship in spirit and in truth. That Jesus came, and like we say He opened a way, but it’s something so very personal. It’s not this grand idea of opening a way and saving mankind on a large scale. It’s something for each one of us individually, that I can become like Jesus. It’s a very individual salvation from my sin. And then I just thought too, that to worship Jesus, and when we think about Christmas and how we think about Jesus and how we’re extra thankful for Him and all of this, but that I worship Him in Spirit and in truth, and what that means is for me to answer that calling. That open invitation, like you said Harald, that, “Whoever wants to follow Me!” It was wide open! “Take up your cross and follow Me.” And to do that. And then that is also for Him a tremendous reward for the suffering that He came down and took upon Him. That He wanted brothers. And that I can do that. I can be that for Him!
Harald: Yeah. It’s written in John 4, what you mentioned there, Julia. And then it is this woman by the well, the fountain, right. And Jesus offered her living water. And then He said, “If you drink of the water that I will give you, you shall never thirst. And the water shall give you and become in you a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life!”(John 4:14.) It will be in us! So, think to go around and be a messenger, a person who has that living water in themselves. And Jesus says, then you will never thirst again! And that is to serve Him in spirit and in truth. He goes on to explain that. It’s not about this mountain or that mountain. Let those who serve Him, serve Him in spirit and in truth. It’s such worshippers that God wants. And we can be along in that, in fulfilling the desire that was deep in Jesus’ heart, to set us completely free from sin. And what a tremendous liberty. If Jesus had not come, we would still be in our sins. But now it’s possible to come free from every single sin you can think about. If you just mention a few, you know. Envy, for example. What a pain and what a stressful life, a miserable life to live, and you go around and envy other people.
Kathy: It really is.
Harald: We can be free from that! And anxiety. We live in a very special year now, in 2020, with corona situation and so on. We can be without anxiety in the midst of all this. We can be set free from sin!
Kathy: It is incredible.
Julia: And that it really is freedom, it is the opposite of bondage. Like you said earlier, Kathy, that it’s all these things that we have to come free from are only things that limit us and put us in bondage and make us unhappy. There’s nothing that Jesus is trying to set me free from that I would look back on and think, oof, I wish that I was able to hang on to that. Not a single thing!
Kathy: And that we get to know this secret, this way out of that misery, is unbelievable. And that, like you said, Jesus said, “If anyone wants to follow Me …” So it is open, the way is open for those who want it, right?
Harald: But I have to receive that calling. And it’s so fitting to receive it with all of our hearts, full of freedom, you know. In the depth of our heart, receive that invitation. It’s a fantastic invitation. And I do hope that Christmas time, for each one of us, can give us some quiet times to reflect on this. To meditate upon these things. Because our calling as Christians, as disciples of Him, as an apprentice of Him, we should learn to live the same life as He lived. And that’s fully possible. That’s fantastic!
Kathy: But to think about that on a personal level. That love that He had for me, personally, to save me from all of that. Does that love inspire in me a love that causes me to follow Him and to take up my cross, like we said, and to become that brother for Him that we talked about too? Not that it ends there, with. “Thank you Jesus for what you’ve done.” And of course, we should be thankful for what He’s done for us. But that that leads us on to something more, right?
Harald: Yeah, absolutely. And you know, we have all received grace to receive forgiveness for our sins. But I think it’s deep in every disciple’s heart, that I should also make use of the grace of God to come to a growth. To transformation. To be transformed into His likeness, as Paul puts it. You know, that should be deep in our hearts. And just to be satisfied with forgiveness of sins, I mean, in itself it’s tremendous that we can receive forgiveness of sins and be justified and so on, but Jesus came to give us a totally new life. That’s very obvious. And let’s make use of that opportunity. That’s deep in my heart for myself and for all of us. Let’s really make use of that opportunity. Because that is what satisfies Jesus’ heart, really. We become His brethren.
Kathy: So I think this is a very hopeful message for Christmas time. That Jesus came so that we could have this life and we could have this freedom and this hope for the future, for ourselves.
Harald: Yeah, I totally agree. I wish everyone really a merry Christmas. And we know all these exhortations, you know, not to think about all the outward things. But you know, I think it’s very well-pleasing to God that we really believe in Him. I mean, that is the sin of mankind, they don’t believe in Him. So He was very simple in His invitation. Believe in Me! And to believe in Him is to believe that He is able to totally transform us. And we should take that invitation, really embrace it in our daily life. And then we need to pray to Him, not in a way that we are forced to do it, but it become natural to seek advice with Him. I mean, He is called Counsellor, and He is at our right-hand side. We can talk with Him, we can have fellowship with Him, and He wants to dine with us, it says. He wants to communicate with us.
Julia: He didn’t open a way and then leave us on it, He opened a way and then He stays there with us as we walk on it.
Harald: Yeah, He takes us by our right hand, it’s written in Psalms.
Kathy: What a life we’re called to live! It’s unbelievable, the grace that’s over us, really.
Julia: For me that was hopeful to hear, all of what we talked about. And there’s lots to work with. Which is good. The life of a Christian is an active life, right, so this is all very good news.
Harald: Yeah, it is.
Kathy: So thank you Harald, this has been so incredibly encouraging. And I hope for all of our listeners too, that this gets you really thinking about Christmas and what it really means for you on a personal level.
Julia: Thanks for listening and following along with us throughout the whole year. And we wish everyone a very blessed Christmas.
Kathy: Yeah. So merry Christmas everyone. Merry Christmas Harald.
Harald: Same to you, dear friends.
Kathy: So next week is New Year’s. And it’s going to be Milenko and I talking about this past year and how we can go forward into the new year with hope for our lives. So …
Julia: Don’t miss it!
Kathy: I hope you join us for that as well. And again, wishing you all a very merry Christmas.
Julia: Alright. Bye everyone.
Harald: Bye bye!