The Roman playwright Horace, who lived and wrote in the days of Julius Caesar, criticized the other poets and playwrights of his day because every time they presented a problem, in the plot line of their stories, they utilized one of the many Roman gods to resolve it. In regards to their propensity to interject such gods, Horace said, ”Do not bring a god onto the stage unless the problem is one that deserves a god to solve it.”
Horace’s observation provides an interesting perspective for understanding the second reason Jesus came to this earth, which was to be our problem solver. This is important because we have a tendency to believe that we are capable of resolving all of our own problems. We often possess a “pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps” mentality. But there are times when we face problems that we are incapable of resolving, and in those moments, we need someone to help us, maybe we even need someone to rescue us. That is the basis for the second reason Jesus came to this earth. He came to solve our biggest problem.
In this series of articles, we are unpacking the Messianic prophecy of Isaiah 9:6, which says
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
This passage, not only identifies Jesus as a “Wonderful Counselor,” but also as a “Mighty God.” God’s might is referenced throughout the Old Testament, and it is frequently associated with His saving efforts. For example, David said in Psalm 62:7, “On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God,” and the prophet Zephaniah said in Zephaniah 3:17, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save” (emphasis added). Such passages reflect the reason we need a “Mighty God”—to save us.
Why do we need to be saved? Because all of us have sinned. Paul stated this reality quite plainly in Romans 3:23 when he wrote, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We sin in one of two ways. First, we sin when we do what God has instructed us not to do. This method of sinning is referenced in 1 John 5:17 (ESV) where John said that “All wrongdoing is sin.” In other words, John defines sin as doing what is wrong, or, to say it another way, doing what you are not supposed to do. Second, we sin when we fail to do what God has instructed us to do. This method of sinning is described in James 4:17 where we are told that “whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” So, all of us are guilty of sin because we disobeyed God in some capacity.
The fact that all of us have sinned means two things. First, it means that we cannot earn our salvation. Ephesians 2:9 says that salvation is “not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” In other words, the only way that I could earn my salvation is if I perfectly obeyed every one of God’s commands, but Scripture affirms the impossibility of such obedience. Therefore, because I have sinned, I cannot earn my salvation. Second, the fact that all of us have sinned means that we are destined to die. Sin possesses an unfortunate but necessary byproduct. Paul said in Romans 6:23 that “the wages of sin is death.” The Greek term translated “wages” refers to the compensation one receives for service rendered. Therefore, this passage indicates that we are compensated for sin with death. Now, this is not specifically referring to physical death. Instead, it is referring to spiritual death, which is also known as the “second death” (Revelation 20:14; 21:8) and refers to eternal punishment in hell.
If because of our sin we cannot earn our salvation and if because of our sin we are condemned to die, then how can we be saved? This is where our “Mighty God” comes into play because Jesus came to this earth to solve our salvation dilemma. Consider what the angel said to Joseph after he learned that his fiancé, Mary, was pregnant. In Matthew 1:20-21 the angel said, “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Before Jesus entered this world, His purpose for coming was identified. Jesus came to Earth for the expressed purpose of saving humanity from sin. As Paul so succinctly said in 1 Timothy 1:15, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”
How did Jesus “save his people from their sins?” According to 1 Peter 2:24, Jesus saved us because “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree,” a reference to His crucifixion. In other words, our “Mighty God” substituted Himself in our place. He solved the problem we could not solve by doing what we could not do. We could not avoid sinning, and, consequently, we could not avoid a death sentence. So, God “made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:20). In other words, since we were incapable of living righteously (i.e. sinlessly), Jesus did it for us, and, since we were destined to die as punishment for our sins, Jesus endured it for us.
Jesus was brought onto the stage of this earth because humanity encountered a problem that only God could solve. Indeed, Jesus fulfilled the words of Zephaniah 3:17, which says, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save” (emphasis added). Jesus was in our midst when He “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14), and Jesus saved us when He “laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16).