If you are seeking a relationship with your Creator for the first time or more of an intimate relationship, it may matter what you believe Jesus’ real motive was for coming to earth to live and die? When we feel a meaningful bond with our parents, fully understanding the depth of their love, we are more motivated to follow their guidance which often is in our best interest. Closer relationships, either personal or spiritual, are what inspire us to be the kind of persons we deep down truly want to be. God’s love is the same as perfect, human love. Knowing who God really is can be our necessary nourishment which can lead to life transformations and help facing the challenges of a not so friendly world.
Some may believe Jesus came to tell you to drop to your knees and say the sinner’s prayer or you can go straight to Hell. Like God is going to sadistically torture people forever for their beliefs while here on earth a short time! Who doesn’t know unending suffering is pointless as it doesn’t produce any good. The traditional understanding of Hell is nowhere to be found in the Bible. Hell, a substitution not translation for certain Hebrew and Greek words, is an invention over the centuries to scare people into submission and obedience. God’s love is center stage in the Bible. God’s angry in the Bible is simply another aspect of His love – tough love – in hopes to deter people from evil that leads to personal and worldly destruction.
Some may think Jesus died because God had to be appeased and His honor restored. Traditional, legal views of the Cross suggest God was more concerned with our guilt and His reputation than seeking credibility and influence for our own good. The Cross was not necessary as if God couldn’t love us until someone’s death accounted for our sins. God was not like other gods who demanded human sacrifice for their own pleasure or because they were mad at sins. God simply desires a contrite heart for only then is healing possible in relationships. The Cross was not meant to change God’s attitude but our attitude toward God. Jesus walked in our shoes, even facing undeserved suffering, to convince us of God’s unimaginable love and ways which are truly what we desire deep down in our hearts. For those whose failures afflict their consciences, Jesus wants us to know we are forgiven and we can start each day anew with God.
Believe it or not Jesus whole reason for coming was to simply encourage and inspire all to treat others like you want to be treated. Jesus came to let us know we are loved by our Creator and desires to help us be the kind of persons we all want to be deep down. Jesus said this was the most important commandment or the main thing (Mt. 24:37-38). When Jesus was asked how one obtains eternal life, Jesus said simply to love God and love others as yourself (Lk.10:25-27). John 3:15 refers to eternal life as being in Christ, thus referring to a quality than future destiny. Jesus did not focus on Heaven, perfection, or the destiny of those who reject the pursuit of an unselfish life. Jesus taught life forever can begin here on earth. Jesus came to earth to convey knowing who God really is empowers one to shun evil and do good.
God wasn’t being egotistically when suggesting life in a nutshell is loving God and loving others. We may think of God’s demand for glory as if God created us to remind others how great God is or we can go to Hell. God only ask for respect because loving God is loving ourselves and others like we want to be loved. I asked for the same respect with my kids and I am not even perfect like God. God seeks respect because if all lived by the Ten Commandments and treated everyone like they want to be treated, the world would be so much better off. You weren’t created to worship God so shut up and give God the glory. God wanted to share His glory with others. Most parents have children to share life with.
Jesus confirmed with His words and actions what we know in our hearts. When we hurt someone confess our wrongdoing to them and make amends. Jesus also came to encourage radical things like love your enemies. Anyone can love those who love them. But, the world is only going to change for the better when we also love our enemies in hopes of turning them toward our empowering God. Jesus had to throw a few tables to convey to the religious hypocrites that true religion is self-sacrifice not self-service. The Pharisees and religious-types after them are more in love with their power than truly loving others. Jesus taught that being last is really being first. The Law can only condemn and reveal shortcoming; Jesus wants us to know matters of the heart – that adultery and lust are wrong – but that there is life after failures as God loves us despite our imperfections. Jesus came to change hearts.
Can we admit the human condition is we all are to some degree bent toward self-centeredness? Parents know a child must be steered toward the narrow gate of unselfishness and away from the wide gate of destruction for true freedom. Jesus sought to empower us by ensuring we don’t have to remain stuck in our guilt or hopelessness. God forgives, loves, and desires to encourage us in the daily challenge of being the kind of person we deep down desire to be. Jesus didn’t come to save us from Hell or even to preach about Heaven as a total focus on the future leads to unproductive, passive living on earth. Jesus came as a lover not a theologian. A relationship with God, rather than an emphasis on rules and obedience, is our necessary nourishment to conquer our battle against self-centeredness.