“God so loved the world that He gave His son.”
That’s what the Good Book says.
Theologians, churches and interested parties have their own focus about why this gift came from God. Of course, we have a hint–if you believe, you don’t have to perish.
But what do we mean by “perish?”
Many thousands of churches of the faith who are of a Judeo-Christian swing, contend with great certainty, that Jesus came to be a Messiah. In doing so, he was fulfilling the Old Testament. They rejoice that they can use Jesus as a conduit between the Old and New Testaments, therefore joining in covenant with the Jewish faith, often to the detriment of the Muslims.
Unfortunately, Jesus does not fulfill the role as a champion of the Hebrews very well. He was critical of their approach to God and ended up declaring their rendition of theology as “desolate.”
The second group, which often refers to itself as “Pauline,” placing great value on the Epistles of Paul, believe that Jesus is a Savior. In other words, he came to fulfill the New Testament covenant through his blood. But the actions, motivations, mission, verbiage and deeds of Jesus often contradict the assumption that he was merely to be a human sacrifice for sin.
Offering a Messiah and a Savior to a human populace which is battling insanity is just not sufficient.
It is Jesus who best explains his mission.
He made the essence of his Earth journey clear in the Good Book in John 10:15-16. Jesus proclaims that “he knows the Father and the Father knows him,” and that he’s willing to “lay down his life for the sheep.” But then he goes on to say, “I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them in as well, and they will listen to my voice. Then there will be one flock and one shepherd.”
Jesus is the Shepherd.
Being a shepherd, he laid down his life for the sheep.
He also made it clear that those who would be part of the fold were not just Jews, but that the end result is one fold and one shepherd–all over the world.
In a day and age when we extol the differences among us by celebrating culture, the Shepherd is looking for the commonality that will make us one fold, dispelling any notion that Jesus welcomes a little of Mohammed, a twinge of Buddha and a fortune cookie of Confucius.
Even though many believe he came to fulfill the Old Testament or the New Testament, he actually came to fulfill humanity.
He offers simple truths with simple applications to simple people who are living simple lives.
So if you go to a church that insists that “Jesus is the Messiah,” they will probably load you down with Old Testament traditions and outdated spiritual practices.
And if you attend a congregation that promotes “Jesus is only the Savior,” be prepared to endure sermon after sermon on the sacrifice of the Christ, and how we must repent and be baptized, so we all can go to heaven.
Jesus’ main mission is to be the Shepherd.
Matter of fact, he joyfully called himself “the Good Shepherd.” And the night he spoke these words to the disciples, he envisioned a message that would include sheep from the Native Americans, the Chinese, the Mongolian horde, the Anglo-Saxons and the Afrikaans, to name just a few.
He saw one fold–not many cultures.
And one Shepherd–not many interpretations.