“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
There are a great many stories and legends about noble kings and commanders. Stories of men who displayed courage, heroism, and sacrifice as they laid down their lives alongside their troops. Prince Jonathan felt the cool merciless Philistine blade. King Leonidas is dead. Prince Hector’s body was dragged behind the chariot of Achilles.
Jesus beats them all. The heroism, courage, tragedy, and awe found in those stories point to the God who would come and die in order to redeem. As G.K. Chesterton summed it up in The Everlasting Man, “No mysterious monarch, hidden in his starry pavilion at the base of the cosmic campaign, is in the least like that celestial chivalry of the Captain who carries his five wounds in the front of battle.”
Jesus said, “I came.” Whoa. Let that hit you.
If the significance of those two words is not hitting you, then take it apart. Let it divide asunder your joints and marrow word by word.
“I” - that is Jesus. The Christ. The Savior of the world. That “I” represents the greatest of men. That “I” represents the second person of the triune Godhead.
He is fully God (Colossians 2:9).
He is one with, yet distinct from, the other persons of the Godhead (Psalm 2:7; John 10:30; 14:7; 17:11, 22).
He was not made, rather, by Him all things were made (John 1:3).
“came” – He left the glories of heaven to come to a world containing the people who had rejected His offer of life, peace, harmony, and dominion over the created order. He came with a purpose. He came to bring redemption to His creation.
As St. Athanasius noted in his De Incarnatione, “It was our sorry case that caused the Word to come down, our transgressions that called out His love for us, so that He made haste to help us and to appear among us.”
“And the Word became flesh.” (John 1:14)
“We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and
also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth.” (John 1:45)
“Though he was in the form of God, [he] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:6-7)