What Was Jesus' Mission on Earth?
Did Jesus really come to earth to help the poor and show kindness to all, as many are claiming? The answer to this question is not as clear cut as some may think. Yes, Jesus expected people to take care of the poor and needy. But this has always been part of God’s commands. (Ex. 22:22-28, Lev. 19:9-16)
When Jesus began his ministry, he focused heavily on how we should treat each other and how to approach the Father. He spoke on “the old Law said this; but I say this”. (Matthew 5)
When we get to the gospel of John, Jesus tells us some things bout Himself which do not apply so much to our treatment of others as to why He came to earth. He tells us He is: the bread of life – John 6:35; the light of the world – 8:12; gate for the sheep – 10:7; good shepherd – 10:11,14; resurrection and life – 11:25; the way, the truth, the life – 14:6; true vine – 15:1,5; and a King – 18:37. All of these things are telling us that He is the only way we can get to heaven, back to the Father. Jesus’ ministry was focused more on our salvation than our physical needs.
He was sent by the Father to become sin for us so we may have forgiveness and be reconciled to God. (Rom. 3:5, Heb. 2:17, 1 John 2:2; 4:10) No place in scripture tells us that Jesus came to earth for the sole, or even main, purpose of ministering to the poor. All scripture points to the kingdom of God not being physical, but spiritual.
Are we supposed to care for the needy? Certainly! The gospel is based on love and caring for each other. (Romans 12:9-21, Philippians 2:3-4, Galatians 5:22-23, Acts 4:32-5:11, 6:1-7, James 1:27, Proverbs 31:20, 1 Corinthians 10:24)
There is a balance between helping others and fulfilling their physical needs and helping others by fulfilling their spiritual needs. However, many have gotten the two switched in their importance, putting more emphasis on physical (which is temporary) rather than spiritual (which is eternal). “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!” - Matthew 4:23-25