There are many examples in Matthew, Mark, Luke and, John that tells us who Jesus really was and what his mission was all about. There were many things Jesus wanted to do while he was on earth. He encountered many hardships and was tempted by the devil. Jesus had many thoughts and knowledge about the Hebrew scripture and had a mission to complete.
While giving the Sermon on the Mount Jesus had told some of his mission to the disciples. Jesus said to them, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or he prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17). While he gave this sermon he actually raised the expectations of everyone to a spiritual level and made the law harder to follow. During the Sermon on the Mount Jesus directed the people in how they should think about the law and Jesus’ relationship to it. Jesus also made it clear that “He is in no way denying the Mosaic Law, though he is opposed to the legalistic type of religion that the scribes had built upon it.” (Morris 107)
Jesus had many things to teach and fulfill. Just a few of the things Jesus talked about were adultery, murder, and divorce. These are just a few of the things Jesus taught and explained. When he talked about adultery he said, “You have heard it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery. [found in Exodus 20:14]’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28). What this means is if someone looks at someone with sexual thoughts in their mind they have committed adultery. Another think he talked about was murder. When he talked about murder he said, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago. ‘Do not murder, [found in Exodus 20:13] and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But Jesus told them anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment” (Matthew 5:21-22). What this means is if someone murders they will be judged by God and even if someone doesn’t murder but they have thoughts about killing someone they have already murdered. Jesus also talked about divorce. When Jesus mentions divorce he says ‘It has been said, anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce [found in Deuteronomy 24:1].’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife except for marital unfaithfulness, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery (Matthew 5:31-32). What this means is that anyone who marries a divorced that was unfaithful to her previous husband commits adultery also.
Jesus had also told the parable of the wicked Tenants. The parable is mainly about a line of rejected prophets, cumulating in the rejected Son. This parable tells the story of Israel, culminating in judgment, but it also includes the story of Jesus’ life. The tenants who rejected the son will be judged as Jesus has announced, just like the city and Temple which have rejected Jesus’ message will also be judged (Wright 78).
Through Jesus’ actions we could tell he had a difficult mission to complete. Jesus’ mission was to come to fulfill the law. He fulfilled the law in three ways. One way he fulfilled the law was by doing what was written in scripture. A second way he fulfilled the law was by making the laws more understandable by bringing out the full meaning and while doing that he had raised the expectations of the people to a higher level. Finally, the third way he would fulfill the law was by teaching the scripture and completes the scripture (Morris 108).
Another part of Jesus’ mission was not to rebuild the temple physically, but to become the place and the means through which the Temple stood would become a reality (Wright 90). What this means is that he was not going to rebuild the temple physically, but he would build it spiritually. Jesus had regularly, throughout his ministry acted in a way as to bypass the Temple and its system, offering forgiveness to all and varied on his own authority (Wright 90).
To show some of Jesus’ forgiveness there was a woman caught in the act of committing adultery and she was brought in front of the entire group that Jesus was teaching. Everyone picked up stones to stone the woman because in the Law of Moses they were supposed to stone such women. The men were doing this to try to trick Jesus; however Jesus told everyone “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” After this was said everyone started to leave until Jesus was the only one left. Jesus asked her “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” The woman said no one. Then Jesus told her “Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:1-11).
Jesus had also performed many miracles. There was a sick woman who had been bleeding for twelve years had run up and touched Jesus’ cloak and she was instantly healed. Jesus had realized that someone had touched him because he said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out of me.” The woman who touched him had fallen down at his feet and told him she had touched him and how she was instantly healed. Jesus told her “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace” (Luke 8:43-48).
He went back to Jerusalem not to preach, but to die (Wright 91).
Jesus was lead out into the desert by the Holy Spirit and was tempted by the devil. The final time the devil tempted Jesus is real important because it tells us who Jesus is. The devil leads Jesus to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point on the temple. The devil says, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here. For it is written [in Psalm 91:11-12]: ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'”(Luke 4:9-11). The devil quotes the Old Testament scripture and Jesus responds right back by saying, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test” (From Deuteronomy 6:16).
While Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples “Who do people say I am?” Some think Jesus is John the Baptist; others Elijah; and others think he is one of the prophets. However, Peter said Jesus is the Christ or Messiah (Mark 8:27-29). Many people misunderstood what The Messiah was supposed to do. Many people expected him to be a political leader and fight Israel’s battle against the Romans. Many people also thought that the messiah was supposed to rebuild or cleanse the Temple (Wright 90).
Jesus had performed many miracles and had saved many lives. While he taught everyone and had fulfilled many of the laws there were still many people who didn’t fully understand who he was and what he was doing for everyone. He had shown his love for all of us by trying to teach us and make the laws more clear for us to follow.
Men’s Devotional Bible, New International Version. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House.
Morris, Leon, The Gospel according to Matthew. Grand Rapids, Michigan/ Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
Wright, N. T., The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press.