“I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.” (John 16:28)
Scripture Reading – John 1:1-18
In this single sentence, Jesus summed up His Father’s plan of salvation. From heaven to earth and from earth to heaven, Jesus came to pay our debt of sin. And then He left earth and returned to heaven to show that the Father accepted that payment. This mission was the focus of Jesus’ work. He knew what He was to do and He focused on that task. Jesus didn’t get entangled with the things of the world; He was single minded in His mission.
Jesus said that He came from the Father. This points to Jesus’ eternal nature. The Apostle John writes, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Jesus is the Word through which all things were created, and His origin is from heaven. This is important because only an infinitely holy God could pay the massive debt of sin for all believers. It’s only heaven that has the capacity to solve this sin problem. Nothing on earth could ever do it, so the Father acted by sending the Son.
Jesus said that He had come into the world. He was not created. In the Incarnation, the eternal Word took on human form. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). The Son entered time and space hidden behind a veil of humanity. His incarnation was necessary in order that He might fulfill the Law of God. In all of history, only the Son of God was able to fulfill the entire Law. This qualified Jesus to be a sacrifice for our sins, since He didn’t die for His own sins. Only Jesus lived a sinless life.
Jesus told his disciples of His coming departure in the last days of His ministry. He told them that He would leave this world through death on a cross. The sinless, perfect Jesus died as a sacrifice for us. He willingly went to the Cross to make a way for our salvation. His sacrifice meant that all of our debt was laid on Jesus as He voluntarily submitted to the Father’s will. From the cross, He proclaimed: “It is finished.” The work of Christ was completed. When Jesus died, the sacrifice was made and the way of salvation was open to all those who would believe.
Finally it came time for Jesus to go back to the Father. As we’ve seen, Jesus came from the Father and then returned to the Father. This points to the Resurrection and the Ascension of Jesus. When Jesus died, our problem of sin was dealt with once and for all, but we would never know that the Father accepted this payment had Jesus not rose from the dead. By taking on all the punishment for our sin, He bore the brunt of the Father’s wrath, but death could not defeat Him. And, because He was perfectly holy, Jesus was not consumed by the Father’s wrath. The Resurrection was a sign to the world that He was victorious. Now, we can have complete confidence in the fact that the Father accepted Jesus’ payment, so our sins have been forgiven. Without the Resurrection we could have never proven that reality this side of heaven.
Salvation doesn’t depend on us. It was God who made the way! He has solved the problem of death and our separation from Him. That work is complete. There is now no need for another incarnation or crucifixion—once and for all, the way of salvation has been secured. If we receive Jesus, we are no longer sinners, but are children of God. The gospel is the only hope for the world; there is no other way. Now that the work of salvation is complete, we can focus on the greater work of proclaiming that salvation to the ends of the earth. Who will you proclaim the gospel to today?