Jesus came to this earth to seek and save those who were lost. It was necessary for him to suffer, die, be buried, and raised from the dead. These are all clearly attested to in the Gospel accounts. He had to do this to show fully the rule and reign of God in his life, his complete faith in his Heavenly Father. He also had to do this because of his full and complete love for us.
Jesus begins his public ministry – immediately after his baptism and temptation in the wilderness – with this call:
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” – Mark 1:14-15 [ESV]
John’s arrest and imprisonment does not negate the rule and reign of God. This is key to enduring disappointment, the apparent triumph of evil over good, and every set-back against the good and gracious will of God. Jesus saw John’s imprisonment as part of a grander story of God’s redemption, his reward for righteousness, and the victory of faith (cf. 1 John 5:4). Jesus knew that God would ultimately triumph over every evil – even that which was being visited upon his friend and fore-runner, John the Baptist.
Jesus’ announcement of God’s rule and reign at this particular moment is also testimony to Jesus’ embodiment of that rule and reign in Jesus’ own life. He was perfectly obedient to God the Father. He was completely submissive to God’s will in all things. He never wavered – even when he called out on the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (cf. Psalm 22 and Matthew 27).
In those times of anxiety, worry, and uncertainty, the rule and reign of God is especially comforting. When I hold to the belief that God rules over all, and that his rule is gracious and good, I am most fully at peace. This is not a matter of saying uncle as though God has my arm up behind my back. It is a matter of recognizing that God’s goodness, love, and kindness will ultimately prevail. Satan will not have his way. The thief will not steal our joy, kill our souls and destroy our hopes.
That’s why Jesus came: to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge. – Psalm 57:1
I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven on account of his name. – 1 John 2:12