What was humankind’s original purpose? Why are we here, anyway? In another lesson, we looked at God’s purpose for your individual life but it is difficult, if not impossible, to fully comprehend our individual purpose apart from God’s overall purpose for humankind. Therefore, this lesson focuses our attention on God’s original intention for humankind and how Christ provides for us the supreme fulfillment of that purpose.
Everything that has ever been invented has always had a larger purpose behind it. Take military inventions for example. Some, like camouflage, are incredible, while others are a colossal FAIL! One of the biggest military invention fails was the Russian Tsar Tank.
Designed and built by the Russians in the early part of the 20th Century, its 27’ high front wheels were designed to overcome significant obstacles. The turret in the center reached a height of 24′. The hull alone measured more than 36′ across. It was a mammoth tricycle!
You don’t have to be an engineering genius to see that the dinky 5′ wheel in the back carries much of the weight of the monstrosity. Consequently, it became stuck easily on small obstacles like soft ground or little ditches. Worse yet was the fact that the two 250 horsepower engines driving the front wheels could not get the tank unstuck because there wasn’t enough weight to provide decent traction. Pity the fool who approved construction of this beast; it was a major waste of time and money. (To see more failed military inventions go here)
Now consider the human body. You may never have thought of the human body as an invention, but in reality, it was the greatest of God’s creations. Six times in Genesis 1, God evaluates his work and calls it “good.” Only after he created man and woman, each with a human body and made in God’s own image, did God call all that he created”very good.” Humankind is the pinnacle of God’s creative work.
This is no exaggeration! Listen to these awesome facts about the human heart:
The human heart beats 100,000 times per day and 35 million times per year. In a 70-year lifetime, it will beat 2.5 billion times.
It pumps 5 quarts of blood per minute, 2,000 gallons per day, and 1 million barrels in a lifetime. That’s enough to fill three super tankers!
The human body has 60,000 miles of blood vessels. That’s enough to circle the world twice!
The human heart beats fast enough to fully circulate the entire vascular system in only 20 seconds.
It does all this and it only weights 8-10 ounces!
That’s just the heart! Let’s not forget about the complexity of our nervous system, the brain, and the eyes. The human body is truly an amazing invention!
But merely understanding how the body works through medical science does not explain why God invented it in the first place. For what purpose did God create humankind, in all the complexity of the human body? Why are we here? What is our purpose?
The answers to these questions are found in the central person of the entire Bible. He is the anticipated one of the Old Testament. He is talked about, admired, and loved in the New Testament. He is the main character of the Gospels. And he is the reigning King of Revelation. His name is Jesus Christ.
In Christ we discover what humankind was supposed to be and do from the beginning. Where the Adam failed, Christ succeeded in every way. Consequently, Christ shows us, through his life, our original purpose. What was Jesus’ purpose during his earthly ministry? And how can we apply that to our lives?
The passage below is taken from Matthew 22. This chapter is an epic showdown between Jesus and his biggest challengers, the Pharisees and Sadducees. They come to him with carefully crafted questions in order to trip Jesus up in his words and shame him publicly. The final question asked of Jesus concerns the greatest commandment. In Jesus’ day, this was a question of great intrigue. For it was believed that if anyone could fully obey that one commandment, then they would be perfect in fulfilling the whole law. But with more than 613 commandments, debate raged as to which one was the greatest. What better question to pose to Jesus? Read on to see how Jesus responds.
Scripture: Matthew 22:34–40
- What are the two greatest commandments that Jesus identified? Is the order of those commandments listed important? In other words, can you fill the second without fulfilling the first? Why or why not?
- From what you know of Jesus’ life and ministry, did he live up to the standard he set for all humankind? How do you know?
- From the Matthew 22 passage above, what was Jesus’ purpose during his earthly ministry?
- From the verses in the Genesis 1 passage above, whose image were Adam and Eve created in and whose image were they to uphold in all Creation? Did they succeed in upholding that image? How do you know?
- From the passages in Romans and Hebrews above, how did Christ succeed where Adam did not?
- Who are you more like? The Adam of Genesis 1 & 2 or the Adam of Genesis 3? What is significant about your answer?
- What can you learn about your purpose in life by discovering Christ’s purpose? Is it possible for you to love God as Jesus describes by sheer human effort? If not, then how is it possible to fulfill this command?
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Dear God, thank you for sending Jesus Christ into the world and for the clarity of purpose for which he lived his life. He loved you and others so well — better than anyone else who ever lived. In doing so, he reflected your image throughout the world and exhibited your greatness in the process. May you enable me to represent you well! In Jesus’ name, Amen!