If we look at the life of Jesus of Nazareth – who instituted a far greater kingdom: the Kingdom of God – do we find any parallel saying or expression that typifies the life and achievements of the Messiah in his human life? The answer is perhaps clearer than you may have realized.
Time and again during his ministry Jesus told his disciples and those who heard him “I have come to ….” And then he added a specific task that he would accomplish. Notice an example from each of the Gospels where Jesus said he had come to do certain things: “I have come …
… to fulfil the law” (Matthew 5:17)
... so I can preach” (Mark 1:38)
… to call sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32)
… to bear witness to the truth” (John 18:37).
When we look at these and other “I have come to …” statements of Christ, we see something regarding the range of tasks he would accomplish. All of these things involved action and are a far cry from the passive person Jesus is often believed to have been. This active involvement is particularly clear in the metaphorical reasons he stated for his coming: “I have come …
… to send a sword, and to set men at variance” (Matthew 10:34-35)
… to send fire on the earth” (Luke 12:49).
Whenever Jesus spoke literally of his purposes and what he would achieve, we find the same active approach. But Christ’s accomplishments were not simply actions that would elevate himself – they were, of course, for the good of others: “I have come …
... to save men’s lives” (Luke 9:56)
…that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
Ultimately, these purposes and accomplishments can be seen in Jesus’ statement: “I have come down from heaven to do the will of Him that sent Me” (John 6:38-39). That will can be summarized in only two words: “I have come …
… to serve” (Matthew 20:28)
Caesar’s self-elevating “I came, I saw, I conquered” pales into insignificance compared to the future coming of Christ the King (Revelation 11:15). But even at the time of his first coming, under the shadow of self-glorying emperors, the Son of God showed that true glory is not to be found in self-elevation and self-service, but in the elevation of God’s purposes and the service of others. Caesar’s so-called immortal summary “I came, I saw, I conquered” is surpassed in the eternal significance of what would be a fitting summary for the life of Christ: “I came, I saw, I served.”