The Son’s Motive in Coming to Save

We have learned that the Father’s motive in saving as one unit are for the glory of His Name and for the love of His people. In this lesson, we will see what moved the Son to willingly obey the Father to give His life as a ransom for many.

  1. For His Father’s glory: Christ died for God
  2. For His great love toward His people: Christ died for us.
  3. For the Joy set before Him: Christ died for His own joy

For His Father’s glory: Christ died for God

Jesus came to earth to do the will of God the Father. This truth is plainly taught in the Scriptures. In the following passages, we will see that His greatest passion and priority is to do obey the will of the Father. We can rightly say that Christ died for God.

In arguing for the one sufficient sacrifice of Christ over the Old Testament sacrifices which can never take away sins, the writer to the Hebrews quoted Psalm 40:7-8. The Father’s will is His greatest priority and He came to do it.

Hebrews 10:7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come (It is written of Me in the scroll of the book) To do Your will, O God.’”

According to Adam Clarke,

"This whole book speaks about Christ, and his accomplishing the will of God, not only in “the seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent,” and “in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;” but in all the sacrifices and sacrificial rites mentioned in the law."  

Jesus obeyed the Father’s will willingly. He is not under compulsion when He came to earth, as if He has a different desire. He and His Father have perfect unity in accomplishing the work of Redemption.

John 4:34  Jesus *said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work.

Doing the Father’s will is Christ’s food. Food is a primary need and something that a man cannot live without. For Jesus, doing the Father’s will is that which satisfies Him. His incarnation would have been without purpose if He didn’t do obey the Father.

John 17:4 I glorified You on the earth by accomplishing the work which You have given Me to do. 

Jesus said in the High Priestly Prayer that He glorified that Father in His humiliation by completing and fulfilling the task that the Father appointed Him to do. The Father’s glorification is found in the completion of the Messianic work of Christ. The Father’s glory is Christ’s Passion and nothing else.

John 14:31 but so that the world may know that I love the Father, do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let’s go from here

Christ’s earnest desire is to show His love for the Father. NASB is emphatic in stating that He did “exactly” as the Father has commanded. This is Christ’s motivation in every waking hours of His life while He was on earth. Jonathan Edwards writes, “The Scriptures leads us to suppose, that Christ sought God’s glory, as His highest and last end” (Works, Vol 1, p. 109).

The first motive of the Son in coming to save is very important to keep in mind so that we may have a God-centered perspective of redemption. It should breed a burning desire in our hearts to honor the Father of our redemption as His redeemed people in His Son.

For His great love toward us: Christ died FOR US.

The second motivation which we can obviously find in the Scripture is His love for His people. If the Father is motivated by His love for His people so the Son also. They have perfect love for their chosen ones. The Messiah died for us so that the objects of His love—a lost, depraved, rebellious humanity—might know forgiveness and everlasting life. Let us see passages in the Scriptures that describe the nature of Christ’s love for His people.

1 John 3:16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers and sisters.

John 15:9 Just as the Father has loved Me, I also have loved you; remain in My love.

Ephesians 5:2  and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

John 15:13-14 Greater love has no one than this, that a person will lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do what I command you.

In John 3:16, we have seen the unmerited and undeserved love of the Father in sending His Son. Now in 1 John 3:16 and in reading through the passages above, we know Christ’s sacrificial love. On the last verse here is Jamieson, Fausset and Brown’s commentary, “The emphasis lies not on “friends”, but on “laying down his life” for them; that is, “One can show no greater regard for those dear to him that to give his life for them, and this is the love yes shall find in me.”

This is the greatest expression of love. He didn’t merely tell us that He loves us, but He did something. In doing, He didn’t merely do some noble acts, but He gave His very life for us. There’s no other greater demonstration of love than this, no greater degree as it is compared to His love to the Father, so that we may also be moved to love Him and love others, especially our brothers and sisters. Christ’s love towards us must result in our sacrificial love for one another.

For the Joy set before Him: Christ died for His own joy

This last motivation may present Christ as self-seeking. How could He seek the glory of God, the salvation of His people, and His own joy at the same time? But we should not forget that His greatest joy is the promotion of His Father’s will and glory, and God is glorified in showing His love to His people that they may be saved.

We must keep in mind that the Son of God is right in seeking His own joy. All things were made by, through and for Him (John 1:1-3, Col 1:16), and the Father desires that all may honor the Son (John 5:23). Men are selfish in seeking their own joy and it is tainted with sin. But for the eternal, most loving, and most precious Son of God, His pursuit of joy will not only redound to the Father’s glory but will make us eternally glad also.

Hebrews 12:2  looking only at Jesus, the originator and perfecter of the faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 

Our dear Savior endured the worst evil and despised the most awful shame on the cross and He did it for His own joy. It clearly teaches that the motivation which led Christ to Calvary’s cross was the joy that was set before Him. Paul Washer in Discovering the Glorious Gospel provides three contents of this joy: the Joy of Returning to His Father’s Presence, the Joy of Sharing in His Father’s Glory, & the Joy of Gaining for Himself a Redeemed People.

The Contents of His Joy

The Joy of Returning to His Father’s Presence: His Abode

Psalm 16:9-11 You will make known to me the way of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

This passage is quoted in Acts 2:25-28 which refers to Christ’s resurrection and exaltation. Here we see that the Son of God left His Father’s dwelling place in heaven, bore the sin of His people, and He looked forward for the fullness of joy and everlasting pleasure in His Father’s presence. Charles Spurgeon writes, “Christ being raised from te dead ascended into glory, to dwell in constant nearness to God, where joy is at its full for ever. The foresight of this urged Him onward in His glorious but grievous toil” (Treasury of David, Vol. 1, p. 197).

The Joy of Sharing in His Father’s Glory: His Right

John 17:4-5, 24 I glorified You on the earth by accomplishing the work which You have given Me to do. And now You, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world existed. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

The glorious Son, who transfigured before the eyes of Peter, James and John, where His divine glory flowed out into visible brightness (Ellicott’s Commentary on Matthew 17:2), by His divine right, as part of the fulness of His joy, was moved to offer Himself that He may take hold of the glory that He possessed even before the foundation of the earth.

The Joy of Gaining for Himself a Redeemed People: His Reward

In relationship to the redeemed, this is one of the most astounding truth in the Scriptures: we are the reward of the Father to the Son. The Father promised the Son that He will be getting precious reward once He accomplished His work of redemption(Psalm 2:8, Acts 4:25, Hebrews 2:11-13, Revelation 5:9-10; 7:9-10; 22:3-5). Let us consider Isaiah 53:11,

As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
For He will bear their wrongdoings.

The long-awaited Messiah, and the suffering servant obtained the fruit of His death in the salvation of men and He is satisfied. As the bridegroom, His reward is to see His bride in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless (Ephesians 5:26-27). In that great wedding banquet, where all of the redeemed will be presented before the glorious Redeemer, He shall see them and He will be satisfied.

Are you one of Christ’s people? Have you repented of your sins? Are these truths not enough to bring you to your knees in humble submission to His glorious majesty?

Jesus, in one of His parables says that there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:10).

Notice that it didn’t say that the angels rejoice over one sinner who repents, though that is true. But there is joy in their presence. According to Paul Washer1, the primary idea is not that the angels rejoice, but that God’s superabundant joy because of the salvation of His people overflows to all of heaven and every holy creature which dwells there… The joy that was set before Christ and that moved Him to give His life as a ransom for many includes the joy of seeing a multitude of glorified saints, redeemed by His Own blood.

Knowing the three motivations of the Son in coming to save, namely, the Father’s glory, the great love toward His people, and the Joy set before Him should cause us, His redeemed people, to love Him more and live for His glory and for the good of the church. Christ died for God, for us, & for His own joy–and we sinners, underserving of His great love are made to see by faith the spectacular parade of His beauty & attributes gloriously displayed in the gospel.


1 When Paul Washer’s workbook “Discovering the Glorious Gospel” was a work in progress, it was made available online, during that time it had two extended chapters only and it contained helpful quotations and commentaries from him and other Christian authors throughout the history. However, I cannot find it anymore. But providentially, I was able to print a copy of it. So some of the quotations here are taken from that precious work.

Published by Jeff Chavez

Sinner saved by grace

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