I have become increasingly convinced that the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) are as theological, in their way, as the Gospel of John, and that the Gospels generally are as theological as the writings of Paul.
With regard to the pre-existence of Christ, we often turn to the famous passage in Philippians 2, or to equally celebrated Prologue of John’s Gospel (together with passages such as John 5:43, 8:14, 12:46, 14:28, 16:28, 18:37).
But, as Simon Gathercole remarks, the Synoptics present repeated instances of sayings that indicate that Christ has ‘come’ followed by a statement of purpose for his coming.
Gathercole highlights ten of these passages:-
- “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” (Mark 1.24)
- “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” (Matt 8.29)
- “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” (Mark 1.38)
- “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5.31–32)
- “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matt 5.17)
- “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” (Luke 12.49)
- “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matt 10.34)
- “For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter–in–law against her mother–in–law—” (Matt 10.35)
- “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10.45)
- “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” (Luke 19.10)
(Drawing on this post by Ian Paul).