When Jesus came the first time, his purpose was to deal with the problem of sin. His ultimate goal was to save humanity from the clutches of sin, and to give every person the chance to make his or her life right by accepting his grace and following his example.
The example he set was profound on many, many levels, but two seem most obvious. First, his example is one of self-sacrifice and submission. Jesus stepped out of the purity and heights of heaven to walk in the dark and disease ridden sin pits of mankind. If you are a middle class American, it might be a little bit (and only a little bit) like leaving clean and wealthy suburbia to live, eat, and sleep among the people in the sewers of some fourth world country. In that example, his submission to God is so complete, and his self-sacrifice so supreme, that he willfully allows himself to be murdered by the people he came to save.
Secondly, the example of Jesus is one of meekness. Meekness is not weakness, but instead, it is the power to restrain oneself in the face of evil and difficulty. A meek man, in the biblical sense, will withhold himself from violence, retribution, or retaliation even when he has the ability, the right, or the authority to exercise force or strength. When Peter cut off the ear of Malchus (John 18:10) after Jesus was betrayed, he was not being meek. Jesus, however was a perfect example of meekness when he said in the wake of Peter’s violence, “shall I not drink the cup the father has given me (John 18:11)?” Jesus, as part of the Godhead, could have exercised his authority and called down heaven at that moment to save himself from the betrayal of Judas (Matthew 26:53). Instead, he was meek and trusted in God’s plan.
In contrast, his second coming will not be as a sacrificial lamb exercising the strength of meekness. When he comes again it will be as a lion to set things right, and it will be with the strength of armies, and he will make war on those who have hated God (Revelation 19:11-16, Jude 1:14-16). But because he is a good king, he doesn’t want anyone to perish in that battle (2 Peter 3:9). In advance of that battle he has sent you (if you are part of his family) to be a minister of reconciliation so that others will not have to face his wrath (2 Peter 5:18-21).