Advent: Savior

December 24, 2014

This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteous Savior…”Jeremiah 23:6

Savior. It’s a name that calls aloud who Jesus Christ is to us, and who we are to him. The name Savior is relational–it connects one who needs saving, and one who saves: one who is drowning, in great peril, facing grave danger or imminent death….and one who rescues, protects, delivers to safety, and revives.

What images come to mind when you think of our Savior? Perhaps you visualize Jesus as an infant, picture him ministering to the poor and oppressed, think somberly of his crucifixion, worship him in awe as you remember his triumph over the grave and anticipate his coming again.

The New Testament writers name Jesus as Savior in connection with these very moments. Mary, great with expectation, sang, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior….” (Luke 1:46-47). The angel announced to the shepherd, “…a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:11). When Jesus ministered to the woman at the well and spent another two days with her town, the Samaritans were amazed by his words: “…now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world” (John 4:42).

After Jesus had ascended into heaven, the apostles spread the word about the Savior. Peter and the apostles, testifying before the religious court known as the Sanhedrin, preached: “The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins” (Acts 5:30-31). And Paul wrote about our Savior in words that must have been as encouraging to the Philippians as they are to us today: “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (Philippians 3:20-21).

We tend to speak of our Savior in personal terms, telling of Jesus’ amazing grace that “saved a wretch like me.” Let us not forget, though, that the greatness of our Savior extends far beyond what he has done for any one of us. As the passages above remind us, Jesus is Savior of the entire world. He is the Savior who brings repentance, forgives sins, and rules from heaven where he holds everything in his control. He is more than our personal Savior. He is “God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas” (Psalm 65:5). When our Savior returns to make all things new (Revelation 21:5), the whole creation will resound with praise: “Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!”

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,

   to the one who seeks him;

it is good to wait quietly

   for the salvation of the Lord.

Lamentations 3:25-26

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