Hallelujah, What a Savior!

“For my eyes have seen Your salvation, Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES, And the glory of Your people Israel.” (Luke 2:30-32)

We use salvation language on an almost daily basis. “Seatbelts save lives . . . Save the Children . . . Save the whales . . . Save the economy.” However, when Christians say, “Jesus saves,” some people take offence. Why is that?

One reason biblical language of salvation offends is because it assumes that we need salvation. If someone asks, “From what do we need to be saved?,” the Bible answers “from our sins.” Therein lies the rub. People don’t like to see themselves as sinners. Consequently, they won’t recognize their need for a savior. But the Bible says that sin is a universal problem (Romans 3:23), and it’s because of this problem that we need a savior (Romans 5:8; 6:23). It’s in this context that the Bible declares, “Jesus saves.”

The very name Jesus means, “Yahweh is salvation.” Matthew declared that the reason His name would be called Jesus was because He came to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). Thus, the Bible presents Jesus as the salvation of God. But the question remains, “Who are His people?” “Who did Jesus come to save?” For this question, the Bible also has an answer.

First, Jesus came to save Jews (Israel). Luke makes a specific effort to show that Jesus had all the Jewish credentials expected of Israel’s Messiah. He was circumcised on the eight day (Luke 2:21), and His mother Mary followed the purification and sacrificial rituals given by Moses (Luke 2:23-24, see Leviticus 12). Also, the fact that Jesus was the long-awaited Jewish Messiah is confirmed by two faithful and devout witnesses, and, as the Hebrew Scriptures note, “on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed (Deuteronomy 19:15). Regarding these two witnesses, Luke emphasizes the fact that they were advanced in age. In other words, it was these most devout, faithful, and aged Jews who prophesied that Jesus was the long-awaited “Consolation of Israel” (Luke 2:25), the “Redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38).

Secondly, Jesus came to save Gentiles (non-Jews). Probably quoting Isaiah the prophet, Luke records for the first time in his gospel that Jesus also came to save Gentiles (Luke 2:32, see Isaiah 42:6). God’s plan of salvation included the Gentiles all along, “for [the gospel] is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).

The fact that Jesus is rejected by some is a fulfillment of prophecy, for Simeon prophesied that Jesus was appointed as a sign to be opposed (Luke 2:34). The very message of salvation, that Jesus died to save sinners, is a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, “but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ [is] the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:23). Hallelujah, what a savior!

Join us this Sunday, December 26, as we celebrate this savior – Jesus Christ. We will gather at 10:00 am for our regular morning service: no LIFE classes, no Kid’s Pointe, just a family service. There will be NO EVENING SERVICE. Be sure to bring your family, friends, and neighbors.

May you and your family have a blessed Christmas and a joy-filled new year.

Love,

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