Savior; January 7, 2022

Luke 2:21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.

This verse jumped out at me because of yesterday’s reading, where Jesus says that His blood is to be “poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:28) The meaning of His name is specified in Matthew, where the angel tells Joseph in a dream, “You are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21) Yeshua, the Hebrew form of Jesus, means, “Yahweh is salvation.” That He was to be named that was indeed stated by Gabriel at the Annunciation. (Luke 1:31) Everything about Jesus, from before the Incarnation through right now, when He is interceding for us, (Hebrews 7:25) is focused on our salvation. He is indeed “the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16) If we grasp this about Him, then the only logical course is to acknow­ledge Him as Lord. Indeed, the Japanese word for “Savior” is specifically, “Saving Lord.” Further meanings for the character “Lord” include “owner” and “main/chief.” English speakers sometimes separate “accepting Jesus as your Savior” and “making Jesus your Lord,” but that doesn’t work in Japanese, and I personally think it is an impossibility. Either Jesus is your Lord, or He isn’t your Savior. It’s not that our attitude changes His character, it’s that salvation includes submission to His Lordship. As someone was pointing out on Facebook just yesterday, the irony of human free will is that we are truly free only when we choose to do God’s will! We want to “be saved” and at the same time do our own thing, but that doesn’t work. None of us follows Christ perfectly in this life, but our heart commitment must be to Him, His kingdom and His righteousness.

This is the central point not only of my life but of that of every human being. As Paul wrote to Timothy, God desires the salvation of everyone, (1 Timothy 2:4) so that is to be my focus as well. I cannot rightly claim to be a follower of Christ and not care about the salvation of others. At the same time, I’m not to beat myself up over those who fail to accept the salvation that God offers through me. It is reasonable to be saddened by such refusals, and spiritual warfare is to be done on behalf of such people, but the outcome is ultimately between them and God. I’m reminded of a quote I heard recently from Donald Trump, of all people. “Our country has a Savior, and it’s not me.” I must never descend into a “Messiah complex,” thinking that I myself can save anyone. At the same time, I’m to keep myself available for God to use me in saving people, because He can use anybody or anything. Yeshua is Lord indeed!

Father, thank You for this reminder. I do pray for the sadly confused person who called me yesterday. I pray that Your truth would indeed penetrate their heart and cancel the lies of the enemy so that they would be set free indeed, receiving Your full salvation for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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