Understanding the names of Jesus in the Christmas story (1): Jesus, Savior of my Soul
Understanding the names of Jesus in the Christmas story (1):
Jesus, Savior of my Soul
Rev. Simon Ang. December 7, 2021. Jesus, Savior of my soul. Assemblies of God Singapore. Retrieved from: https://www.ag.org.sg/.
Every Christmas, it is common to see many people singing and praising the name of Jesus. This is unsurprising, especially since Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus. But do we truly know the significance behind this wonderful name? Looking at Matthew 1:21, God instructed Joseph to “name [his son] Jesus” even when it was traditional for the child to share Joseph’s name, thereby highlighting just how special this child would be.
Even right at the first proclamation of Christ, we are introduced to His role of “[saving] His people from their sins”.
Even right at the first proclamation of Christ, we are introduced to His role of “[saving] His people from their sins”. The very first word over this Christ child, and we are already given the promise that it is He who would eradicate our sins—a promise that over the last 4000 years prior, no one was able to fulfill. While sin could be put under the blood through tabernacle offerings, it was merely a way to hide the sin, instead of completely removing it.
He Saves Us from Sin
But why is it so important that Jesus saves us from sin? This brings us to the beginning, both of the world and of our lives. The first man, Adam, fell to the serpent of sin and introduced his wrongful nature into the human race. Likewise, given that we are all born from Adam, our lives began by being born into a fallen nature, or an Adamic nature as it is called. Simply put, as soon as we are born into the world, we are born into sin and are separated from God.
Despite this, we can still escape eternal damnation by calling upon the name of Christ, who saves us from sin and mends our broken relationship with God. Indeed, it is Jesus who rescues us from the threats to our divine destiny, and who restores our purpose and wholeness. This statement may sound like a mouthful, so let us break it apart.
The Meaning of ‘Jesus’:
We can start by looking at the meaning of the word ‘Jesus’, which refers to ‘Savior’. Incidentally, the word ‘Savior’ also means ‘Deliverer’, or the One who rescues.
Destiny and Purpose
From here, we must understand that all of us are not born into Christ by mere coincidence. In fact, there are specific destinies which we are born into, certain purposes that God has chosen for our lives, of which sin threatens to destroy. And it is Jesus who rescues us from these attempts to ruin our divine destiny and purpose.
Finally, one of the best NT translated words for the words ‘Jesus’ and ‘Savior’ is the word ‘whole’. While many of us seek for wholeness through external means, it is only through Christ where we can find it, as it is Jesus who restores us and makes us whole.
This completes our statement of what Jesus does in our lives: Jesus rescues us from the threats to our divine destiny and restores our purpose and wholeness.
The Works of Jesus:
Now that we know what Jesus does, we can go on to explore how He does it.
Firstly, Jesus saves us from missing the mark He sets for us. Here, we can look to a word closely related to sin: ‘hamartia’, which simply means to ‘miss the mark’. To aid this analogy, we can imagine life as an archery shootout. Many of us draw our bows and prepare to hit the bullseye mark of happiness and success.
Yet, as much as we may rely on our own strength to prepare and aim, there are just many factors that we may be unable to control—indecision, changing wind speeds, and rain are but a few factors that override our strength and cause us to miss our mark, leading to failure and sin.
It is only through relying and calling on the name of Jesus that we may overcome these obstacles. Not only can Jesus redeem us from the sin of missing our marks, the Bible also says that He will prevent us from misfiring, hence also helping us to fulfill our divine destiny.
Next, Jesus saves us from living with guilt and condemnation. Far too often, unresolved sin can come back to haunt us in the form of guilt, which can then lead to self-condemnation. And sadly, this can manifest in mental illnesses which drastically decrease our quality of life and relationship with God. This is made worse when we are consistently consumed by our guilt, which further paralyses us from taking any meaningful action against it.
Yet, if we once again choose to rely on the name of Jesus and bring our sins to the cross, He will forgive us and help us forgive ourselves too. Consequently, Jesus will release us from any shame or condemnation that has shackled us from living a whole life filled with God’s purpose.
The presence of sin, no matter how small, has an insidious ability to take control of our lives. It can leave us feeling hopeless with guilt, depressed from condemnation, and prevents us from living our lives with wholeness and purpose. It is only through the beautiful name of Jesus that we may, according to Hebrews 8:12, have our sins not only forgiven, but also forgotten. So, as we proclaim Jesus’ name during this Christmas season, let us dwell on the awesomeness of His name and praise the name of Jesus that saves His people from sin.