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What a Savior

Have you ever thought about why we use different words or where they come from? Words are fascinating and understanding how they came to be used a certain way is even more so. For example, we have all used the word genuine. We talked about the genuine article, or this is a genuine piece from someone famous, like the Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci. The genuine one has been housed in the Louvre Museum since 1797. But where does the word genuine come from? It comes, like many of our English words, from Latin. The root word in Latin is the word "genu" which means knee. That might not make sense but with some historical context, it will. See in Roman custom a father would take a newborn child and place him on his knee to say that this was his child. He would claim him and say that he or she is his authentic, genuine child. So the word began to take on the meaning we have today. Perhaps you have wondered about the origins or reasons for other words? Perhaps you have wondered "Why is the Son of God called "Jesus", that is a Saviour?" (Q. 29)

What Is In A Name?

In Matthew 1:21 we read about how the Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph and told him to name the child that was to be born to his betrothed Mary. But the Angel does not just tell him the name but gives a reason for the name. "She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matt 1:21, ESV) For us in the west today, names have little meaning. Not that they don't have any meaning, but we rarely think of naming our children based on what we hope for them to accomplish. We tend to name our children because we like the name or because one of our grandparents was named that. I have done both of these personally. But this is not the case with many of the people in scripture, specifically when God gives them a name. For example, Adam is not just the name of the first person, but the word Adam is the Hebrew word for all mankind. We are the race of Adam, the race of man. God renames Abram to Abraham because "I have made you the father of a multitude of nations." (Gen 17:5). Abraham means father of many nations. Jesus is named Jesus for a similar reason. His name means the Lord is salvation. From the very beginning of his incarnation, it was made clear that Jesus had come to be the savior of the world.

Not Just A Savior

But Jesus is not just any savior, he is not just a savior. He is the savior. He is the only savior. The answer to the catechism question that we started with is "Because he saves us, and deliveries us from our sins; and likewise, because we ought not to seek, neither can find salvation in any other."(Q. 29, A) Jesus saves us from our sin. We are saved from the wrath of God by the grace and mercy of God. "And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) The essence of the gospel message is in the very name of the Savior. That he has come to save his people from their sin. We are born in our sin. David confesses in the Psalms that we are conceived in iniquity. There is never a time when we are innocent. We can only find salvation in Christ.

In Closing

In our world today, the name of Jesus has become a byword. It has become a curse word. How often just in the past day have you heard someone use Jesus Christ as an expletive without batting an eye? As Christians, we need to recognize the majesty and wonder that is in the name of Jesus. He is our God and our King. The only one that brings salvation. We are commanded in scripture not to take his name in vain. That is to use it in a worthless way. When we use his name as an expletive we are using the name that saves to curse. When we say that we are Christians but do not follow him, we make worthless his name. As we start this Christmas season let us reflect on the name. It is a wonderful and powerful name. It is the name before which every knee will bow and every tongue will confess is Lord of all. He is and was and will be forever. He is from everlasting to everlasting. He is God. He is savior.

Soli Deo Gloria

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