Jesus Christ as Creator
John’s gospel goes on to speak of Christ as the Creator, “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:3). John continues to refer to Christ not only as the Creator but one who has life in Himself and whose life constitutes a divine revelation of the light of men, “In him was life, and that life was the light of men” (John 1:4). When a believer in Christ is saved, he receives eternal life and at the same time he sees the light, and God’s truth becomes understandable to him.
Purpose to Provide Salvation
Jesus Christ’s main purpose in coming to the world, however, was to provide salvation for those who put their trust in Him. Jesus expressed this in Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
In His public ministry Jesus spoke of many truths, and His teachings were so comprehensive that a systematic theology could be written based on what He said and taught. However, this was a background to His dying on the cross for our sins. In this supreme act of dying, He fulfilled His main purpose in becoming incarnate, of being “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
In His resurrection from the dead, He also manifested His deity and His power to fulfill His own word in that He had power to lay down His life and He had power to take it up again (John 10:18). In connection with the death of Christ, three important theological terms are used to express what Christ did when He died on the cross for our sins: redemption, propitiation, and reconciliation.
Chapter 8: Jesus the Savior
Savior of the World
“The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” That is the meaning of the Christian religion. Jesus coming into the world was God’s way of bringing redemption to lost man. Christianity admits the fact that man is unable to save himself.
The message of Christianity is the salvation of man. In this way it is different from other religions. Other religions attempt to interpret the high ideals of life. They insist that man is, and will be, a failure. They tell man why he suffers, how he should live, and how he will be punished if he sins. They don’t give him the power to live victoriously over sin. But Christ comes to men in all walks of life, everywhere, and brings the message of salvation. You have failed, but you can succeed. You may be stained with the guilt of sin, but you can be made clean. This is possible through the power of the Savior –– One who came and died for the sinner and arose victorious over death, sin, hell, and the grave.
The good news of the gospel is that Jesus has come to be a Savior for all mankind. When Jesus was born, an angel told the shepherds:
Luke 2:10,11. “Don’t be afraid! For I am here with good news for you, which will bring great joy to all the people. This very night in David’s town your Savior was born –– Christ the Lord!”
Name of Jesus
The name Jesus means Jehovah will save, or Savior. God the Father chose this name for His Son. He sent an angel to tell Joseph (Jesus’ foster father) what to name the Baby that Mary would give birth to. The name Jesus would remind them constantly who Jesus was and why He had been born. He was the Son of God, coming down to earth to save us from sin. The angel said:
Matthew 1:21. “She will give birth to a son and you will name him Jesus –– for he will save his people from their sins.”
When you speak or hear the name of Jesus, remember its message of good news for you; Jehovah, the eternal, self-existing God came into the world to save you. God will save. This is the promise that we claim when we pray to the Father in the name of Jesus. Whisper the name of Jesus in worship and in prayer. Sing about Jesus the Savior. Tell others about Him. He is the only Savior –– the One whom the Father has sent to save us. Peter and John healed a crippled man through the power in Jesus’ name. Peter explained:
Acts 3:16; 4:12. “It was the power of his name that gave strength to this lame men. What you see and know was done by faith in his name; it was faith in Jesus that made him well like this before you all.”
Salvation is to be found through Him alone; for there is no one else in all the world, whose name God has given to men, by whom we can be saved.”
Nature of Salvation
The word salvation in the Bible is a great, inclusive word. To save is to rescue from danger, to deliver from captivity or judgment, to keep in safety, and to heal. Jesus, our Savior, rescues us from the power of Satan, frees us from the captivity of sin, takes our place and guilt in the judgment, brings us to a place of safety, and gives us health for body and soul.
Jesus came to save us from the lostness and dangers of a life separating us all from God. We have lost our way. We wander in circles in the darkness of a purposeless, wasted life. Without God, eternal death closes in on us. But Jesus has come to save us, to bring us back to God. He turns us in the right direction, gives us the light of His presence, and brings purpose and meaning into our lives. Jesus calms our fears, gives us joy and peace, leads us away from the destruction that threatens us, and takes us to our eternal home. Jesus said:
Luke 19:10. “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
Jesus came to save us from guilt and punishment for our sins. We have all broken God’s laws and face the penalty of eternal separation from Him. But Jesus took the blame for our sins and willingly died in our place so that we could be forgiven.
Romans 6:23. ” For sin pays its wage –– death; but God’s free gift is eternal life in union with Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Jesus came to save us from the power of sin and Satan. He sets us free from our own sinful, rebellious, selfish nature and gives us the new nature of the children of God. He breaks the power of temptation and frees us from desires and habits that destroy our health and harm our souls. In Jesus we find safety from the attacks of Satan. We still have battles, but Jesus gives us victory.
Romans 6:22. “But now you have been set free from sin.”
2 Corinthians 5:17. “When anyone is joined to Christ he is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come.”
Jesus has come to save us from the effects of sin and even from its presence. He brings us health for body and soul. And some day He will give us a new body that won’t be subject to disease. He is preparing a home in heaven now for all those that He saves from sin. When we die or when Jesus comes back to earth for us, He will take us to that heavenly home. And some day Jesus will establish His rule on earth and purify the earth from all sin. Even nature itself will be freed from violence and destruction. Everything will be perfect. What a great salvation!
Revelation 21:3,4. “God Himself will be with them, and He will be their God. He will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There will be no more death, no more grief, crying, or pain. The old things have disappeared.”
Sacrifice of the Lamb
The title Lamb of God refers especially to Jesus’ mission as Savior of the world.
When Jesus was going to begin His public ministry, John the Baptist presented Him to a great crowd saying:
John 1:29. “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
Those who heard John could interpret his words in only one way. Lambs were killed as a sacrifice for sin. Sinners confessed their guilt to God and asked Him to accept the death of the lamb in their place. Jesus was the sacrifice that God had sent to die for all sinners –– the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!
The great prophet Isaiah had written about how God would make the Messiah a sacrifice for our sins. He would be falsely accused and put to death like a criminal. He would take the guilt for all our sins. He would die in our place, as our substitute, so that we could be free from sin. Later He would come back to life, see the results of His sacrifice, and be satisfied. All this happened to Jesus exactly as Isaiah had said.
Isaiah 53:3-12. “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not his mouth; He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment; and who shall declare his generation? For He was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of my people was He stricken. And He made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death; because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief; when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see his seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied; by His knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He hath poured out His soul unto death; and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
All four gospels tell us how Jesus died for our sins. The religious leaders did not want to accept Him as the Messiah. They were jealous of Him and determined to kill Him. They accused Him to the governor and hired witnesses to tell lies about Him at His trial. Pilate, the Roman governor, knew that Jesus was not guilty, but He gave in to the demands of the religious leaders and the mob that they had gathered.
Jesus was crucified –– His hands and feet nailed to a wooden cross. This was the punishment for the worst criminals. He hung between two thieves on a hill called Calvary. And there the Lamb of God died –– the sacrifice for our sins.
Attitudes toward the Lamb
In the attitudes of the people at Calvary, we can see a picture of the whole world. Some looked at Jesus with hatred, making fun of Him and His claims. Some seemed indifferent, gambling for His clothes while He was dying. Some watched with disappointment. But some looked at Jesus with faith, hope, and love.
Three crosses stood there on the hill; Three men died that day at Calvary. In their attitudes we may find the key to our own.
Luke 23:33-34, 39-43. “They nailed Jesus to the cross there, and the two criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Jesus said, ‘Forgive them, Father! They don’t know what they are doing.’”
One of the criminals hanging there threw insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” The other one, however, rubuked him, saying; “Don’t you fear God? Here we are all under the same sentence, ours, however, is only right, for we are getting what we deserve for what we did; but he has done no wrong.” And he said to Jesus “Remember me, Jesus, when you come as King!” Jesus said to him, “I tell you this; today you will be in Paradise with me.”
The three crosses speak to us of: 1) rebellion, 2) redemption, 3) repentance. On one a man was dying in sin. On the second the Lamb of God was dying for sin. On the third a sinner was dying to sin.
On the cross of rebellion hung a man dying in his sins. He had wasted his life in doing wrong. Life had made him bitter and hard. Now he faced death –– a final defeat. If he had only believed, there was help right by his side. He was in the very presence of God. But the rebellion in his heart blinded him to spiritual truth. Within reach of the Savior he died in bitter agony of spirit –– full of hate, resentment, and hopelessness.
Jesus died for our sins on the center cross in order to redeem us. Satan had deceived us all, kidnapped us, and made us His slaves. The price for our ransom was the death of the Son of God. He redeemed us from Satan’s power –– bought us back for Himself –– when He died in our place.
1 Peter 1:19. “You were set free by the costly sacrifice of Christ, who was like a lamb without defect or spot.”
On the third cross a sinner died to his sins, was freed from them forever, by trusting in Jesus. This man was willing to face himself and the truth; He confessed his wrong. He recognized Jesus as the Savior, the Messiah.
Jesus was dying but the repentant thief believed that He would rule the world some day. So he asked the Savior to remember him (have mercy on him) when He came as King. What faith! One of the last things Jesus did before He died was to forgive the sins of the dying thief and give him eternal life.
Every person decides his own eternal destiny by what he does about the Savior. Both thieves had the same opportunity. One clung to his rebellion and hate, mocking the only One who could save him. The other went to heaven (Paradise) –– a place of eternal happiness. These men are a picture of us all. One was rebellious and lost. The other repented, confessed His need to Jesus and was saved. Which one’s example will you follow? You can find eternal life, forgiveness, peace, and help by calling on Jesus in prayer. He is near you now.
Ephesians 1:6,7. “Let us praise God for His glorious grace, for the free gift He gave us in His dear Son! For by the death of Christ we are set free, and our sins are forgiven.”
1 Peter 2:24,25. “Christ Himself carried our sins on His body to the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. You were like sheep that had lost their way; but now you have been brought back to follow the Shepherd and Keeper of your souls.”
Take this short quiz to test your knowledge.
1. What does the name Jesus mean?
a) Savior (or Jehovah will save).
b) Son of God
c) Healer (or Jehovah will heal)
2. Who chose this name for Jesus?
b) The angel Gabriel.
c) God the Father.
3. According to Matthew 1:21 why was Mary to name her child Jesus?
a) It was a family name
b) Because it was a unique name for that time
c) Because he would save His people from their sins
4. In Acts 3:16; 4:12 Peter spoke of: (Choose all that are true.)
a) Healing through faith in the name of Jesus
b) Salvation in Jesus alone
c) resurrection in Jesus’ name
5. What things do we need to be saved from? Choose all that are true.
b) Separation from God
6. Which title of Jesus let people know He would die to save them from sin?
a) Lamb of God.
b) Son of God
c) King of Kings
7. Which prophet told how God would put our sins on the Messiah? In what chapter of his book?
a) Joel 1
b) Isaiah 53
c) Isaiah 45
8. How did Jesus die?
a) On the cross
b) In battle
c) He fell ill
9. Name the place of His death
10. For what kind of people was such a death supposed to be?
c) The worst criminals