He had many names. Jesus, that is. In that song alone he was called Christ, Son of God, King, Redeemer and Light of the World. Add to those names the ones we’ve examined all month long:
Alpha and Omega, the Amen, the Glory of God, Lion of the tribe of Judah, the I am, the Son of man, the true vine, the bread of life, and Immanuel. I could go on and on…there are dozens of names for Jesus.
Which is the most important? The definitive name of Mary’s little boy? That’s hard to say and perhaps open to opinion but there is one name that stands out because it was the first name he was called publicly…the way he was introduced to the world.
He was first called – Savior - as we are so eloquently reminded every year by Linus.
Linus video clip
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11
Savior. That’s not a name or a title that is thrown around much these days but back in that day frankly, It was not uncommon to hear this name, Savior .
In the 1st century Greek dominated world Savior or Sōtēr was used as a kind of last name for mythical Greek gods: Zeus Sōtēr, Poseidon Sōtēr, Athenia Sōtēria. Similarly it was used of human Greek rulers Ptolemy Sōtēr, Demetrius Sōtēr.
The implication – these gods and rulers were considered rescuers, deliverers and heroes
…because that’s what Savior means.
I wonder why Jesus was called Savior? Seriously, you may be thinking…everybody knows why he was called savior! Really? Maybe not. Maybe we don’t fully understand what it means…not just theologically …but maybe we don’t know what it means to us personally.
There is something game changing in this name. There is something so profound about Savior that when you grasp it…your life will never be the same again.
You wanna know what it means? Then listen to this story…
· 30 years after the angels shocked the shepherds… Jesus, now a full grown man was sitting by a well outside the Samaritan town of Sychar. His followers had left him alone as they went into town for food.
o It was all very unusual – Jews and Samaritans never interacted.
· While resting by the well a woman approached to draw water. Jesus, asked her to pour him a drink.
o which led to an awkward and fascinating conversation about religion, faith, thirst, life and sin.
· The woman was so worked up by this interchange that she ran back to the village “you’re not going to believe what just happened to me…”
· The whole town emptied and ran to the well where they kept begging him to stay…and he did…for two whole days.
And at the end of those two days the people of the town said to the woman
"We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world." John 4:42
…there it is again…Savior of the world. That’s either hyperbole or in those two days something happened that rocked their world. What happened? Well…we don’t know but I can give you an educated guess based on the whole story of Jesus’ life.
I think that in those two days:
Ø Jesus healed people
o he did it all the time
§ blindness , deafness , skin diseases, severed ears, blood disorders, paralyzation, epilepsy …you name it…like the guy who was presented on a stretcher and was healed
Ø Jesus released people from spiritual bondage (and I mean people possessed by demons)
o again, in three years he did it over and over – like the man so possessed by demons that his family had to chain him up on the outskirts of town
Ø Jesus freed people from guilt and moral confusion
o another pattern of Jesus life…call out sin, address their guilt and offer them forgiveness and redemption…that’s what he did with the woman he met by the well.
Ø Jesus reformed the direction of people’s lives – gave their lives meaning
o like Peter and Matthew and Mary and Martha …helping them live beyond just role and professions to lives of purpose and calling
Ø I wouldn’t even be surprised to learn that Jesus even raised people from the dead in that town. Like he did with his friend Lazarus.
A lot can happen with Jesus in just two days. So yeah, I’m not surprised that the people of that town kept declaring emphatically …this man really is the Savior of the world. John 4:42
Savior. You know, don’t you that he is still savior…right?
· Savior is not a historical theological title we slap on Jesus. It’s not a line on his Wikipedia page.
· Savior is not what he was…not even what he is…Savior is what he does.
What he did in those two days in Sychar, Palestine he does every single day in Hamilton County, USA.
He saves. He rescues, He delivers.
Every day and right at this moment and right in this place he heals:
· broken bodies, broken hearts, broken minds. Sometimes in this short life on this planet, and for sure in the next life…he heals utterly.
Every day and right at this moment and right in this place he releases people from spiritual bondage
· yes, Virginia there are spiritual beings bent on our destruction but yes, in the name of Jesus those forces harassing you can be defeated.
Every day and right at this moment and right in this place he frees people from guilt and moral confusion
· You! You who silently struggle all the time with the guilt of your stupid choices – you can experience redemption and forgiveness – right now!
Every day and right at this moment and right in this place he reforms the direction of people’s lives.
· Tonight he wants to begin to show you the calling you were created for. A reason bigger than the puny one you have been living for up to this moment.
And every day and right at this moment and right in this place he raises people from the dead
· now maybe not physically but for sure spiritually…IL – story of the nurse practitioner asking me out of the blue…do you know where you’ll be when you die?
Why do I know that? Because I believe that …this man really is the Savior of the world. John 4:42
· He heals, he releases people from spiritual bondage, he erases guilt and moral confusion, he reforms the direction of people’s lives and he today raises people from the dead.
Now, how do you get in on this action? Tonight.
You surrender your life to him. You don’t DO anything.
There is no need to produce or perform or perfect, simply become a place for God. That is all. Ann Voskamp
The promises come true in the space of our surrender. Ann Voskamp
What happened in those 2 days is just waiting to happen in you tonight.
Jesus will save you…if you uncurl your fingers…Pray with me.