Do You know my Jesuspic

“You shall call his name Jesus.” The name “Jesus,” with which we are familiar, is equivalent to Joshua (יְהוֹשַׁבְעַת or יֵשׁוּעַ) in the Old Testament. Both the names יֵשׁוּעַ and Ἰησοῦς point to God’s salvation. This important “name-sharing” reveals that Jesus is the one who will lead the people into the promised land surpassing what Moses (the Law) was able to do. He is the better Joshua with better promises, a better land, and better rest (Hebrews 4:8-10). Jesus is necessary for the salvation of God’s people.

It is obvious that idols of wood and stone cannot rescue from calamity or bring salvation, Is. 45:20b; 46:7; Jer. 2:27 f.; 3:23; 11:12; Hos. 14:4b. Nor can astrologers, Is. 47:13. Not an angel, who serves chiefly as a messenger, but God Himself saved Israel out of Egypt, Is. 63:8 f. Israel did not conquer the land in its own strength; God won the victories, Ps. 44:3 f.[1]

So the Son of God was aptly named Jesus, “meaning Lord (Yahweh) saves.”[2]

The Son of God is to be known as Jesus because “he will save his people from their sins.” To “save” (σώσει) is defined as “1. “to deliver from a direct threat,” 2. “to bring safe and sound out of a difficult situation.”[3] The word was used in Homeric Greek to describe “an acutely dynamic act in which gods or men snatch others by force from serious peril” and “deliverance from judicial condemnation.”[4] Jesus is the one who delivered God’s people. He brought his people into safety. He is God who snatched us from the peril of sin including its judicial consequences. Bearing the name of Yeshua implies that Jesus, the Son of God, is the one through whom God’s salvation would come.

At his birth, the angels announced the arrival of salvation. They said, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). The Samaritan village “evangelized” by the woman at the well said, “we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world” (John 4:42). Peter preached that “God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31). Paul said that Jesus is the Savior of the body (Ephesians 5:23). Christians are waiting for Jesus to return from Heaven where our citizenship lies (Philippians 3:20). Jesus is also described as the divine Savior. He is “God our Savior” in 1 Timothy 2:3. To speak of Jesus as savior is to declare a multifaceted reality.

Jesus Is the One Chosen by the Father

Acts 2:22-23 reveals that Jesus was “attested” and “delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God.” Nothing about Jesus becoming the sacrifice was an accident or afterthought. Even the resurrection was accomplished by the Father (Acts 2:24). Everything was according to God’s plan.

Jesus is in a unique position to be the Savior of the world because he is the Son. He stands as the eternal equal of the Father (John 1:1-4). Since he is the Creator of the world (Colossians 1:16-17), he is in a unique position to redeem the world. As Jesus added humanity to his person, he acquired all that which needed redeeming. In his Critique of Apollinarius and Apollinarianism, Gregory of Nazianzus well said, “For that which He has not assumed He has not healed; but that which is united to His Godhead is also saved.” Furthermore, it is fitting that Jesus is the Savior because he is the Son of God. As he enjoys that unique relationship, he can restore sinful mankind to the status of son of God.

Jesus Is Our Sin Bearing Savior

God had prepared the world for Jesus’ sacrifice through the sacrificial system. Leviticus 16 records God’s instructions for the observance of the Day of Atonement. After making a sacrifice for himself, the priest was to take two goats which would be used by God to deal with sin. And Aaron shall cast lots over the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other lot for Azazel. And Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for the Lord and use it as a sin offering,  but the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before the Lord to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Azazel” (Leviticus 16:8-10). One goat would be sacrificed so that its blood would cover the sin of the people. The other goat would be sent away “bearing the sin of the people” away from the people.

The repetition of this image on every Day of Atonement prepared the world for when God would offer his own sacrifice to himself. The blood of God’s sacrifice is of infinite worth since it came from the infinitely valuable Son of God. Christ also bore the sins of the people away from the people. Jesus “has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4). Matthew 8:17 tells us that Jesus’ casting out demons was the beginning of the fulfillment of this Isaiah prophecy. Spiritual oppression was thus taken away by Christ.

Jesus is Our Representative Savior

When the Bible tells us that we are “in Christ,” we are being told that Christ is our representative before the Father. He stands for us because we are hidden in him. The phrase “in Christ” is used in different ways in the New Testament. The faith in Christ refers to one who has entrusted his or her all to Christ. “In Christ” can also refer to the instrumentality of Christ in accomplishing something. Paul used this case in Romans 6:23, “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:1 used “in Christ” as a location. This is clear in Romans 16:7 as Paul spoke of those who were “in Christ before me.” “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 12:5 says “we are one body in Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:18 speaks of those who “have fallen asleep in Christ.” Churches are “in Christ” (Galatians 1:22). All spiritual blessings are “in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).

Representation is key to understanding 1 Corinthians 15:22 where Paul wrote, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” This is a short declaration of the longer reasoning in Romans 5:12-21. Each of us will either stand before God “in Christ” or “in Adam.” Christ is the only representative which offers hope. Adam offers only death.

Jesus is Our Mediating Savior

Christ’s work as Mediator is equally important to our salvation. “For there is one God, and there is one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus “mediates” the new covenant (Hebrews 8:6) without which we could not live by faith and receive the promises. Hebrews 9:15 says, “Therefore he is the Mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.”

Since Jesus is our Mediator, he offers intercession for us. Along with the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:27), Christ “is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us” (Romans 8:34). The word “ἐντυγχάνω” which is used in Romans 8:34, means “to make an earnest request through contact with the pers. approached[5] Hebrews 7:25 says, “He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him since he always lives to make intercession for them.”

JESUS DESCENDED THAT HE MIGHT ASCEND WITH US

Since the reign of sin has been broken, the good news must be preached. Jesus was the first to preach the good news. After he died, Jesus went to Hades to proclaim himself as Victor over sin, death, Satan, and all the powers of evil. In this way, Jesus has redeemed mankind from conception, birth, life, death, descent, and then his resurrection to the presence of God. John of Damascus wrote:

Just as the Sun of Righteousness rose for those upon the earth, so likewise He might bring light to those who sit under the earth in darkness and shadow of death: in order that just as He brought the message of peace to those upon the earth, and of release to the prisoners, and of sight to the blind, and became to those who believed the Author of everlasting salvation and to those who did not believe a reproach of their unbelief, so He might become the same to those in Hades: That every knee should bow to Him, of things in heaven, and things in earth and things under the earth. And thus after He had freed those who had been bound for ages, straightway He rose again from the dead, showing us the way of resurrection.[6]

This first proclamation of the Gospel was first declared in the Scriptures. Ephesians 4:9 tells us that “He ascended—what does it mean but that he also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?.” 1 Peter 3:19-20 says, “He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah.” 1 Peter 4:6 says, “for this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh but live according to God in the spirit.”

 

[1] Werner Foerster, “Σῴζω, Σωτηρία, Σωτήρ, Σωτήριος,” ed. Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Gerhard Friedrich, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964–), 975.

[2] Timothy Friberg, Barbara Friberg, and Neva F. Miller, Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, Baker’s Greek New Testament Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000), 203.

[3] Werner Foerster, “Σῴζω, Σωτηρία, Σωτήρ, Σωτήριος,” 965.

[4] “In this use, found from Hom. to the latest period, σῴζω corresponds to Hebrew ישׁע  .Werner Foerster, “Σῴζω, Σωτηρία, Σωτήρ, Σωτήριος,” ed. Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, and Gerhard Friedrich, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964–), 966.

[5] William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 341.

[6] John of Damascus Exposition of the Orthodox Faith. (NPNF Vol. 9 pp. 72-73; emphasis added).

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