When we find ourselves in distress, we are happy when someone rescues us. Whether it is as minor as having a tow truck save us from having to spend the night on the side of the road when our car breaks down or as significant as having a police officer rescue us from a criminal, we are glad when someone comes to help us. In times of hardship, we look for a savior.
One of the fundamental claims of the Christian faith is that Jesus is the Savior, and His name or title Savior is the subject of our study today. Today’s passage and many other New Testament texts identify Jesus as the Savior, and this name itself has a rich biblical background that can signify a number of different things. First, a savior can provide rescue in the sense of a military rescue from one’s enemies. Second Samuel 22 records David’s song of praise to God after he had been delivered from his many enemies. In verse 3, David refers to the Lord as “my savior” because God had saved him from being killed or captured in military operations throughout his life.
Salvation in Scripture can also involve being healed from an illness. Isaiah 38 records King Hezekiah of Judah’s illness and how God healed him when he asked the Lord to make him well. The Lord even added fifteen years to his life. After the healing, Hezekiah praises God for His mercy and for being the One who will save the king from his illness (v. 20).
Finally, salvation in Scripture can also mean being saved from sin. Ezekiel 37:23 looks forward to the day when the people of God would be saved from their sins and rescued from their backslidings into idolatry. God would cleanse them and restore them so that again He would be their God—that they would again serve only Him. Forgiveness of sins and the cleansing of people to make them holy is another way that Scripture talks about salvation.
Throughout the history of Israel, God sent many saviors to His people to give them deliverance, particularly in the sense of a military rescue from their enemies. The judges of Israel, for example, delivered the Israelites from various oppressive regimes. In Jesus, however, we have the fulfillment of all of these aspects of salvation. He has saved us from our sins, and when He returns to bring the new heavens and earth, He will give us final salvation from all our enemies, including sickness and disease (Matt. 1:21; Rev. 21).
What kind of salvation are we searching for? We want to be delivered from oppression and hardship. We want to be healed of our diseases. It is not inherently wrong to desire such things, but more than anything else, we need salvation from our sin and the wrath of God. If Jesus is our Savior, we have assurance of this salvation, and we can look forward to the day when He will redeem us from all our other foes.