Our Christmas Eve service was such a sweet time with friends. We had about 50 people here and interspersed Scripture readings from Luke 2 and Matthew 2 with classics such as "Hark The Herald Angels Sing," "Silent Night," and others. I talked about shepherds and we also looked closely at the word "Savior" that Luke used to talk about the birth of Jesus Christ in verse 11: "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." (NKJV) That word in Hebrew means to be "rescued, delivered, saved; or to rescue, deliver, save." Divine salvation has its focus on rescue from earthly enemies, occasionally referring to salvation from guilt, sin and punishment. In the Old Testament, the word "savior" is used 13 times. The first reference is in 2 Samuel 22:3 in a song written by David on the day the Lord had delivered him from all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. It's very similar to Psalm 18. David had been spared vengeance of earthly enemies, through God his savior. He understood the word and concept very well. The prophet Isaiah uses "savior" eight times, the theme often being that there is no savior apart from God. As it says in Isaiah 43:11: "I, even I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior." (NKJV)
In the the New Testament, "savior" is used 24 times. In the Greek it means "one who delivers from grave danger." In the New Testament this always refers to God the Father and Jesus Christ as savior of believers from righteous wrath to a proper relationship with God. Savior implies that we need to be saved from something ... which is sin. It's sin that separates us from God. In the Old Testament our sins could only be covered through the sacrificial system. It wasn't until Christ, the Lamb of God, whose blood was shed on the cross, who died and rose again three days later, that we received atonement for our sins. Our slate is wiped clean through Christ. It is amazing that 2,000 years ago a baby was sent to earth as our savior. And that news of Christ's birth was spread by a raggedy group of shepherds who would not have even been allowed to testify in a court of law. "And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds," Luke wrote in 2:18. Today is the day after Christmas. Most everyone has moved on. The kids are playing with their new toys, the Christmas trees will be coming down, the lights put away. There's shopping to be done -- post-Christmas sales to hit with all those gift cards! -- leftovers to be downed. But don't forget to take some time to marvel at those things which have been told us through God's word. And don't forget to marvel at our Savior.