“New Year, New Me!” It’s a phrase you see and hear about all over the place this time of the year. Everyone is setting out to make new goals and setting out to change themselves. Some goals will stick and others won’t. It’s a time where people redefine themselves and ask the question – who am I?
Lately, I have been asking myself another question though. I’ve been on this journey of faith and finding out who I am since fall of 2010. You probably wouldn’t think that I would still be asking myself this question: Who is Jesus? This topic has been the subject of all my journal entries in 2018.
As it turns out, the answer to my question can be easily answered in the story of Jesus’ birth which we just celebrated.
“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)
Did you catch those three identifiers in there? Jesus is Savior, Messiah, and Lord. Since I’m a nerd, I like to break everything down into the original Greek. Savior in Greek is: σωτήρ (so-tare). It means deliverer and preserver. It is the name given to deities, princes and kings by the ancients. It occurs 24 times in the New Testament, and each time it is used to describe Jesus. It’s Mary’s voice that first uses it to describe her unborn son.
“And Mary said: ‘My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” (Luke 1:46-47)
This verse is part of Mary’s song or the Magnificat. During the song Mary glorifies God and praises Him for what He is about to do. It is a song where God is the champion of the poor and downtrodden. Even before this little babe was born, Mary already knew that Jesus was going to be σωτήρ (our Savior) during the moments when we feel low and poor in spirit.
The second adjective used to describe Jesus is Messiah: Χριστός (khrē-sto’s). Χριστός means the annointed one. Something I love about this declaration of Christ is that it’s an appellative. An appellative is a common noun that gives something a name. Some examples of an appellative are mother, father, doctor. They are defining characteristics that really cannot be challenged; they have to be earned, they aren’t just freely given.
Anointing was a practice among the shepherds where oil was poured onto the head of a bug infected sheep. The sheep wool became slippery and then the bugs would just fall off. It became a symbol of blessing, protection, and empowerment. An anointed person was chosen for a specific purpose. How cool is it that Jesus was chosen specifically to help “de-bug” us?? As a baby, Calvary was already the goal.
Lastly, Jesus is Lord, or κύριος (kü’-rē-os) which means owner, possessor, to him who something belongs. It is a reverent term, the respect with which the servant greets his master. I love this description of Jesus maybe the most because it shows Him in supreme authority. He is the one that has set all of this in motion. It shows His authority over time. I also love it because it’s the same word that Matthew uses in his Gospel when the angel of the Lord appears to David in the dream when David is doubting. Satan is gaining a foothold on David’s heart and attempting to cause God’s original plan to fail but what does God do? He claims David as his own and the plan proceeds as intended.
So, who is Jesus to you? Is He Savior, Messiah and Lord? Or is He simply just a wise teacher? Someone that we look to for moral guidance? I pray that Jesus will help us all to not only say: “New Year, new me”, but to say “new focus”; a focus on Jesus as Savior, Messiah, and Lord.
God, lately I fear that You’ve fallen to more of a wise teacher and moral guider than Savior, Messiah and Lord. I ask that you would tear down the barriers that I put up and that I would be able to experience You as Savior, Messiah and Lord because that is where the true joy is. Father, help all those who are reading this blog to experience You in this way too so that they may know you deeply. I pray that 2018 would be a year where You find us when our spirits are low and lift us up, anoint us and remind us of Your death on the cross, and lastly and most importantly that You would be our reverent King, reigning over our lives. In Your precious Holy name I pray. Amen.