When Jesus first appeared to John the Baptizer to be baptized, marking the start of His public ministry, John immediately knew Who He was. The name He called Him says it all: “Behold the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29, 36). In fact, John called Jesus this twice. He, along with those who heard him, would have immediately connected this title with the Passover lamb (Exodus 12) whose blood applied to doorposts covered the sins those inside and saved the firstborn from death. From then on the yearly festival of Passover commemorated and taught the truth that innocent blood redeems guilty sinners.
This trust was further expanded upon by the law of the kinsman redeemer(Leviticus 25:25-34). The book of Ruth clearly illustrates. Naomi’s debt could be covered and land redeemed by one who was a near relative like Boaz (Ruth 2:1,3,20; 3:12) who was free himself, had the required price (2:1) and was willing to pay the redemption price (2:8; 3:11). This beautifully pictures our redeemer, Jesus, who became our ‘kinsman’ by becoming a human being like us (Philippians 2:5-8). He, too, was free from debt to sin Himself (Hebrews 4:15), was able to pay the price for our sins (I Peter 1:18-19) and who was willing to pay that price on the cross for us (John 10:18).
As our Redeemer Jesus paid the price to buy back that which was already His by creation but which had turned from Him into sin and needed redemption. Hosea did the same when he bought back his wife Gomer from slavery after she ran away from him. This is a common term that many have applied to Jesus, including Job (19:25), Isaiah (44:6, 24; 59:20; 41:14; 43:14; 47:4; 48:17; 49:7, 26; 54:5, 8; 59:20; 60:16; 63:16), Jeremiah (50:34), David (Psalms 19:14; 78:35), and Anna (Luke 2:38).
Closely related to the title Redeemer is Savior. This comes from the same root word as the name ‘Jesus.’ “You will give Him the name Jesus because He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Jesus buys us back from sin (Redeemer) and He also saves us from that which would destroy us (Savior). When people shouted ‘Hosannah’ to Jesus they were literally saying, ‘Please save us’ (Psalm 118:25).
This is one of David’s favorite names for Jesus (2 Samuel 22:3, 47; 1 Chronicles 16:35; Psalm 18:46; 24:5; 25:5; 27:9; 38:22; 42:5, 11; 43:5; 65:5; 69:19; 79:9; 85:4; 98:26). It was also used by Isaiah (43:3), Mary His own mother (Luke 1:47), angels (Luke 2:11), those who heard about Him from the woman at the well in Samaria (John 4:42), John (1 John 4:14), Paul (2 Timothy 1:10; Titus 1:4; 2:13), Peter (2 Peter 3:18) and His earthly brother Jude (Jude 25).
Each of these called Him their Savior, each but the angels. The angels never knew Him as Savior or Redeemer. They could call Him ‘The Savior” but not “My Savior” or “My Redeemer.” Only we regenerated human beings can call Him that, and then only after we have accepted His free gift of salvation by which we are bought back from sin (Redeemer) and delivered from that which would bring eternal destruction (Savior). Only we can claim Him a our Kinsman-Redeemer, the one who paid the eternal price for our sin so we can be reunited with Him for all eternity.
What about you? Can you call Him your Redeemer, your Savior?
Use these names as you pray. Call Him “my Redeemer,” “my Savior.” Say them slowly, savor the significance and implications of being able to call Him that. Use that as the foundation for a time of praise and worship right now. And throughout the day use these names for Him whenever you think of Him or talk to Him. What an honor and privilege to call Him MY Redeemer, MY Savior!
BIBLE STUDY ASSIGNMENT
We’ve seen the many Bible people who have called Jesus their Savior or Redeemer. Each verse takes on fresh meaning when we see it through the eyes of those who said this. Job had no books of the Bible and wasn’t a Jew, but somehow he knew his Redeemer lives. Throughout the Old Testament those under the law realized the law didn’t save, only God did. Mary called her own baby her Savior, showing her recognition of Who He was and of her need for Him. The angels couldn’t call Him Savior, but Jesus’ younger earthly brother, who grew up in the same house as Him and knew Him as well as anyone recognized this about Him. Seeing the name through the eyes of the writer of the passage adds fresh significance to it. That is true of each passage you read. Knowing something about the person who wrote the passage helps give insight and understanding to the meaning. As you study your Bible always ask yourself who wrote this passage and seek to see the words through his grid: who he was, when he lived, what was going on in his life and what his personal relationship to God was like.
Do this with John 1:1-14. Ask questions as any who were hearing it then would, look at the context, but pay particular attention to the person who wrote it. What significance does this have for what is said? Then note down the names he uses for Jesus and think about why that particular name or title was chosen at that very spot.
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