Lk 2:11 There is born to you this day in the City of David a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord!
Our faith in God through Yeshua the Messiah/Jesus Christ is unique and different from all other religions and faiths. Every other religious faith requires keeping certain commandments and doing certain works in order to maybe earn by our own efforts what can be called “inheriting the world to come”. That is, earning the right to live, both now and forever. Faith in Yeshua as the Messiah and the Son of God justifies a person in God’s sight for salvation, and God gives each and all who do believe with their mind and heart the gift of eternal life.
In other religions there is the need to appease an angry God, or capricious gods, in the hope that you might be saved from his/their displeasure. This can even be said to be true about what Israel made of their religion in professing to believe in Yehovah their God. Yet He had spoken to them of His desire that they should love Him for being their Savior and Deliverer in bringing them out of slavery in Egypt, and in giving them the Land of Canaan as their everlasting possession. If they had loved Him, they would have obeyed Him with faith, and be blessed by His presence among them, and by peace and prosperity. (Jer 7:20-26)
The idea of YHVH God being the Savior of Israel was known to Israel and the Jewish people, repeatedly spoken of through the Hebrew Scriptures. He covenanted with them to protect them, and to deliver His people to preserve them physically from their enemies, and, more so, to save them from their sins, and from their unfaithfulness to Him and His covenant with them. (Dt 20:1-4; Jdg 2:11-22; Is 63; Jer 31:31-34; Ezek 36; Ps 25:5; Ps 51) The Judges, before there was a [human] king in Israel, were all ‘saviors’, whom God gave to the people to deliver them from the hand of their enemies.
YHVH is holy; He is not like any other so-called gods. He is a Savior God, full of lovingkindness, mercy, compassion, goodness and truth – desiring that His people should live, and not die. (Ex 34:5-9; Ezek 18:30-32) His goodness and mercy pertain to the individual (see, for example, Naaman, the gentile Syrian; and Josiah, the King of Judah), as well as to the corporate nation. Even today, in modern Israel, the nation has survived, thrived, and defeated enemies more numerous and stronger than she, which, for the believer, can only be fully explained by YHVH’s faithfulness to preserve the nation, even as He is also judging her for her continued unrepentant unbelief, with many Israelis dying and being killed without faith in Him.
Whenever we speak with an unbelieving Jewish person about Yeshua/Jesus, if we speak ‘long enough’, the question will always come to us: “Do you really believe that Jesus/Yeshua is God!?” Will you be able to give a clear answer to that very good and crucial question?
Let us look in particular at two Old Testament passages from the prophet Isaiah, where YHVH (Adonai) declares, and is declared, that He is Israel’s Savior:
Isa 43:1-3 But now, thus says Yehovah who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; nor shall the flame kindle on you. For I am Yehovah your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for you.
Isa 43:10-13 You are My witnesses, says Yehovah, and My servant whom I have chosen; that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me no God was formed, nor shall there be after Me. I, I am Yehovah; and there is none to save besides Me. I have declared, and have saved, and I have shown, when there was no strange god among you; therefore you are My witnesses, says Yehovah, that I am God. Yea, before the day was, I am He; and no one delivers out of My hand; I will work, and who will reverse it?
We see in these verses from Is 43 that YHVH is proclaiming that He alone is the Savior of the children of Jacob/Israel, and there is no other God or Savior besides Him. He has chosen Israel to be His servant and witnesses to the nations of the truth that He alone is God, and that He alone is capable of saving.
In Is 33:22, we have this great declaration by the Prophet: For Yehovah is our Judge; YHVH is our Lawgiver; YHVH is our King; He will save us!
Israel’s God and Judge, the one who gave them His laws to live by, and who also governs and leads them, is YEHOVAH their Savior.
When we come to the New Testament, this belief in the God of Abraham as the Savior of the covenanted children of Abraham is heard in Mary’s song of adulation, after her relative Elizabeth confirmed by the Holy Spirit the special child within Mary as being her Lord:
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior….He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.” (Lk 1:46-47, 54-55)
The old man Simeon, in the Temple when Joseph and Mary brought the baby Yeshua to dedicate Him, was waiting for the Consolation of Israel. When he saw the child, He blessed God for allowing him to see [His] salvation in the person of this baby, both for the Gentiles, and for His people Israel. (Lk 2:25-35)
Since the last prophet, Malachi, had written at least 400 years earlier, Israel was waiting to hear again a word from the LORD. The Maccabees, who had led the war against the Greeks to restore the true worship of God in Israel about 160 years earlier, were called saviors; and they are still remembered as such in the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. This hope of political and national salvation to be Jewish in our own land did not last very long. As we ‘hear’ from Mary and from Simeon, the long-awaited anticipation of the true savior messiah was strong in Israel at the time of Yeshua’s birth, a time based on Biblical prophesies. (Dan 9:24-26a; Hag 2:18-22; Jn 1:19-23, 31, 41, 45, 49; see also Acts 5:35-39)
Let us now look at the announcement concerning the conception of Jesus and of Mary’s pregnancy, which an angel of the Lord spoke to Joseph:
Mt 1:20b-23 . . .Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take to you Mary as your wife. For that in her is fathered of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bear a son, and you shall call His name YESHUA: for He shall save His people from their sins. Now all this happened so that might be fulfilled that which was spoken of the LORD by the prophet, saying, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive in her womb, and will bear a son. And they will call His name Emmanuel,” which being interpreted is, God with us.
The announcement to Joseph to accept that which God had done also carries with it great implications: this child Yeshua is the Savior – not first of all physically or nationalistically from external enemies, but rather from their own sins against God and man, preventing Israel and the Jewish people from being all that YHVH had covenanted with them to be. We are further told that all this was done so that the Word of YHVH spoken close to 800 years before the birth would now be fulfilled through this virgin birth: this child who was born, this Son who was given, would be called Immanuel, God with us. This child, Yeshua, is YEHOVAH!
Soon after the birth of Messiah, the Jewish shepherds in the fields around Bethlehem heard an angel of YHVH proclaim:
Lk 2:10-12 Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord! And this is the sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.
The hope of the ages had come, and the Savior from the devil and from sin was born! (Gen 3:15) And this miracle and sign from the CREATOR, shaking Heaven and Earth, which still strikes wonder in the heart of the believer, is that the mighty YHVH God had taken on flesh and blood in the weakness of a baby, in order to be the REDEEMER and SAVIOR of both Jews and Gentiles from their sins.
But wait!: We saw from the Scriptures how only YHVH is the Savior of Israel, and of the nations. Yeshua’s name was given, saying that HE will save His people [Israel] from their sins: HE is the Savior! Only YEHOVAH forgives and justifies sinful people through their repentance and faith in Him, and in His Messiah (Anointed One). JESUS CHRIST/YESHUA THE MESSIAH, THE SON OF GOD AND SON OF MAN, IS YEHOVAH GOD! It has been declared, and He showed it to be truth throughout His sinless and miraculous life, death, and resurrection! Good news indeed, especially to those who believe! (1Tim 4:9-10; Phlp 2:5-11)
We are Yeshua’s witnesses, and serve Him. (Lk 24:44-49) Let us love the only wise God and Savior for being our Savior and Deliverer in bringing us out of slavery in the world to sin, and in giving us the Kingdom of God as our everlasting possession with Him! If we love Him, we will tell others this good news, and we will praise and worship the Lord, obeying Him with faith and thanksgiving, and be blessed by His presence within us and among us, having great peace and assurance. Hallelu-Yah!