The Savior Enters the Story


Did you know that “Jesus" was one of the most common names in Israel at the time of Jesus Christ’s birth?

The Jewish-Roman historian Josephus, who was born 4 years after Christ was crucified, actually mentions at least twelve different people who were named Jesus in his writings!

Jesus Christ was often differentiated as "Jesus of Nazareth" simply so people would know which Jesus was being talked about!

The name “Jesus” means Yahweh saves or Yahweh is salvation. Yahweh – the God of Israel – the Great I AM - saves.

As you might guess, Jesus was a popular name because people in that nation felt a longing for salvation from God.

In the 700 years leading up to Jesus’ birth, Israel fell several times to foreign rulers. Many of the Jewish people were exiled from their land and held as political prisoners. And then, once the Israelites finally came home from exile, their nation was again conquered and occupied – first by the Greeks and then the Romans.

In the years leading up to Jesus’ birth, the Jewish people were waiting and hoping for the One God had promised would come to set them free. Naming their sons “Jesus” was a way of expressing their hope in God’s promise. Someone was coming to rescue them.

We live in quite a different context today from ancient Israel, but I think it’s fair to say that there remains a longing in our hearts for an experience of salvation – a longing not all that different from how the Israelites felt 2000 years ago.

Whether we’re religious or not, many of us find the idea of a savior entering the story of our lives appealing.

We’re thrilled by the idea that someone with the power and ability to solve our problems could come and bring us the resolution we’ve always hoped for.

Don’t believe me? Look at the stories we tell.

Here a few titles of real Christmas movies and books:

The Dog Who Saved Christmas, The Man Who Saved Christmas, The Boy Who Saved Christmas, The Toys Who Saved Christmas, The Polar Bear Who Saved Christmas, The Chicken Who Saved Christmas, The Spy Who Saved Christmas, and The Watchmaker Who Saved Christmas.

And you know how the plotline of those stories go:

There are regular people, just like you and I, waiting for Christmas with excitement when an enemy rises up and crushes their hopes.

But then, at just the moment when it looks like all is lost, an unlikely hero comes to save the day (someone who had been at the center of the story all along, but you never expected him to be the hero!).

Christmas will happen after all!

We love those stories. All appeared to be lost, but the hero came and saved the day.

Here’s what’s really cool: It’s impossible to create a story about someone saving Christmas that even comes close to the real story of hope restored, joy realized, and salvation come that is the actual story of Christmas.

Jesus Christ came for so much more than to save the nation of Israel from political upheaval. He came to save all people from sin and death.

When were lost and separated from God, He sent His own perfect son to rescue us when we simply look to Him in faith.

Jesus laid down his life on the cross so that we might be forgiven and restored to right relationship with our heavenly Father.

This is “Good news that causes great joy for all people!” (Luke 2:10)

This Christmas season let’s celebrate all that God has done for us in sending us his son – our Savior.

Jesus has come, so we are never without hope.

Jesus has rescued us, and he will sustain us with his grace no matter what we go through.

Let’s worship God with grateful hearts. The Savior has entered our story.

Josiah joined Orchard Hill's Adult Ministry Team in the Spring of 2018 as Director of Young Adult Ministries. Prior to coming to Orchard Hill, Josiah served as Director of University Ministries at Evangelical Community Church in Bloomington, Indiana from 2012 to 2018. 

Josiah is a Graduate of Grove City College, where he met his wife, Brittany, competing on the Track and Field team together. Josiah and Brittany were married in 2009, and then lived Tennessee where Josiah coached Track and Field and Cross Country at East Tennessee State University and Milligan College from 2009 to 2012. 

Josiah and Brittany enjoy spending time with family and friends in the Pittsburgh area, participating in endurance sports, and are dedicated to finding out which coffee shops in Pittsburgh make the best cookies. 

Josiah is currently completing a Master of Art's in Christian Ministry from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.