More Than a Savior
“Isn’t that the carpenter’s son up there?” a hushed voice asked.
“Yes, that’s the son of Joseph, “ answered another.
“He grew up here in Nazareth.”
The crowd in the synagogue buzzed and murmured, whispering their disapproval of the man who was teaching.
“He’s just an ordinary Nazarene. His whole family lives in this village!”
“Where did he get all this knowledge?”
“Who does he think he is?”
The comments flew back and forth, and the people grew frenzied.
The Man they were speaking of ceased His teaching. His eyes searched the crowd, looking for just one who would believe. He found none.
He looked perfectly ordinary as He stood there in front of His people. His clothes were rough and plain as befitted a poor man from Nazareth. His hair was just plain brown, greying a bit at the temples. He was of medium build and by no means was He considered to be handsome.
But something stood out about the Man. Something was different about Him. Something stirred people when He was near.
Was it the way He spoke with such gentle confidence? Was it the way His hazel eyes seemed to look right through, all the way to the soul? Was it His unorthodox teachings? No, it was something much deeper, much bigger – something no one could explain.
The Man rolled up His scroll, and held it close to His heart. Then He spoke, and His voice quieted the murmuring for a moment.
“A prophet, “ He said. “has honor wherever he may be – until he comes to his home. There he is given no honor. “
His eyes roved the congregation once more, then He walked down, through the crowd, and out into the street.
Wherever the Man, Jesus Christ, went, the people were disquieted. Somehow His very presence changed a place.
By just a word from His mouth, the sick were healed, the dead lived again, and people’s lives were changed.
His teachings were remarkable. Many disagreed with His theology. He talked of loving your enemies. He spoke in riddles that very few understood. He said that He was sent from God. He said that He was God!
People either loved the Man, or hated Him. They either believed His teachings, or they thought Him a complete fool. There were no grey areas. Love or Hate. Belief or Unbelief.
Many questioned Him. How could he be God? He was just an ordinary man, a carpenter! Wasn’t he?
But others just believed. He was God, robed in flesh. The Messiah, come to deliver them. Wasn’t He?
Who was He? Just a man? Or was He truly the sovereign God? Who is He to YOU?
Mary straightened her head covering over her honey-brown hair. She gripped the broom in her hand and began to sweep the dust from the house. She hummed a little tune under her breath as she worked.
Suddenly a bright light, brighter than anything she’d ever seen, filled the room! She dropped to her knees, still gripping the broom.
“What is it?” She whispered, her body shaking with fear.
“Fear not, “ a gentle voice spoke from the light. “You are blessed among women. God has chosen you, Mary, to bear the Messiah.”
“What?” she gasped, clutching the handle of the broom so tightly that her knuckles were white. “Me? I’m the one to bring the Messiah into the world? But how?”
“God’s spirit will overshadow you, and you will be with child, “ spoke the angel of Light.
“The Messiah, “ she breathed. And she believed.
Some months later, in a stable in Bethlehem, the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in the only bed she had for Him: a manger, filled with hay.
Mary’s husband, Joseph, watched as she cared for the babe. There was something different about this baby, Jesus. Joseph knew, and in his heart he believed.
Shepherds and wise men, instructed by angels of the Lord, came to see the child. When their eyes looked upon Him, they fell to their knees and worshipped Him. And when they left, they took His presence with them. They would never be the same.
The years passed, and the boy grew, just as any child. But there was always something different about Him. There was something that made Him stand out from the rest of the children in Nazareth. But what was it?
Soon He was a man, working along with Joseph in the carpenter’s shop. He was good with His hands, and no one ever complained about His work. But still He was different.
He spent much time alone. He would walk through the fields or sit alone in the shade, watching the people. He never married, and the townspeople whispered that, yes indeed, that Jesus was a strange one!
For the most part, folks left Him alone. That is, until one day when something strange took place.
It was just an ordinary wedding feast, at least, that is what everyone thought! But something happened that day that changed lives.
During the feast the wine ran out. People were asking the servants for more wine, but there was none.
Jesus was sitting with His mother and His disciples, and Mary realized that there was a need.
“Jesus, “ she said. “They have no wine.” She looked up to Him with complete confidence, her hazel eyes shining. Then she turned to the servants and said, “Whatever He tells you to do, do it.”
“Fill the waterpots with water, “ Jesus said to them. And they filled them to the brim.
“Now draw out of them and serve the master.”
And when they drew out of the pots, the water had turned to the finest of wines. The servants were in awe of Him, and that day His disciples believed on Him. To them He was no longer just a man – He was a miracle-worker.
That was the beginning of miracles. From that day forth Jesus changed lives. For the next three and a half years He traveled through the country, healing the sick, raising the dead, and mending broken people.
Countless people were touched by His hand – never to be the same. The worst of sinners were loved by Him – and believed in Him. But still many wondered, “Who is He?”
Wherever He went, thousands of people would gather to hear Him teach. They would sit, spellbound, for hours as He taught them about love and forgiveness. Some
even followed Him from city to city – just to be near to the Great Teacher. Word of the man, Jesus, spread like wildfire. People would travel many miles, bringing their sick to be healed by Him.
But there were those who did not believe, and they did their best to destroy Him. They feared His power and His influence over the people, so they tried to stir up trouble. They would ask Him questions that were meant to trap Him, but He never answered them quite like they expected Him to! Somehow they were the ones who ended up being questioned! And so their hatred for Jesus grew. Even as their hatred grew, the belief of the people grew!
Then one day they killed Him. One of Jesus’ own disciples betrayed Him, and handed Him over to His enemies. He was given an unfair trial, in which He was accused of blasphemy against God. They stripped Him and beat Him until He was nearly dead. They plucked His beard, spit in His face, and hit Him. They put a fine robe upon His wounded body and thrust a crown of thorns upon His head, and then they mocked Him.
“All hail the King of the Jews, “ they cried. “Bow down to the mighty king!” They laughed and jeered as He stood before them, tears running with the blood down His cheeks.
The Creator stood, wounded and weary, as His creation mocked Him. Those that He had formed with His own hands had beaten Him and laughed at Him, and soon they would kill Him.
Finally they placed a rough, heavy cross on His shoulders, and pushed Him toward Golgotha. There they laid Him upon the cross and drove nails through His hands and feet. And they left Him there to die, thinking that they had claimed the victory!
But Jesus Christ was no ordinary man. Even death could not diminish nor defeat His power, for He was God robed in flesh. He created Life and Death, and neither could overcome Him.
Even as He hung and bled and died on that cross, people believed on Him. Even in death He changed lives and saved souls. And even in death His amazing love was evident.
After He died on the cross, He was buried. But, although His human body had died, His spirit lived on. He resurrected Himself, and even more believed after He rose from the dead.
His enemies had tried to defeat Him with their hatred, but His love overcame that hatred. No matter how they tried to squelch belief in Him, they never succeeded.
Those who believed that Jesus Christ, the Man, was God, the Savior of the world, spread their belief to others. They passed the truth of Him down from generation to generation. And still belief in Him grows.
Who was He? Who IS He? The questions are still asked today. Was He just a man? A great teacher? A magician? A scholar? Or was He truly the Messiah? A Savior? Is He God?
To me He is many things. He is the sovereign God, my Savior! He died on the cross to save my soul. He took my sins and gave me new Life! But He is more than just a savior. He is my Friend. He hears my every cry, He knows my deepest secrets, and yet He still loves me! He is my God, my Savior, and my Friend.
Who is He to you? Is He just a man who lived long ago? Is He your savior? Or is He the Lord of your life, your Friend?
Maybe you have never asked yourself those questions. If that is the case, perhaps now is the time to search your heart. Who is He to you?
If you will seek Him, you will find Him. And when you find Him, you will find your Best Friend.
So go now, seek Him, and find the One who will be more than a Savior to you!