He Saved You
He Saved You
On 13 January 1982, Air Florida Flight 90 taking off from Washington, DC, crashed into the Potomac River. It was winter and the river was full of ice. The crash happened near a bridge going over the river. The TV cameras could see everything. Millions of viewers, sitting in their living rooms, watched as a helicopter overhead let down a life-belt on a line to a man struggling in the water. He grabbed the line, swam to another survivor just by him, clipped the woman in and they hoisted her up to safety. The helicopter let down the line again, and again the man did the same thing. He swam to someone else, and rescued them. He saved others, before finally, exhausted, he himself drowned.
Why did this man not save himself? The answer is that he was out to save others. In an even more amazing way, Jesus did not save himself because he was out to save you and me.
Today, focus your thoughts on Jesus, the Saviour of the world, and meditate on how he saved you.
Saved by GodPsalm 21:1-7
You cannot save yourself. Only God can save you. He saved you because of his ‘unfailing love’. Therefore, like David, put your trust in him today (v.7).
This psalm begins with David praising God for his salvation:
‘O Lord the king [David] will delight in Your strength,
And in Your salvation how greatly will he rejoice!’ (v.1, AMP).
In this passage we see some of the many blessings that salvation includes:
‘You have given him his heart’s desire and have not withheld the request of his lips’ (v.2, AMP).
‘You send blessings of good things… You set a crown of pure gold on his head… You make him to be blessed and a blessing forever’ (vv.3,6a, AMP).
‘He asked life of you, and you gave it to him – long life forever and evermore’ (v.4, AMP).
‘Through the victories you gave, his glory is great; you have bestowed on him splendour and majesty’ (v.5).
Joy and gladness
‘You make him exceedingly glad with the joy of your presence’ (v.6b, AMP).
Thank you, Lord, that you saved me. Thank you for your unfailing love and many blessings. I put my trust in you today.
Saved by self-sacrificeMatthew 27:11-44
The people of God in the Old Testament expected a Messiah (Christ). This Messiah would ‘reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness’ (Isaiah 9:7).
However, in the Old Testament there was another stream of messianic expectation. This is seen in the ‘suffering servant’ of Isaiah 40–55 who ‘was led like a lamb to the slaughter’ (Isaiah 53:7), who would take the sin of the world on himself and die on behalf of the guilty (vv.5–6).
Nobody expected the messianic king and the suffering servant to be the same person. Yet, in a breathtaking way Jesus brought these great messianic themes together. Jesus is both the King and also the suffering servant.
When Pilate asked Jesus, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ (Matthew 27:11a) he replied, ‘Yes, it is as you say’ (v.11b). The soldiers mocked Jesus, dressing him up as a king and pretending to salute him and kneel down before him, hailing him ‘king of the Jews!’ (v.29b).
‘Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS’ (v.37). The religious leaders also mocked him, saying, ‘He’s the King of Israel!’ (v.42).
Matthew makes clear that the only crime of which Jesus is ‘guilty’ is being ‘the King’ (v.11), the ‘Christ’ (Messiah) (v.22) and ‘Son of God’ (v.43).
Jesus also fulfilled these prophecies. ‘He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth’ (Isaiah 53:7).
When he is accused by the chiefs and elders, ‘he gave no answer’ (Matthew 27:12). When Pilate asked him, ‘Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?’ (v.13), Jesus ‘made no reply, not even to a single charge – to the great amazement of the governor’ (v.14).
Jesus, the innocent suffering servant, died in your place so that you may go free. In this sense Barabbas represents you and me, the guilty. He is ‘a notorious criminal’ (v.16). It is a question of ‘Barabbas or Jesus’ (v.17). The people asked for Barabbas and put Jesus to death (v.20). Barabbas is set free (v.26). The prophecy of Isaiah about the suffering servant is fulfilled: ‘He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities’ (Isaiah 53:5).
Although Jesus was the long-awaited king, he was not the kind of king that the people expected – such as one who would go from one great victory to another. Rather, Jesus had to deal with envy, false accusations, unjust criticism, unfairness, misunderstanding, weak authorities, mockery and insults from religious people and the secular world – even the robbers. It came from all sides.
Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent. He realised that it was ‘out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him’ (Matthew 27:18). (Envy is often the sin of the religious. There is a temptation to envy those whom God appears to be using more than he is using us.) Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent for another reason also. His wife had been warned in a dream and confirmed that Jesus was an ‘innocent man’ (v.19). He foolishly ignored her advice.
Ironically, the man who was to be remembered throughout history as the one responsible for the death of Jesus (‘crucified under Pontius Pilate’ – recited in the creed for hundreds of years throughout the world) tried to avoid responsibility by blaming others: ‘I am innocent… It is your responsibility!’ (v.24).
Jesus’ blood was shed as he was flogged and handed over to be crucified (vv.24–26b). Again, ironically those who passed by said, ‘Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!’ (v.40b), but Jesus died as the Lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world. The onlookers didn’t understand that Jesus’ self-sacrifice was voluntary. They said, ‘He saved others… but he can’t save himself!’ (v.42a).
He saved you and me because he was willing not to save himself.
Lord, thank you that you went through all this for me. Thank you that you chose not to save yourself, in order to save me.
Saved by the Lamb of GodExodus 11:1-12:51
Jesus says to his disciples, ‘As you know, the Passover is two days away – and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified’ (Matthew 26:2). St Paul writes, ‘For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed’ (1 Corinthians 5:7b).
The blood of a lamb protected the people of God under the old covenant at the first Passover (Exodus 12:1–30). You are far better off now under the new covenant. The blood of Jesus (the Lamb of God) cleanses and protects you permanently (Hebrews 9:12–26).
At the first Passover, a lamb had to be sacrificed. The lamb had to be ‘without defect’ (Exodus 12:5), pointing forward to the innocent Jesus. There is great emphasis on ‘the blood’ of the lamb (vv.7,13,22–23). The blood of the lamb without defect was to be shed as a sacrifice (v.27). When John the Baptist saw Jesus he said, ‘Look, the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’ (John 1:29).
The blood of the lamb gave the people protection from God’s judgment. It was the ‘Passover sacrifice’ (Exodus 12:27). This foreshadowed the sacrifice of Jesus.
God’s instruction about the Passover lamb, ‘Do not break any of the bones’ (v.46), was specifically fulfilled at Jesus’ death. Breaking a person’s legs was a way of speeding up death through crucifixion. They broke the legs of two men crucified with Jesus, ‘but when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs’ (John 19:33).
Where there was blood on the door-frames of a house, it indicated that death had already taken place in the household. Those who obeyed God’s word by putting blood on the door-frames were spared. The blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God, has been shed for you and me. The Passover points forward to how Jesus died as a sacrifice on our behalf. He saved you.
Father, thank you for the blood of Jesus shed for me. I offer the whole of my life to you: my body and my mind; my will and all my decisions; my family and all of my relationships; my finances and all you have given to me; my work and service to you. In Jesus’ Name, I receive the protection that comes through the blood of the lamb over my life.
One of Pilate’s many mistakes was that he didn’t listen to his wife!
Verse of the Day
‘You have… made [me] glad with the joy of your presence’ (Psalm 21:6).
Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version Anglicised, Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 Biblica, formerly International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica. UK trademark number 1448790.
Scripture quotations marked (AMP) taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org)