Every now and then, I see a church with a sign that says Jesus Saves. Usually the church is a Protestant Church. Often the church is small and the sign is big. The words Jesus Saves, I assume, summarize that church’s particular slant on the Christian faith. That slant is an important one.
But the question arises, “Whom does Jesus save?” The short answer is me, is you, is all of us. The second question that comes up is this: “From what does Jesus save me, you, and us?” Again, there is a short answer: sin. But sin or the consequences of sin can take many different forms such as death, destruction, immorality, wickedness, injustice, hatred, violence, addiction, meaninglessness.
The very name Jesus implies salvation. When Joseph is tossing and turning in bed shortly after learning that Mary, his fiancé is pregnant, an angel appears in a dream and tells him to take Mary as his wife. The angel adds, “She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Mt. 1:21).
The other day I was reflecting on the two words Jesus Saves. And I wrote this short prayer. It is a prayer addressed to Jesus to save us from those things that are (in some ways) sin or things that can lead to sin. As you pray these words, see if any of them touch your heart.
Jesus, you are the savior of the world. You are our savior. We ask you to save us from these things:
Save us from fear that can prevent us from doing things that are good, helpful, and beautiful.
Save us from worry that saps our strength and makes us forget your words, “I am with you always.”
Save us from a lack of attention to the everyday beauty and mystery of this planet we are privileged to call home.
Save us from self-centeredness that hinders us from noticing the pain and suffering, beauty and goodness of others around us—our loved ones, our neighbors, our fellow human beings in the larger world.
Save us from cynicism that says, “A better world is not possible… All people are innately selfish… You can’t make anything better, so why even try.” Give us the grace to believe instead in the ever-present possibility of positive transformation.
Save us from giving up our daily prayer because we don’t have time… we’re not good at praying… And nothing happens anyway. Instead, inspire us to converse with you every single day.
Save us from violence in word (Saying things like, “You idiot!” or spreading gossip about someone) and gesture (slamming doors, giving someone the silent treatment or the finger). Lead us to be people of peace.
Save us from a lack of personal integrity, one of the most precious gifts we can possess. Keep us honest with ourselves, with other people, and with you.
Save us from a lack of love. May we never label others as “unlovable.”
Save us from a lack of forgiveness. May we follow the example of your forgiveness even as you hung on the cross.
Save us from refusing to pray for or reach out to those we are tempted to dismiss as obnoxious, crazy, or a lost cause.
And finally, save us from taking everything in life so seriously, we lose our God-given sense of humor and playfulness.
We ask for these things, Jesus, through the power, persistence, and creativity of your Amazing Spirit. Amen.
Did you find yourself in any of these words or phrases?
What else do you think we should ask Jesus to save us from?
As we saw, Jesus’ name means savior or deliverer. Here is a song that celebrates that name. It is called “What a Beautiful Name” and is sung here by Hillsong Worship. This particular video is from a concert given in Sidney, Australia in 2016. (If the lyrics don’t show, just click “cc.”)
I welcome you to respond below to anything in this reflection. We’d love to hear from you!