How is salvation “healing work”? Early on in Matthew’s Gospel, he writes that the angel told Joseph to name Mary’s son Jesus because he would “save his people from their sins.” (My Bible’s footnote explains that Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua, which means “The Lord saves.” As an aside, does this mean that when Jesus walked on earth, his disciples called him Joshua?)
Recently I’ve been learning about the Greek word (soter) that gets translated “save” in this passage. It’s accurate to translate soter as “save,” but the same word is used elsewhere after people are healed from disease, sickness, and disability. There’s a fluidity in the language between the idea of salvation and healing. There’s an overlap, a correspondence between the concept of spiritual redemption and physical restoration.
In other words, we could translate that verse in Matthew to say Jesus would “heal his people from their sins.”
Sin—every thought and action and inaction that separates us from God, from the love of God—sin harms. Yes, we need rescue/salvation from sin. Yes, we need forgiveness for sin. But we also need to be healed from the harm of sin. We need the healing work of salvation.
As we head towards Christmas, I’m thinking about how Jesus saves us from sin. And also about how Jesus heals us from sin. And I am giving thanks for this offer of healing salvation.
Continue reading with Amy Julia:
- S3 E20 | When Love Is Our Home, Healing Begins
- Forgiveness, Racial Healing, and Justice
- I’m Writing a New Book About Healing
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