The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 1 Timothy 1:15
In the 1800s, even though Charles Berry was a pastor, he found himself preaching a Christ who was limited to being a noble Teacher, but not a God-sent Savior.
One night, shortly after he began work at his first parish in England, a visitor came calling.
Opening the door, he found a young girl with a shawl on her head and poor shoes on her feet. She asked, "Mister, are you a minister?" He told her he was. With a tone of immediacy, she said, "Sir, you must come with me quickly. I want you to get my mother in."
Thinking the girl was describing a mother with an alcohol problem, Berry said, "I can do nothing. Please, go and tell a policeman."
"No," said the girl. "My mother is dying, and you must come and get her into heaven." Berry put on his coat and followed the lass for about a mile and a half through the lonely streets.
Coming to the woman's humble home, he knelt by her bedside.
He began by explaining to the woman how Jesus had come to show us how we were to live our lives in kindness and compassion.
The dying woman stopped him. "Sir," she cried, "those words are no good for the likes of me, I'm afraid. I've been a sinner all my life. Isn't there someone you know who can help me and tell me how my poor soul can be saved?"
Years later, the Reverend Berry confessed, "There I was, standing in the presence of a dying woman, and I had nothing to tell her. She was covered with sin, and death had come to her door. Still, I had no message. In order to give something to that dying woman, I remembered the things I learned from my mother. I remembered my cradle faith. I told her the story of the cross and of a Christ who is able to forgive and save sinners completely."
Reverend Berry said, "The tears began to run down the woman's cheeks." He concluded, "God got her into heaven, and blessed be God got me in there too."
Today, to our world of worry and woe, of fear, fright and frustration, the Savior has come.
Now I could tell you that the Prince of Hope has come. It would be accurate, for wherever Jesus goes, believing hearts do find hope. It would be equally right to call God's Son the "Prince of Love." Truly, this little earth has never seen the kind of sacrificial love that Jesus showed. No one could contradict me if I called Him the "Prince of Faith." Not only was He faithful when He walked among us, His heaven-sent Spirit, even today, still creates faith in failing hearts.
But these Names are not enough.
There is only one Name which truly describes Jesus: that word is Savior.
The Savior brings calm to our troubled chaos. He is the Savior who says, "Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid. My peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you" (see John 14).
Those words, which would seem ludicrous if they were uttered by any other mouth, come from Jesus whose love for us brings forgiveness, salvation and hope.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks the Holy Spirit has called me. May He keep all God's people in the way which glorifies Jesus who alone is worthy of the title "Savior." In His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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