"And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:18-21
In a moment beyond belief, Jesus is proclaiming that the long-promised, long-anticipated salvation of God for Israel has come—in Him. In Him something eternal is coming into the present, is being fulfilled, is happening on earth. In Jesus, God’s salvation is come.
How is Jesus doing this, though? How is he accomplishing this? How is the blessing of God’s salvation coming to the poor, the captives, the blind, the oppressed? How!
As Americans, we are into solving problems. We think analytically about all of life. We believe that in this jumbled mess of data lies somewhere, somehow, an explanation to our dilemma. That if we disentangle life, separate and compartmentalize it, there will emerge or appear the answer in each and every area to the problems that we’re facing.
We have been made to believe that there is a solution to every problem. We have been led to believe that there is a technique for every need. But the truth is that there are many “life problems” that betray this belief.
First, we all face death. But before that we all have questions that are unanswered. We all have relational tensions that are still unresolved. We all are in a state of semi peace, or joy, or rest. We all are in one thing or another dissatisfied. There is no problem-free life. No omnipresent, omniscient, or omnipotent singular solution exists in the human mind or heart to fix it all. We are always struggling and striving to pursue the next, the best, the final solution.
However, the word “solution” isn’t found in the Bible. The word “salvation” is, though, and it is found everywhere.
The Gospel is not what solves your problems. The Gospel is what makes you new: a new creation. This Gospel of God’s salvation in Jesus Christ, the Good News of what Jesus has fulfilled and accomplished through his death on the cross and his resurrection from the grave, changes everything, even though many of our problems and challenges in this life are always present and will never go away.
Salvation is more than a solution to what I don't want and/or a technique for what I do. It is the transformation of your whole being and life: your purpose for living, your identity in this life, your security and joy in this world.
When an artist or creator makes or creates something, they get “into" the material they are working with. You can’t work with ink the same way you work with paint or clay or film. The artist-creator comes to understand the properties and patterns and laws within thecreated material. They come, in this regard, to serve the substance they are working with, not on.
To each artist comes the duty and the delight, not of imposing their will on the substance as its master and doing to it whatever they want, but of humbling themselves before the substance to learn and to serve and to create something from out of it. The greatest artists and creators are the greatest servants.
When Christ came to earth, the Creator came to earth (John 1:1-18). He took on flesh, humbled himself to serve sinners, and undertook upon and within himself to fully understand the human condition, this created substance and material of our human life and heart. He came into it, got into it, got under it through his death, and lifted it all up through his resurrection Why? To fashion, to make, to create something new: “a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15).
He “creates a new heart,” (Psalm 51:10) both from a “substance from above” that only He could make, and yet out of a “substance from below,” meaning a human life with all its original but marred complexity and wonder and uniqueness of personality, desires, gifts, talents, thoughts, feelings, etc.
Francis Shaeffer writes,"Salvation is bowing and accepting God as Creator and Christ as Savior. I must bow twice to become a Christian. I must bow and acknowledge that I am not autonomous; I am a creature created by the Creator. And I must bow and acknowledge that I am a guilty sinner who needs the finished work of Christ for my salvation.”
What better way, what other way, to find your place in this world, your identity and your purpose, your joy and security, than in, from, through, and for Jesus Christ, the Savior-Creator of the world. We are no more autonomous in our being created than in our being saved. Jesus is the Savior-Creator of the world and of humanity. He not only saves us from our sin, but he creates in us a new heart and life. He creates out of us a new kind of humanity. This act of salvation is an act of creation in the hands of Jesus. It is the only way to be made new, because, in truth, we cannot make or create ourselves.
It was necessary, then, that a Savior come to rescue us from our sin. But it was also necessary that a Creator come to make us new. Jesus is both the Savior and Creator of our heart and of this world and the new heaven and earth to come.