July 21, 2019

Birth of a Savior

Judges 13:1-7, 17-25

“You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.”

—  Luke 1:31

Manoah was troubled when the angel of God showed up. It was commonly thought that if you saw the face of God, you would die (see Genesis 32:30). What’s more, Israel had done “evil in the eyes of the Lord” again—so the visit by the angel of the Lord might seem like bad news.

But the messenger from heaven brought good news: Manoah’s wife would bear a son, and this son would begin to save Israel from the Philistines.

Saviors are unusual people, for they represent God. Because the child would be a “Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb,” his hair would not be cut, and he would not have any wine or other fermented drink. As a Nazirite from birth, this boy would be totally dedicated to God. His mother called him Samson. The Lord blessed him, and the Spirit began to move him. In Samson, God’s people had received a specially designed savior.

Many years later, Mary, who became the mother of Jesus, received a visit from an angel too. She would have a son, the angel said, and she was to call him Jesus, which means “Savior.” Filled with the Spirit, Jesus resisted all the temptations of the devil, taught and healed many people, and even gave up his own life, once for all, to save people from their sin.

Unlike Samson and all the other deliverers God had sent to help his people, Jesus was the Son of God. Hallelujah!

Thank you, Lord, for the Savior dedicated from the womb to do your will for our sake. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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