The Joy of a Savior

One of the greatest of English preachers was Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626 head of the committee that produced the King James Version of the Bible. He was often asked to preach before King James I and especially at Christmas time. Here then, as a Christmas gift, is an extract from one of those sermons: “The Joy of a Savior.”
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see–I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11)

I know not why it is that when we hear of saving or of a Savior, our mind is carried to the saving of our skin, and other saving we think not of. But there is another life not to be forgotten, and the dangers and destruction there are more to be feared than those here, and it would be well sometimes to remember that. Besides our skin and flesh we have a soul, and that is our better part by far, and it also has need of a Savior. It has a destruction out of which and a destroyer from which it should be saved, and this should be thought of. Indeed our chief thought and care should be for that: how to escape the destruction to come, to which our sins will certainly bring us.

Sin it is which will destroy us all, and there is no person on earth who has so much need of a Savior as does a sinner. There is nothing so dangerous, so deadly to us, as the sin in our hearts; nothing from which we have so much need to be saved, whatever account we make of it. From it comes all the evil of this life and of the life to come. In comparison of that last, the evil here is not worth speaking of. Above all then we need a Savior for our souls, and from our sins, and from the everlasting destruction which sin will bring on us in the other life, which is not far from us, not even from the one who thinks it furthest away.

Even in joy there are many degrees. All joys are not one size. Some are smaller; some greater, as is this. The joy of a shepherd when his ewe brings him a lamb is not like that when his wife brings him a son; yet news of a lamb is a joy, such as it is. Then if that son should prove to be “the chief shepherd in all the land,” that would be somewhat more. But then if he should prove to be a David, a prince, certainly that would be another kind of joy, great joy indeed. If the benefit is great, then the joy is great. And here the benefit is great, none greater; as much as the saving of us all, as much as all our lives and souls are worth. And if the person is great, so is the joy, and none so great as this: it is the Lord himself. This goes beyond them all; this joy puts all others down, so that none of them may be mentioned with it. Therefore the angel said well, ” I bring you good news of great joy.

You may say what you will, but surely there is no joy in the world like the joy of one who is saved; no joy so great, no news so welcome, as to one ready to perish when they hear of one that will save them. Imagine the joy of one in danger of perishing by sickness, when they hear of one who will make him well again, or the joy of one about to die by sentence of the law, to hear of one with a pardon to save their life, or the joy of one with enemies, to hear of one who will set them in safety. Tell any of these, assure them of a Savior, and it is the best news they ever heard in their life. There is joy in the name of Savior, and this child is a Savior also.

It may be that we need none of these; we are not sick at present, in fear of the law, in danger of enemies. It may be, if we were, we fancy that we can be relieved in some other way. But that which he came for, that saving we all need and none but he can help us to it. We all therefore have cause to be glad for the birth of this Savior.

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