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Greek Word Study - Save

Behind our word “save” lies an interesting word in the original Greek (sozo -- SODE zo). Besides the obvious meaning of “rescue,” this word sozo was also used of healing and making whole.

One day Jairus, the ruler of a synagogue, fell at Jesus’ feet. “My daughter is dying,” he cried. “Make her well again!” The word he used was sozo (Mark 5:23). Jesus and a great crowd set off for Jairus’ house. Among the crowd was a woman who had suffered a flow of blood for twelve years. “If I can touch even the garment of Jesus,” she thought, “I will be made whole” (Mark 5:28). The word she used was sozo.

When Jesus “saved” these two people he made them whole. They were rescued from affliction and restored to proper health. Similarly, salvation means being rescued from sin AND being restored to wholeness. Zaccheus is another case in point. After he met Jesus and also got his shady finances in order, Jesus said that salvation (wholeness) had come to his house (Luke 19:9).

Unfortunately, not everyone wants this kind of salvation. They want to be rescued, but that's all. They want to be forgiven, but no more. They have no real interest in being “made whole” and getting their entire lifestyle made right. They want to pick up their ticket to heaven but stay as long as possible in the present kind of life, which they really prefer.

What if Jesus had saved Jairus’ daughter from dying, but left her just as sick as before? She would not die--but neither could she really live. She needed more than an escape from death; she needed to be made whole. And so do we.