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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson

Praying for My People

My husband, Kyle, with his "guys group" celebrating a buddy's baptism!

Have I told you about the Greek word sozo? I’m pretty sure I have, but maybe you wouldn’t mind revisiting it. It’s what I’ve been thinking about lately. This amazing little word and its magnificent potential. Sozo is translated two ways in our New Testaments. Salvation and healing. I’m not sure how translators decide which word to use in which instance, because the truth is, sozo always means both. Salvation-healing.

A few examples…

Jesus to the bleeding woman—

Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace” (Luke 8:48 NIV).

 “Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has saved you. Go in peace” (Luke 8:48 CSB). 

Jesus to the leper who returned—

Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well” (Luke 17:19 NIV). 

And he told him, “Get up and go on your way. Your faith has saved you” (Luke 17:19 CSB). 

Jesus to the blind beggar—

Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you” (Luke 18:42 NIV). 

Receive your sight,” Jesus told him. “Your faith has saved you” (Luke 18:42 CSB). 

So which is it? Healed or saved? 

As you can see, it is both. Which is to say, whatever comes to mind when you think about “salvation”—think bigger!

Sozo is wholistic salvation, body, mind and soul. 

Sozo is total flourishing. 

Sozo is fullness of life. 

And sozo is very closely related to another Bible word. The Hebrew SHALOM. 

Often I pray “shalom” for my people. When a loved one is sick, or anxious, or seeking God’s guidance… “God, please bring the peace of shalom—body, mind, and soul.” Because we are wholistic beings, whether we know it or not, and our need is not one thing or another. Our need is for ALL of Jesus. 

We often think of Jesus’ “salvation” as saving from sin. And it is. But Jesus painted a much more nuanced picture of his saving life when he spoke of his Messianic mission. 

The Spirit of the Lord is on me,

because he has anointed me

to preach good news to the poor.

He has sent me

to proclaim release to the captives

and recovery of sight to the blind,

to set free the oppressed,

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

Luke 4:18-19

Do you see it? Body, mind and soul salvation. 

In each of the Luke passages, quoted above, Jesus connected faith with sozo.

If someone were to ask me right now… today… what do you believe about faith and salvation? I think I’d suggest they read this recent post— 

This was one of those times I felt like the Spirit did all the writing, and what he gave me was a beautiful picture of sozo-shalom. “You believe in things you cannot see.” 

I pray sozo-shalom for my people (for myself, too)—believing, but not always seeing. I trust God for wholistic healing, no matter the obstacles, regardless of what seems “possible” to me. I will not let my human wisdom stand in the way of Jesus’ salvation. 

In the words spoken to the “sinful” woman who poured her perfume on Jesus’ feet—

“Your faith has saved* you; go in peace” (Luke 7:50). 

*Bold font throughout this post indicates the Greek, sozo.

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