I am working on some historical data about Jesus and wanted to know historically where the saying, “Jesus saves” originates. I know that when people say “Jesus saves, ” they are talking about saving souls; however, I am certain the original saying was meant to be that Jesus saves physically, because He healed the sick.
I am not aware of any historical data that tells us when the phrase “Jesus saves” was first used. There was a church called “The Church of the Open Door” in Los Angeles, California which had two large “Jesus Saves” neon signs on top of the church in the 1900s. This was the first building for the original Bible Institute of Los Angeles. But we can be confident someone used the phrase before that. There are also hymns with the title, Jesus Saves.
Jesus Saves Spiritually
The phrase Jesus saves does not even occur in the Bible. However, it is implied in the following verses.
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (NASB) Acts 16:31
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. (NASB) 1 Timothy 1:15
Nowhere in the New Testament is the phrase or even an implication used to refer to healing the sick. Jesus’ main reason for coming to earth was to heal not the physically sick but the spiritually sick. He came to save all of us sinners!
Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (NASB) Luke 5:31-32
Jesus Saves The Sick
When Jesus came to this world, He also came to heal the sick. He felt compassion for us. This was predicted in the Old Testament and recorded in the New Testament as fulfilled prophecy. For example in Matthew, Jesus had just healed several people and then the following passage is recorded.
This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases.” (NASB) Matthew 8:17
Jesus did this during His ministry on this planet. He healed many! But we must remember that His primary purpose for coming was to heal not our physical bodies but our spiritual souls.
And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins. (NASB) Matthew 1:21