How does Man receive salvation? This has been the primary question of every culture since Man can remember. Thus, every religion provides a way to save ones self, except Christianity, which states humans cannot save themselves and require a savior.
Faith in Jesus Christ
The Gospel Message. Who is saved? While this is not a question Christians should be asking, it is probably the question most frequently asked. The answer is those who've heard and truly responded to the Gospel. The Gospel appears throughout Scripture as it is contextualized for various cultures (Luke 24:44-49; Acts 2:14-39; Acts 17:22-31; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11) and can all be distilled to these basic tenets: Every person has broken their relationship with God due to sin and the punishment for sin is physical and spiritual death (Romans 6:23). However, God's mission has been to seek all humans in order restore His relationship with them. Thus, God became a man, His son Jesus Christ, to take the penalty for sin and offer His right standing so that whoever has faith that Christ took their sin and repents will receive forgiveness for their sins. Those who have been saved are called to proclaim the Gospel to all others. Accepting the Gospel is a spiritual transaction, not an assent of belief, opinion, or understanding. Hence, anyone the transaction has been conducted for is saved, even if their theology of the process is deficient.
The Gospels only record Jesus speaking seven times while hanging on the cross. Since the cross was the climax and fulfillment of His mission, these words are not idle or inane. Listed chronologically and explained below, these words included: 1
Is Man basically good? Or evil? One's worldview ultimately boils down to whether or not mankind needs to be regenerated or not. The logical outflow from there informs the rest of an individual's beliefs. If humans don't need to be regenerated, how does one account for evil? Does evil exist at all? If humans do need to be regenerated, what has corrupted them? How are they restored? Thus, the origins of Man and his actions are foundational to the understanding Man's present condition and next steps.
Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday resulting in THE day of Conquest! When the women visited the tomb they found the soldiers gone and the stone rolled away...and it was empty. When they reported it to the disciples, Peter & John found it empty. Then Jesus started making many post resurrection appearances, first with Mary Magdalene & the other women, then the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, then finally to the disciples in multiple instances starting in the Upper Room. Jesus commissioned His disciples to continue His mission to all the nations of the world in his authority. He then appeared to them over a period of 40 days opening their minds to all the Scriptures said about Him. These 40 days included a trip to Galilee to receive the Great Commission, and then again in Jerusalem He gave them the Great Commission (again!) before blessing them and ascending to Heaven awaiting His second coming.
Saturday was the Sabbath, a day of rest in which no work was done...except the guards who were busy guarding the tomb, but they weren't Jews.
Good Friday, THE day of consummation, began early with a trial with Annas, a Jewish trial at Caiphus house (where Peter denied Christ), a trial in the temple with the Sanhedrin (when Judas hung himself), a Roman trial with Pilate, a Galilean trial with Herod Antipas, & final trial with Pilate again as he tried to avoid crucifying Christ via flogging, scourging, and releasing Barabbas. Once convicted for sedition (misinterpreting Christ's kingly claims), Christ was mocked by Roman Soldiers with a crown of thorns, then stripped and beaten. Christ was then led to Golgotha carrying His own cross (until Simon of Cyrene had to intervene), where He was nailed to the cross, which was erected between two criminals and bore the message “This is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” The soldiers, Pharisees, & crowds derided Christ, but He prayed for their forgiveness. When the thief repented Christ promised him paradise. Christ then assigned his familial responsibilities to John. At noon when darkness covered the land Christ lamented separation from God as He took on God's wrath. Christ then fulfilled Psalm 69:21 saying “I thirst.” Christ died after two final words: “It is finished,” & “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” as Jesus voluntarily died at the completion of His mission. At His death there was an earthquake in which the temple curtain was torn and saints were resurrected and appeared to many, resulting in the belief of many including the Roman Centurion. His body pierced to confirm death, Jesus's body was laid in a tomb covered with a stone and guarded by Roman soldiers.
Consecration occurred Thursday, with divine preparations for the Passover meal and the Upper Room Discourse where Jesus' washed His disciples' feet, identified His betrayer, redefined greatness, foretold Peter's denials, and instituted the Lord's Supper. The Discourse continued covering worldly opposition, the Holy Spirit, and prayer for all believers while walking to the Garden of Gethsemane. Once there, Jesus prayed all night asking God to change the plan, but Jesus accepted His mission as Judas arrived with soldiers to arrest Jesus.
Wednesday was a day of Conspiracy as Judas agreed to betray Jesus. Judas goes to religious leaders asking how much they will pay Him to turn Jesus over to them. They give him 30 pieces of silver and speed up their plans to take Jesus now instead of waiting until the crowds disperse.
On Tuesday, a day of Controversy, the Twelve find the cursed fig tree withered which Jesus uses an illustration for Faith, stating that even a little bit of faith can move mountains. Then Jesus' authority is questioned in the Temple courts by three groups . Deflecting questions on His authority, paying taxes and resurrection, Jesus asks questions regarding John the Baptist, and three parables on Israel's displacement when none will answer, and His relationship to David. Once silence reveals the guilty, Jesus pronounces woe oracles. Later, Christ gave the Olivet Discourse to His disciples to speak prophetically about the temple which they marveled, signs of the end times, and His own second coming as they walked to the Mt. of Olives. Jesus concluded with five parables on being watchful and faithful.
Jesus then returned from Bethany Monday morning beginning a day of Confrontation. First He cursed the fig tree for making a splashy show of leaves but not having any fruit for He was hungry. This was an enacted parable for the Temple cleansing that immediately pursued (this is actually the 2nd Temple cleansing in Jesus' ministry).
Since the gospels are Passion narratives with extended introductions, and the crux of the Christian faith occurred in this ten day span, correctly chronicling its key events is paramount. Only after piecing the Gospels together chronologically can a true picture of what transpired be accounted for. The events of Passion week began Friday, “six days before Passover” (Mark 12:1), in Bethany at the home of Lazarus and his two sisters Mary and Martha. The night Jesus arrived, probably after sunset, Mary anointed Jesus' feet with costly perfume, wiping them with her hair. Jesus' defends this act as preparation for His burial when Judas Iscariot complained of the unnecessary waste.