The plan for mankind’s salvation was made long before Jesus was born. God predicted the dark day of sadness that was to come when he would be taking care of the body of Jesus.
Amos 8:9 Christian Standard Bible
9 And in that day—this is the declaration of the Lord God—I will make the sun go down at noon; I will darken the land in the daytime.
Luke 23:44 Amplified Bible
44 It was now about the sixth hour (noon), and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour (3:00 p.m.),
Psalm 31:5 21st Century King James Version
5 Into Thine hand I commit my spirit; Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.
Luke 23:46 Easy-to-Read Version
46 Jesus shouted, “Father, I put my life in your hands!” After Jesus said this, he died.
Psalm 34:20 Evangelical Heritage Version
20 He watches over all his bones; not one of them will be broken.
John 19:33 Jubilee Bible 2000
33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was dead already, they did not break his legs,
Isaiah 53:9 New Life Version
9 They gave Him a grave with the sinful, but with the rich at His death, for He had done no wrong, and there was nothing false in His mouth.
Luke 23:52-53 New English Translation
52 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and placed it in a tomb cut out of the rock, where no one had yet been buried.
Psalm 16:10 GOD’S WORD Translation
10 because you do not abandon my soul to the grave or allow your holy one to decay.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 Living Bible
3 I passed on to you right from the first what had been told to me, that Christ died for our sins just as the Scriptures said he would, 4 and that he was buried, and that three days afterwards he arose from the grave just as the prophets foretold.
All of the ancient prophecies surrounding the death of Jesus were fulfilled. Jesus knew these prophecies and spent his life making sure they all came true. His life’s mission was to do the will of his father in all things as he proclaimed the Kingdom of God. Why was Jesus so driven to complete his mission? What would have happened if Jesus failed? How are people forgiven of their sins?
When the Jews returned from Babylon to rebuild their temple in Jerusalem they had already been rebelling against God and his ways for centuries. After pleading with them for generations, God had Babylon punish them for their sins. Jesus told the Jewish leaders of his day, he was the one their faith was built on, he was the cornerstone they rejected. Later on, Paul explained how Jesus held the Old and New testaments together just as a capstone firmly ties a building together. Placed at the pinnacle of an arch, this special wedge shaped stone is often ornately decorated.
Ephesians 2:20-22 New Century Version
20 You are like a building that was built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Christ Jesus himself is the most important stone in that building, 21 and that whole building is joined together in Christ. He makes it grow and become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in Christ you, too, are being built together with the Jews into a place where God lives through the Spirit.
Luke 20:17-18 New Century Version
17 But Jesus looked at them and said, “Then what does this verse mean:
‘The stone that the builders rejected became the cornerstone’? Psalm 118:22
18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken, and the person on whom it falls, that person will be crushed!”
Jesus is both our foundational cornerstone and the capstone of our faith. You can fall onto the foundation’s cornerstone and be hurt, while the capstone of an arch will crush anyone it falls onto. Salvation completely relies on Jesus, the designer and completer.
Hebrews 12:1-4 Evangelical Heritage Version
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us get rid of every burden and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and let us run with patient endurance the race that is laid out for us. 2 Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who is the author of our faith and the one who brings it to its goal. In view of the joy set before him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of God’s throne. 3 Carefully consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinful people, so that you do not grow weary and lose heart.
How does the hostility of others affect your spiritual race? How can the lives of those who went before you, give you strength? How is Jesus your all in all? When we must believe in Jesus to be saved, how can Jesus save those who died before he did?
Jesus tells us we need to be drawn or called by God to him. He also said only those who believe in him can get to God. This seems to leave people not called by God, alienated from him through no fault of their own. Having not heard, they simply were not drawn to Jesus in the first place. Leaving them no possibility to believe in Jesus. Romans 10:11-15 in the American Standard Version explains how only those who learn of Jesus and call upon him can be saved.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be put to shame. 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek: for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich unto all that call upon him: 13 for, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 and how shall they preach, except they be sent? even as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad tidings of good things!
This process severely limits those who can be saved to those who are reached.
Most Christians believe those who don’t accept Jesus during this life are without hope, utterly lost to their sins and beyond salvation. However, God explains he wants all to be saved. He is love, and wants all of humanity to share in love with him.
2 Peter 3:9 GOD’S WORD Translation
9 The Lord isn’t slow to do what he promised, as some people think. Rather, he is patient for your sake. He doesn’t want to destroy anyone but wants all people to have an opportunity to turn to him and change the way they think and act.
This conundrum has caused some to question if Jesus really is the only path to God. They justifiably argue, those who never heard about Jesus, through no fault of their own, have no chance at salvation. Not learning of any other future possibilities, most of these thinkers turn away from Jesus and their Christian God of love, to follow the world’s spiritual imaganings. What are some of the ways other religions use to know God? Were the Bereans tempted to learn from the worldly religions around them? Where did the Bereans go to find Godly wisdom? Where should Christians seek Godly wisdom?