Four Steps to Salvation
April 23, 2021
From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raise up on the third day (Matthew 16:21).
To show that His crucifixion was no accident, that it wasn’t a last ditch effort to save us because nothing else had worked, Jesus revealed the plan had already been ‘set in stone’. Jesus would not ‘go with the flow’ of events as they transpired; He would be in complete control of the events.
First, He must go to Jerusalem. The name means ‘foundation of peace’. The ancient King Melchizedek was king of Salem - ancient Jerusalem (Genesis 14:17-20). Mount Moriah, where Abraham was to sacrifice Isaac (Genesis 22:1-2), would later become the place where King Solomon would build the Temple in Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 3:1). But in the days of Jesus the ‘City of God’, as it was known, had become a city of godlessness.
Second, He must suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes. The elders were the tribal leaders, the chief priests were the Sadducees, and the scribes were the Pharisees. These constituted the Sanhedrin - the Jewish High Council. They were the religious leaders who should have known God’s Messiah. Instead they condemned Jesus and had Him crucified.
Third, He must be killed. The word used here does not reflect a legal death (execution), but murder. The death of Jesus, from a human standpoint, was murder because the trials that were held to condemn Jesus were illegal. In fact, He had been condemned by the Sanhedrin at the very beginning of His ministry. Witnesses were bribed. Many of the rules that governed a holy and righteous trial were dismissed, overlooked, or ignored.
Fourth, He must be raised up on the third day. Just as the first three ‘musts’ were to be fulfilled as planned, so would the fourth. Jesus not only ‘would’ be resurrected, He ‘must be’ resurrected. It was as important a part of God’s plan as the other three. Without the resurrection, the crucifixion of Jesus is meaningless - He would be just another martyr for a religious cause. Because He was resurrected, God’s plan of salvation is proven to be true.
I find it interesting, but sad, that people will believe Jesus stood trial and was condemned by the Sanhedrin, just as He said, that He was crucified, just as He said, in Jerusalem, just as He said, but they won’t believe He was resurrected, just as He said.
“Father, thank You for maintaining sovereign control over the plan of salvation so that nothing we could have done would have altered that plan. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for holding to that plan so that we could be saved. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for giving our Lord all that was necessary to see the Father’s plan of salvation through to its ultimate conclusion. To You be all praise and glory and honor forever, Amen.”