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Jesus Saves
Goaltender of your salvation.
For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.

... Passes to Moses... GOAL!!!

...and takes half damage! or ...everyone else takes full damage!

... often, so he doesn't have to start over when his computer crashes.

... Carlos invests.

... Buddha does incremental backups.

... but George Nelson withdraws!

... But Muhammed took his capital.

Jesus is really cool. He'll totally save your butt if you believe in Him, with the coincidental side-effect that afterwards you believe in Him even more. Sometimes, He'll save your butt even if you're an unbeliever. This always makes you accept Him as your life and heart.

As you can see, "Saves" has a couple of possible definitions here. Jokes about hockey or computers aside, Jesus is most likely to save you in a spiritual sense, that is, you have a Heel-Faith Turn and repent from your sins, trusting Jesus instead and probably taking a level in kindness. This saves you from the effects of being a sinner, since God will forgive you because of your faith in Jesus, with the added bonus that you'll go to heaven when you die. Jesus may also save you from a bad life situation, protecting you from harm or helping you get back on your feet. This will almost invariably result in the first kind of salvation as well; nobody who's been thinking about Jesus that much will walk away from that car accident saying, "Fwhew. That was close. Thank goodness for airbags and modern metallurgy!"

This is a major trope in Christian literature, especially evangelical literature aimed at a secular audience (it may, in fact, be the definition of such). Done poorly, there will be an undercurrent of the horror, or at least the difficulty, of maintaining your faith in the face of the Really Bad Shit that made you turn to faith in the first place. Or it could appear like popping a Jesus pill—just accept Him, and you'll be cured of cancer, drug addiction, and homosexuality! Just like that! Poof!

Done well, it would portray said Faith as Trust as much as Belief — you can trust in Christ with your soul because He paid the price for your sins. It won't be a cure-all for life's ills but would give the new believer a newfound feeling of purpose in the world, or at least a Get Out Of Hell Free Card.

In Real Life, discussing God's omnipotence and whether or not he directly intervenes in physical events is a hobby among some Christians. It goes up and down the spectrum, some believe that yes, God micromanages everything and the only reason it doesn't make sense to you is because his plan is too vast and complicated for you to comprehend. (The word used is "ineffable.") Others feel that he doesn't interfere because humans are only free to choose with free will and random events being present. There's a gazillion variations of this.

Look out for the Writer on Board, whether it's being straight or done as a subversion. The more the story is an Author Tract, the more you can expect to see Easy Evangelism resulting from a Suspiciously Specific Sermon. See also Glurge.

Often a big component of a Heel-Faith Turn. May overlap with, but should not be confused with, Deus ex Machina.


Examples:

General Media
  • Some Supernatural Fiction may express this, if the point is that God's power literally makes (for example) crosses repel agents of evil, like vampires. The trope may end up subverted in the narrative as a whole.

Comic Books
  • Every Chick Tract. Ever. It's the whole point. In fact, there are only two real types of tract: the "Jesus prayer", where the person being preached at accepts him and "gets saved", and the "Hell chuck", where they don't accept him and get chucked into the Lake of Fire in the last or second-to-last panel. Sometimes both in the same tract.

Film
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou?, in addition to being a retelling of The Odyssey, has strong themes of redemption. Even after the main characters are legally absolved of their crimes by the governor (who was piggybacking on the popularity of their song; they were literally redeemed through music), they are still pursued by the sheriff with the dark glasses (who is implied to be The Devil himself), indicating perhaps there exists a higher justice than Man's. George Clooney's worldly atheist character throws himself on the mercy of God in prayer in desperation, and is saved by a flash flood, a thematic reference to either the Biblical Flood or the act of baptism (both of which are meant to purge sin in either a global or local sense). He immediately chalks it up to coincidence.

Literature
  • Flannery O Connor both invokes this trope and subverts it. Her stories are deeply religious southern Gothic horrors, which essentially hold that faith is fundamentally necessary, just as it is fundamentally horrific.
  • For an interesting and different perspective, read Paradise Lost, in which Jesus, in a chariot and armed with a bow and arrow, takes on the army of rebelling angels led by Satan. It's partly Jesus' fault that Satan is rebelling (Satan got so jealous of Jesus' special status that he mounts a rebellion to try to give himself the recognition he believes he deserves). Technically, though, Jesus is only called "Son of God" exclusively throughout the poem and its sequel, Paradise Regained.
  • Well done in Jane Eyre. Part of Mr. Rochester's redemption, after a big helping of Break the Haughty, is that he prays to God once more, with sincerity and humility. Charlotte Brontė's own father was a minister, so it's to be expected.
  • Occurs very frequently throughout The Bible, obviously enough. Aside from The Four Gospels themselves, there's also the Acts of the Apostles which records the adventures of the first disciples to spread the message that Jesus Saves, and the Book Of Romans which explains what that message looks like.

Music
  • The song "Jesus Take the Wheel", about a woman who quite literally lets go of the steering wheel to let Jesus take it during an accident. And then the song continues, using this as a metaphor for a life gone wrong. Some may find it Anvilicious; others certainly don't.
  • The Savatage song "Jesus Saves", from Streets: A Rock Opera, was about a drug dealer, DT "Downtown / Detox" Jesus, became a rock and roll superstar. "Jesus saves" was both the catch phrase of his junkie customers getting their fix and of his fans.
  • There is a whole genre of Christian Rock, and many other forms of Christian Contemporary Music and older styles. Funnily enough, many of them enthuse about Jesus' power to save.

Video Games
  • In Grand Theft Auto II, Jesus literally Saves - the church is used as a save point.
    • Ditto in Breath of Fire II. Even at the churches of Saint Evan.
    • In Dragon Quest VIII, the church uses religious terms for acting as an inn, poison center, and, you guessed it, save point.
      • Dragon Quest games have fluctuated a bit on this. Healing was usually done at a standalone inn, and saving was commonly done by Royalty rather than by churches, but revival, curse removal, and poison removal have always been a function of churches, except in the very early games where the churches were Bowdlerised into Houses of Healing for the American release due to Nintendo's censorship policies.
    • In Wonderboy III The Dragons Trap churches are save points (or rather "retrieve password" points).
  • In Medieval II Total War, a Priest unit's Piety rating not only affects how good he is at converting areas to your religion and killing heretics, but it will also protect him from Assassins. Jesus really does Save (or Allah Saves if you're playing as a Muslim faction, or Deivas Saves if you're playing as pagan Lithuania). But seriously, it's more likely explained by the fact that a more powerful and influential priest would have better/more bodyguards, or that the man is viewed so highly as a saint that they dare not attack him for fear of reprisal.

Web Animation
  • Parodied in the Fan Vid Metal Gear Awesome, where Snake rips off his own ear, and curses "Ow, my ear, Jesus!". Jesus shows up not two seconds later and heals Snake, who thanks him.

Web Original
  • The foobar2000 plugin "foo_jesus" periodically saves copies of your settings.

Western Animation
  • Subverted in South Park, where Jesus is a recurring character and, in the early seasons, a talk-show host. He can sometimes be called by prayer to save the day, but seems to show little interest in saving souls. In mortal form he has no superpower but his "resurrection power" and extremely fast carpentry. Satan can easily kick his ass in boxing. The priest Father Maxi shows surprisingly little interest in having him around.
  • On a episode of Drawn Together Clara tells a drowing Wooldor that Jesus will save him. Cue to Jesus in lifeguard outfit who however doesn't show any interest in doing that.
    Jesus: Look at that Heeb pretending to drown. Those folks kill me.
  • Jesus Zoidberg?
    Mayor: My God, it's the real Robot Santa! Save me, Jesus!
    Zoidberg: I help those who help themselves! (Santa shoots at him, he runs)


If Jesus Then AliensJesusJesus Taboo
Jacob and EsauBiblical MotifsSamson And Delilah
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