The Roman Emperor Augustus issued a decree in 6 BC that a census be taken of the entire Roman world. As a consequence a carpenter called Joseph was forced to register in his hometown of Bethlehem. He was accompanied by his young pregnant fiancé, Mary, whose baby had been conceived by the Holy Spirit.
The baby was named Jesus meaning "Yahweh is salvation". He was born inauspiciously in a cave in Bethlehem thus fulfilling a prophecy in the Jewish sacred book of Micah, and laid in an animal's feeding trough.
Jesus' name translated from Hebrew to English would be 'Joshua'. We get the name 'Jesus' by translating the Hebrew name to Greek to Latin to English.
After hearing of King Herod's intentions of slaying all children aged two years or younger, due to his concern that the anointed King of the Jews had recently been born, Mary and Joseph, along with the baby Jesus, were forced to flee to Egypt.
After Herod's death, Mary and Joseph returned to Palestine. From about the age of 6, Jesus would have received some education from a teacher paid for by the Nazareth synagogue, using used what we now know as the Old Testament as his textbook.
Jesus excelled in his early schooling: the Bible tells us in Luke 2 that the 12- year-old Jesus astounded the nation’s foremost teachers at the Temple Courts in Jerusalem.
Jesus Christ probably was olive skinned, clean shaven, (or possibly a short cropped beard, it was a known fashion of third century Jews.) It was only in the fourth century that images of Christ showed him with a beard.
Saint Paul said it was disgraceful for men to have long hair in 1 Corinthians 11 v 14, so it was unlikely Christ had long hair.
Jesus was a keen fisherman; He relaxed by taking out a boat onto the middle of the lake. He also gained much strength by praying to his Father in heaven.
Jesus had plenty of platonic friendships with women, which was unusual in his culture. However his main friendships were with the twelve disciples who he trained up to spread the Christian message. Of the disciples he was closest to John. It is thought He knew the majority of them before his public ministry started.
We know that Jesus was able to read from Luke 4 v 18 where He reads out an Old Testament passage to the congregation in the temple.
Around 26 AD a cousin of Jesus, John the Baptist, was going round Jerusalem and Judea baptizing in water all who came to him and confessing their sins. He was announcing the Christ's imminent coming.
After Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, He commenced his public ministry during which He traveled around towns and villages healing the sick, casting out demons and proclaiming the coming of the kingdom of God.
A researcher has calculated that the total miles Jesus walked during the three years of his public ministry was 3,125 miles.
The first public miracle that Jesus performed was turning water into wine. Unlike His Nazirite cousin, John the Baptist, Jesus was happy to imbibe wine and He attracted criticism from various quarters for His willingness to drink and mix with tax collectors and "sinners".
Many who were not virtuous people before such as a prostitute called Mary and a crooked tax collector called Zacchaeus were attracted to Christ's message because of His willingness to socialize and drink with the unpopular members of society and many saw their lives transformed.
Jesus' attributed his healing gifts to His heavenly Father, whom He glorified when performing His miracles and many became His followers after He'd ministered to them. Possibly Jesus' most remarkable miracle was the raising of His friend Lazarus from the dead. Another time He healed a paralyzed man by forgiving his sins. (It was a common belief in Jewish culture at the time that sickness was the result of sin).
DEATH AND RESURRECTION
33 AD was the likely year of Jesus’ crucifixion and rising from the dead according to the Bible and earthquake research. It would have been in late march early April as it took place around the Jewish holiday of Passover.
Just before His crucifixion, Jesus and his twelve disciples participated in The Last Supper, a Passover meal where He predicted his imminent betrayal and death as a sacrifice for the sins of humanity. The meal was roast lamb eaten in its entirety served with bitter herbs and unleavened bread.
The house where they were eating was daubed with the blood from the freshly slaughtered lamb. In referring to the bread as His body and the wine, His blood and bidding the disciples to participate of each, Jesus instigated the Eucharist/Holy Communion/Mass.
Jesus was open in his criticism of the hypocrisy of the religious Jews which made Him unpopular among the ruling classes. He also made many enemies among the Jewish religious leaders with his declarations that He was the Son of God. On the morning following the Last Supper, He was arrested on trumped up charges and led away to be crucified.
Before He was nailed to the cross, Jesus was offered wine to drink mixed with gall, which is a narcotic for deadening pain. The Savior of the World refused to drink it as he wanted to retain a clear mind and be fully conscious on the cross. Because of His willingness to suffer for us without any medical help, we are now free to approach God without our sin getting in the way.
Jesus endured a horrendously painful death on the cross as a sacrifice for all our sins. By this means He enabled everybody who believes in the innocent sufferings of the crucified Christ as being counted by God as perfectly righteous. In other words, Jesus created a way out of the consequences of sin for all those who follow him.
|Bronzino's depiction of the Crucifixion with 3 nails, no ropes, and a hypopodium standing support, c. 1545.|
Jesus' body was buried in a tomb which belonged to one of his followers, Joseph of Arimathea. On the day after the Sabbath, early in the morning, some women went to treat the body with spice and perfumed oil, only to find the body of Jesus had gone, This is called the Resurrection.
Only a few days later, the risen Christ was appearing to his followers. Jesus spent 40 days training and encouraging them before ascending up to heaven.
Around ten days after Jesus' Ascension, on the Jewish feast called Pentecost, His followers were meeting together when they experienced the sound of a mighty rushing wind and tongues of fire coming down on them. This, one of the Disciples, Peter, explained to the crowd immediately afterwards, was the coming of the Holy Spirit, as foretold by the prophet Joel.
The Bible tells us that there will be Second Coming when Jesus Christ will return to earth. Most English versions of the Nicene Creed include the following statements: "...He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end. ... We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come."
Josephus, the Jewish historian, who was governor in Galilee in 66 A.D., wrote a history of the Jews from Adam through the time of Nero. His book was called the Antiquities of the Jews. He mentioned three references to Jesus including one about Jesus’ relationship with his brother James who was put to death by the Sanhedrin.
The Jewish Talmud contains eight references to Jesus Christ. All are designed to discredit him. For example, one refers to the hanging of Jesus and mentions his practice of sorcery. Another ridicules the virgin birth and claims that Mary and a Roman soldier were his birth parents.
Both first century Roman historians, Tacitus and Suetonius make references to Christ and to his followers. Tacitus reports Nero’s persecutions and mentions that Christ was executed very the reign of Tiberius by the procurator Pontius Pilate. Suetonius mentioned the expulsion from Rome of the who caused a great tumult under the influence of Christ.
Hundreds of second century documents refer to, or are written about, Jesus.
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all wrote biographies of Jesus written within 70 years of his death. These make up the gospels in the Bible.
Among the many fine oratorios and masses that Jesus has inspired possibly the most well known is Handel's "The Messiah" Other musical genres that comes from the Christian faith include hymns, carols and gospel music.
In 1927 H.B. Warner took the role of Jesus Christ in Cecil B. DeMille's biblical cinematic epic King Of Kings. DeMille forbade the actor from pursuing such non-biblical activities as playing cards, riding in convertibles or swimming during the film's shooting.
Today, the Christian faith, based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ is the world's largest religion with about 2.4 billion adherents.
41% of Americans say Jesus Christ will return to Earth by 2050, according a 2015 Pew Research Center survey.