Jesus of Nazareth

It is generally accepted accepted that Jesus had a real historical existence – historians
writing close to his time mention him.

Jesus lived in Palestine in the Middle East.

At the time of Jesus’ birth the Jewish people were hoping for the arrival of a Messiah (a person whom God would send to help free them from their enemies). Those who followed Jesus later came to believe that he was that predicted Messiah. Jews do not believe that, and continue to expect the coming of the Messiah.

Jesus was born around the year 4 BCE, in Bethlehem, but his childhood was spent in the town of Nazareth.

The New Testament’s account of Jesus life is heavily influenced by the views of the early Christian church. They do not cover the period between his childhood and the last three years of his life.

The story of Jesus’ birth at Bethlehem is probably the most widely known story in the whole world.

Christians’ believe that Jesus was both human and divine – that although Jesus was God, his divinity did not prevent him also being fully human. Jesus’ mother, Mary, was a human woman. Christians believe that she became pregnant with Jesus through the action of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was born Jewish and lived all his life as a Jew.

Jesus spent the key period of his life as a traveling teacher in the area known as Galilee. The New Testament describes Jesus’ ministry in depth, from his Baptism by John, his work in Caesarea Phillipi and his Ministry in Galilee after his temptation in the desert by the devil. Jesus’ teaching centres on the Kingdom of God, the Works of the Kingdom and the citizens of the Kingdom.

He taught a lot of the time through parables. The transfiguration is an important aspect showing the divinity of Christ prior to the journey and arrival in Jerusalem before his death. He was put on trial by the Romans after the Sanhedrin had found him guilty of blasphemy on an account of insurrection.

Jesus was executed by crucifixion (suspended by nails from a cross until he died) around 32 CE. Crucifixion was a painful and degrading form of execution, reserved for criminals by the Romans.

Christians believe that Jesus rose from the dead (The Resurrection) after his crucifixion, and was seen by many people before he returned to be with God in heaven.

Christians believe that Jesus’ death by crucifixion was an act of atonement – but they differ as to what “atonement” actually means.

The most common understanding of atonement is that by dying on the cross, Jesus made it possible for those who believed in him to overcome the separation from God that sin and death cause. In other words the way was reopened to God.

Christians believe that Jesus will return to the earth (“The second coming”) on The Day of Judgment to see if we are have followed his path. Those who have will go to heaven whilst those who have not will be exiled from God’s love for eternity (hell).