Essays On Jesus Christ

When studying the synoptic Gospels it becomes quite apparent that God is eager to establish a personal, loving relationship with all people through His Son, Jesus Christ. And Jesus is patiently waiting for all the people of the earth to accept His invitation: “I have been standing at the door and I am constantly knocking. If anyone hears me calling him and opens the door, I will come in and have fellowship with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20) This passage illustrates Jesus as a door through which we all must enter. And also that Jesus is willing to accept all people who turn to Him. Man or woman, rich or poor, empowered or enslaved, Jesus was sent here by God so that anyone who hears His message and believes in Him will be saved.

One of the key points of Jesus’ ministry was how the Kingdom of God is accessible to all people. This underlying theme is especially apparent in parables like “The Good Samaritan”, “A Lost Sheep”, and “A Lost Son”. These parables are used to explain how Samaritans, the lost, and sinners all can find their way back to God, and how they will be greeted and embraced by a loving Jesus. These stories illustrate one of Jesus’ main teachings, that all people who have faith in Him, will be accepted and embraced by God in heaven.

Jesus accepted all different types of people to be a part of His table fellowship. Many of His early followers were Gentiles, women, sinners, and tax collectors. The Pharisees often tried to call Jesus on this fact, asking him why he would surround himself with such people if he were truly the Son of God. Jesus replied to them, well people do not need medicine, but those who are sick do. Jesus Christ is willing to accept all people regardless of their sins. That is why He visited the home of the hated tax collector and promises eternal life to the dying criminal. Jesus is forgiving, and loving, and he came to save all the people of the world.

Even before Jesus’ birth, John the Baptist was announcing Jesus’ coming as, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Again Jesus’ universality is proved, it is the sin of the world that John the Baptist mentions, not the sin of the Jews. Through the constant usage of “the world” in these bible scriptures it becomes even more evident that Jesus Christ was sent to “the world”; to be a Savior and a Redeemer for both the Jews and the Gentiles. Jesus Christ broadened God’s acceptance of people. These new Christians, did not need to become Jewish, or obey “the law” in order to be accepted as a Christian, rather all they had to do was accept that Jesus was Christ and Lord, and that he died to redeem the world of its sins. This is the key to finding salvation in Christianity.

Jesus’ sermon, which appears in two Gospels make it clear that all people are blessed. It is notable the both the “poor” and “the poor in spirit” are mentioned. In Luke’s Gospel it meant the materialistic definition of the term, but in other Gospel refers to the “poor in spirit” meaning the Jews. The monotheistic people that still only believe in God, and not Jesus, and this makes them poor ideologically. But yet, this sermon goes on to bless all the different types of people, especially those who have had a hard life. Jesus is saying to have faith in God as He knows your needs and your troubles, and all will be taken care of in the Kingdom of God.

This theme that was recurrent throughout Jesus’ life and ministry becomes even more apparent after His crucifixion and resurrection. It is the resurrected Jesus who sends out the disciples with the Word for all the nations to hear. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke all close with Jesus sending His disciples on a mission. Luke’s gospel concludes that “All people of every nation must be told in My name”. Mark’s Gospel closes with “Go and preach the good news to everyone in the world. Anyone who believeth in me and is baptized will be saved”. Matthew quotes the risen Jesus as saying, “I have been given all authority in Heaven and on Earth! Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples”. When considering the repetition and placement of these verses within each Gospels , the main theme of both Jesus’ message becomes strikingly evident. Even the resurrected Jesus was concerned with saving the world. And that is why He sent out the disciples to all the nations.

After the crucifixion and resurrection, the Holy Spirit was sent to the Apostles. This Spirit was always present to remind the disciples that Jesus came to save both the Jews and the Gentiles, and that God wants people from every nation and race to become His children. The work of the Holy Spirit is especially apparent in Acts, when Phillip took Jesus’ message to Samaria for the first time, and also in the conversion of Cornelius, a captain from the Roman army. Who has an encounter with the “Holy Spirit” he was blinded for three days, upon regaining his sight he knew the truth.

Jesus Christ’s message has now spanned the globe. All countries, all nationalities have now heard the Word of God. Christianity has become one of the most dominant religions in the world, and the time for the Kingdom of God draws near. After studying the Gospels it becomes apparent that God wants all His children to come home, and so He made obtaining this redemption easily accessible for all people. To obtain God’s love one must first realize that Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin. It is only through Jesus, that one can come to know God personally, and experience God’s love. Every person must individually receive Jesus Christ through faith as Savior and Lord: it is only then that one comes to know God personally and experience His love; a love that through Jesus Christ was extended to all the people of the world.

Despite Jesus’ love being so easily obtainable, many people do not accept Him as the “Son of God”. Most of these people believe Jesus to be a great moral teacher, but do not accept the divinity of his claim. They do not believe, because they have no faith. This is increasing evident in our modernized technological society. Faith has been traded for science. This is even noticeable in our current dating system. For two thousand years, the humankind used B.C. and A.D. as a timeline for the world. It was only recently that it was changed to the less secular C.E. (common era) and BCE (before common era). These latter terms could almost be considered blasphemous from a Christian perspective. This dating system was not made simply to show the year of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, but to illustrate that Jesus Christ was the most important man that ever lived, and that his very presence renewed the world. The life and death of Jesus was the basis for our calendar system for over two millenniums, and now Jesus life and message has been forgotten by so many.

With the Christmas Season swiftly approaching, people’s lack of faith becomes ever more apparent. Most of the western world still celebrates this holiday, and it is still marked on calendars by its traditional name “Christmas”, but the true meaning of this holiday has been long forgotten over the years. It is a holiday that had originally celebrated the birth of “Jesus of Nazareth”, “The Christ”. There were festive songs that rejoiced in His name, “Hark, the Herald angels sings, Glory to the new born King”. But most of these traditions have come to pass. In Canada, due to our embracement of multiculturalism we have destroyed our national religion, Jesus’ religion. Some people are willing to accept some aspects of Christmas, just not the divinity of the holiday. And thanks to political correctness no one wants to offend these people, for example, the Canadian Postal Service is no longer calling December 25th “Christmas”, but rather now have it advertised as “The Day of Giving”. Day of Giving! And this is from a crown corporation. This is evident even more locally with the McKenzie Art Gallery’s Festival, in which they open refuted not to mention the word Christmas, but rather celebrated the Holiday Season. The western world has made a full circle with the acceptance and rejection of Jesus Christ. More people are denying him than ever before.

Jesus Christ is for all. This question has been repeatedly answered through Jesus’ life, ministry and message. The question that should really be asked is “Is there anyone for Jesus?” And how do these people who have turned their back on Jesus think they will be recognized in Heaven? If you’ve never called on Jesus name, then why should He know yours. The people of the world must realize that Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me’. All that people must do is accept Jesus into their lives, it makes so much sense in our present day world, a world filled with contempt, with greed, and with faithlessness, to turn away from technology and look back unto faith for the answers of this life. As it is only through this faith that people will realize that the story of Jesus of Nazareth is true, and that he died for all of us. He died so that all people: the young and the old, the sick and the healthy, the rich and the poor would all have a place in the Kingdom of God.

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Jesus Christ, also known as Jesus of Nazareth, is a Jewish teacher and reformer of religion who has become the central figure of Christianity. Christians follow the example of Jesus, accept his words to be true, and worship him as God. He is one of the most famous, most recognized, and most influential persons in the history of the world.[1][2][3][4]

Most historians agree that he was a Jew from a place called Judea, in a town called Nazareth, in what is now Israel. They also agree that he was thought of as a teacher and a healer, and that he was baptized by John the Baptist. He was crucified in Jerusalem on the orders of Pontius Pilate.[5][6][7][8][9] The Quran claims that Jesus was a Muslim.[10]

Jesus taught mainly love and forgiveness for others, as well as being humble about one's religion. He said that one must be mild, like a child, and never boast. He taught that people who ignore God and other people do not deserve his blessing, but God would still forgive them if they repented. Jesus opposed the other Jewish priests because they used religion to boast. This led to other Jewish leaders hating Jesus, because Jesus was trying to stop them. Jesus also opposed human authority, leading to the Roman authorities executing him because of his threat to their power.

There are stories about the life of Jesus by different writers. The best known are the four Christian books called the Gospels. They form the beginning of the New Testament, a part of the Bible. The word "gospel" means "good news". They tell a little about his birth and hidden early life, but mostly about his public life: his teachings, miracles, ministry, death, and resurrection (return from death). The four Gospels are named after their respective writers: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.[11]

Several Jewish and Romanhistorians, such as Flavius Josephus, Tacitus,[note 1]Pliny the Younger, and Suetonius include Jesus in their writings. They usually only tell of his execution or problems between the Roman government and his followers; they do not talk about his life, since his life was not a problem they had with Jesus.

Name[change | change source]

The name Jesus came from the Aramaic name "Yeshua", from HebrewYah-shua, meaning "God is salvation (or deliverance)" in English, and was a popular name of the time. Jesus is often called "Jesus Christ" or "Christ". The word Christ comes from the Greek word christos and means "the one marked on the head with oil" or "the anointed one". In Jesus' country, anointing was done to show that a person was chosen to be a king or a leader. Jesus is also called Messiah, which comes from the Hebrew term Moshiach, and also means "the anointed one".[12]

Life according to the Gospels[change | change source]

Birth[change | change source]

The Gospels of Matthew and Luke say that before the birth of Jesus, both Mary, His mother, and the man that she was promised to, Joseph, knew that Jesus was going to be the Messiah or King that had been promised to the Jewish people, in the ancient Jewish books.

Luke's Gospel tells most of the story. When Jesus was born, the Roman Empire ruled most of the Middle East. The Government wanted every single family to have their name taken down to be taxed, so everyone had to go back to the place where they came from. Joseph came from the small town of Bethlehem, near Jerusalem, so even though Mary was close to giving birth to her baby, they had to travel, with thousands of other people.

When they got to Bethlehem, every room was full. Jesus was placed in a manger as there was no room for them at the inn. Shepherds who were minding their sheep on the hillside came in to see the baby, and went away singing thanks to God for the newborn king.

In the Gospel of Matthew, it says that wise men from a far country saw a new star in the sky and traveled to find the young Jesus because they knew that the Messiah was going to be born under a star, and that the star was a sign that Jesus was born to be a king.

Most Christians celebrate the day that Jesus was born as the holiday of Christmas. Although the Gospels do not say what day Jesus was born, the date chosen was of December 25, because there was already a Roman holiday on that day.

Ministry[change | change source]

The arrival of Jesus was prophesied by John the Baptist. He baptized Jesus in the Jordan River. During the baptism, the Spirit of God, like a dove, came down upon Jesus, and the voice of God was heard. According to the Bible, the Spirit led Jesus into the desert where he fasted for 40 days. There, he resisted the Devil's temptations. Then Jesus went into Galilee, settled in Capernaum, and began to preach about the Kingdom of God. He was about 30 years old.

Jesus taught mainly by telling stories. He taught that God alone was the true king, and that people should love God and love each other as the scriptures told them to do. And he taught his followers how to pray. Jesus performed miracles that were signs of God's power, such as giving hungry people food and wine, healing sick people, and making dead people alive again. He also set people free from evil spirits.

Jesus gathered together twelve men, known as the Twelve Apostles, whom he chose and trained to spread his message. He had many other disciples, including many women, but because of Jewish customs, the women disciples could not travel to distant places on their own as teachers.

The Bible says Jesus became famous. He went to Jerusalem, where many were visiting the city for Passover. When they heard that he was coming, they greeted him as if he was a king. They thought he would free them from the Roman rule, but Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, as a sign that he came in peace.

Jesus did certain things which upset the Jewish religious leaders. They thought he showed disrespect for customs that the Jews had kept for many centuries. For example, Jews did no work at all on the 7th day of the week, the Sabbath, because it was a holy day. In John's Gospel, chapter 5, there is the story of Jesus healing a crippled man. Jesus saw a man lying on a mattress. He healed the man, and told him to pick up the mattress and go home. Carrying the mattress on the Sabbath was against religious custom, so the religious leaders argued with Jesus about it. They then watched everything he did, and remembered all the things that were against the religious customs.

In Mark's Gospel, chapter 11, it says that when Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, he went to the Jewish Temple. He became angry at what he saw. There were people selling things there, and money lenders who were cheating poor people. Jesus chased away all the people who were selling things. He said the chief priests and scribes had turned the temple into a den of thieves because they were making money from the poor and taking away homes from poor women who had no other way to pay for the temple worship.[13]

Death[change | change source]

The Gospels say that the temple leaders were angry and wanted to kill him. They told the Roman government that Jesus' followers wanted him to become the king of the country and take it over. The gospels say the Roman governor thought that Jesus should be set free, but that the Jewish leaders said, "If you do that, then you are not the friend of Caesar!" (Caesar was the Roman ruler.)

The Governor sentenced him to death because his followers had claimed he was king. The Roman soldiers killed Jesus by crucifixion. He was nailed up to a high cross by his hands and feet. This was a common way for the Romans to kill rebels and criminals.

Jesus' body was buried in a tomb which belonged to one of his followers. On the day after the Sabbath, early in the morning, women went to treat the body with spice and perfumed oil. But the Gospels say that the body of Jesus was gone, and that he was seen alive afterwards. This is called the Resurrection.

Some people, like the disciple Thomas, said, "I'm not going to believe this, until I have seen it with my own eyes!" But the Bible says that more than 500 people, including Thomas, saw Jesus alive again. There are many stories in the Gospels about what Jesus did after he was resurrected. Finally, the Gospel of Luke says that Jesus took his disciples to a hill, where he blessed them and told them to spread his teaching through all the world, and that then clouds came down, and he was lifted up to Heaven.

Most Christians celebrate the time that the Gospels say he died and was raised from the dead as the holiday of Easter.[note 2]

Christian beliefs about Jesus and his teaching[change | change source]

The Christian Church is founded on Jesus. The things that Christians believe about Jesus are based on the four Gospels of the Bible, and on letters or "Epistles" that were written in the 1st century, explaining Jesus' teachings to his followers.

Jesus did not write these letters. They were mainly written by a Jewish man named Paul. At first he tried to stop Christianity from spreading. Then he became a Christian himself and was an important leader. As Christian churches started in different towns and countries, Paul wrote letters to them. A lot of the ideas that Christians believe are written in Paul's letters. There is also lots of instruction for running churches and families.

There are other letters in the New Testament by other writers including Peter, James, and John. These letters all help to build the beliefs that modern Christians have.

See section: Other views about Jesus

Jesus as God[change | change source]

Whether or not Jesus is God has been argued about for a long time. Most Christians, including those from Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant denominations, believe Jesus was both God and man. Jesus is described in different parts of the New Testament as being "the Word of God", "the Son of God", "the Son of Man", and God himself.

These teachings, which are believed by most Christians, are not believed by many other people. The Islamic teaching is that Jesus was a prophet, but he was not part of God or the "Son of God". In Jesus' own time, many Jews became very angry at Jesus for saying that he was the "Son of God" and also because his followers said he was the "Messiah". Most Jews do not believe this.

These Bible verses tell the Christian teaching that Jesus is God:

" In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God." John 1:1-3, ESV
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14, ESV
"I and the Father are one." John 10:30, ESV
"To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen." Romans 9:5, ESV
"waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ." Titus 2:13, ESV
"For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily." Colossians 2:9, ESV

Jesus is also referred to as "the Son of God".

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14, ESV
"but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high," Hebrews 1:2-3, ESV
"And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life." 1 John 5:20, ESV. This letter is thought to be by the same John that wrote John's Gospel.

Many Christians believe that these verses say Jesus is God. All Christians believe that Jesus' death on the cross allows all people to be forgiven by God for their sins (bad things they have done). Most Christians believe that if a person asks God to forgive them He will do so, and they will get to live forever with him in Heaven.[14]

God in human form[change | change source]

Many Christians believe that, by the teaching of the Bible, Jesus was not only truly God but also truly human and that this was part of God's plan to bring humans closer to understanding him. People who do not have Christian beliefs, have different ideas about Jesus.[15][16]

Verses from the Bible:-

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us." John, 1:14

In Matthew's Gospel, Jesus is often called "the Son of Man". Matthew has borrowed these words from the Old Testament where they are often used to show that humankind is very far from God. In the Bible, God is often praised and thanked for helping ordinary humans, who are called "the sons of man". In Psalm 8, the writer, King David, asks God "what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?"[note 3]

In Matthew's Gospel, 24:30 Jesus says "Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." Like King David, in Psalm 8, Jesus is making a difference between his ordinary human life and his great power as the Son of God.

"The Good Shepherd"[change | change source]

One of the best-loved parts of the Old Testament is a song called Psalm 23. It starts:

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters."[note 4]

In the Gospels, Jesus often spoke about himself as being like a shepherd, caring for sheep. He called himself the "Good Shepherd" who would even give his own life, to protect his sheep. He told the Jewish people, referring to non-Jewish or Gentile believers, that he had "other sheep" that do not belong to this flock. (John, 21:16). In one of his last conversations with his disciple Peter, he told him, "Feed my sheep!", in other words "Take care of my people.".

"The Holy Saviour"[change | change source]

In Judaism, from ancient times, people are seen as sinful or bad. They need to be forgiven by God. They believed that there were two ways to get God's forgiveness, by prayer and by sacrifice. Prayer could be done anywhere, but sacrifices were done at the temple. A person would bring an animal, often a lamb, or if they were poor, a dove. They would put their hands on the animal to lay their sins on it. Then the animal would be killed, as a punishment for the sin. This type of sacrifice continued until the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 71 AD. Paying money to the temple was also a sort of sacrifice. When Jesus drove the traders out of the temple, they were the people who sold lambs and doves, and the people who exchanged Roman money into special temple money.

Part of Christian belief is that Jesus Christ did not just come as a human person so that he could teach a better way of life. Christians also believe that Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for the sin of humankind, that Jesus is the "Saviour": the one who is here to save. Christians believe that, unlike ordinary people, Jesus was completely pure and free from sin, but that when he died on the cross, he took on himself all the sins of every person who would believe in him, like the lamb sacrificed in the temple.[17]

Based on John's Gospel, Christian teaching is that the death and resurrection of Jesus are the sign of his power to forgive the sins of any person who turns to him and truly asks for forgiveness.[14] The Bible says that sinners who are forgiven should try to live a new life and not go back to their sinful behaviour. Christians believe that knowing about God's love helps people to live a new and better life.

These are three verses from the Bible that are important in this Christian belief:-

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." John's Gospel, 3:16.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John's Gospel, 14:6.

"If we say we have no sins, we are fooling ourselves and not telling the truth. But if we tell our sins humbly to God, then He has promised to listen and to forgive our sins and make us clean from all our badness." from the First Letter of John.

Other views about Jesus[change | change source]

Jesus as a teacher[change | change source]

Some people who are not Christians believe that Jesus lived at the time that the Gospels say, but do not believe that Jesus was the "Son of God" or "Savior". They believe that Jesus was an ordinary, but very good person, a teacher and perhaps a prophet.

Mohandas Gandhi said, "I am a Muslim, and a Hindu, and a Christian, and a Jew," even though he was born a Jain.

Muslim beliefs about Jesus[change | change source]

Muslims believe Jesus (under the name Isa) was the second-to-last Prophet (messenger of God). They believe that Muhammad was the very last Prophet. They believe that both Jesus and Muhammad were ordinary men, chosen by God to be his servant and teach the word of Islam.

Muslims do not believe that Jesus was God or "the Son of God". Islam is strictly monotheistic: it says that there is only one God. Muslims believe that Jesus cannot be part of God, because there is only one God. If someone other than God is worshiped, it is thought to be polytheism (belief in more than one god). It is also thought to be idolatry: idolizing someone other than God.

Islam teaches that Jesus did not die on the cross, but another man disguised as him went on the cross for Isa (Qur'an 4:157). This is very different from Christianity. Jesus' death is a very important part of the Christian belief about salvation. Muslims always say "peace be upon him" after saying Jesus' name as a sign of respect in short and Arabic a.s.

Muslims also accept some other teachings about Jesus. These teachings say that Jesus will return to the earth in the End Of Days; he will then destroy the false messiah or Anti-christ before the day of judgment. Muslims also accept Jesus' claims to be a healer. They believe in the many miracles he is said to have performed, like raising the dead to life and giving sight to the blind. They believe that all his miracles were granted to him from God.

The Qur'an (like the Bible), mentions the virgin birth of Jesus but then it says other things about Mary (Islamic-Maryam). The Bible says that Joseph helped Mary give birth to Jesus, but in Islam there is no Joseph. Instead, Mary walked the desert alone in labor and found a tree. The angel Gabriel (Jibreel) asked if she was hungry, then told her to shake the tree and dates fell for her to eat. Then he asked if she was thirsty and he said look down at your feet and there was water and there she gave birth to Jesus. (Qur'an 19) This is why Muslims fast and how they break their fast. Mary knew she had to go back to her town and when she did, with Jesus in her arms, the people were shouting at her for adultery. Mary wanted to explain herself but the Angel told her not to speak.

Jewish beliefs about Jesus[change | change source]

Even though Jesus was a Jew and his teaching came out of the Jewish religion, most Jewish people do not believe that Jesus was the Messiah that is promised in the Jewish Scriptures.

In the Gospels, it tells that Jesus made the Jewish teachers very angry with his teachings. It says that part of their anger was because he told them they were "hypocrites" which means that they externally made themselves appear to be living a holy life, but internally their hearts were far from God's.

In the Gospels, the other reason that they became angry was that Jesus acted as if he was the Messiah, and said he was the "Son of God". This meant that he was either a terrible liar, that he was mad and just imagined it, or that it was true. But Jesus did not seem to be mad. So that left only two choices. If Jesus was lying, then he was doing something badly against the Jewish religion. It was because of the claims that Jesus was the "Son of God" that some of the Jewish leaders wanted him killed and they handed him to the Roman rulers. The Romans did not care if Jesus said something that was against the Jewish beliefs. But they knew that people had also said that Jesus was "King of the Jews". The Jewish leaders claimed this was against the Roman Government's laws. Although the Roman leaders did not agree, they had him killed to prevent a possible riot.

Although, today and through history, most Jews do not believe what Christians say about Jesus, there are some Jews who do believe that Jesus was the Messiah promised in the Jewish Scriptures. Jews who believe this are called "Messianic Jews".

How the Gospels were written[change | change source]

Nearly all modern scholars, both Christian and non-Christian agree that Jesus was a real person. Both Christian and non-Christian scholars base their studies of him on the Gospels. They are believed to have been written between 60-90 AD.[18]

By tradition, the Gospels were written by four men, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John who gave their names to these books.[19] This is the order in which they are arranged in the New Testament of the Bible, but scholars think that it is not the order in which they were written. The Gospel of Mark was probably written before the Gospel of Matthew. The four Gospels all tell the story of the Life of Jesus, but they do it from four different points of view, because they were written by different people and each writer had reasons to tell it in a different way.

Other scholars have said that leaders in the Early Christian Church made changes to the Gospel writings. These changes are said to have happened at different times, in different ways and for different reasons. For example, one story was left out of many old versions of the Gospels. It is about Jesus rescuing a woman who had committed adultery (had sex outside marriage) and was about to be killed. St. Augustine of Hippo, (354-430 AD) wrote that this was probably was left out because some church leaders thought the story might cause people to act in a sinful way.[20] This story is in all modern Bibles and is thought to contain very important teaching for Christians.[source?] Other differences that can be found in versions of the Gospels are mostly small and do not make a difference to what is known about the life of Jesus and his teaching.[source?]

About Mark[change | change source]

See also: Gospel of Mark

Mark's Gospel, which is thought by biblical scholars to be the earliest, has the name of a young disciple of the apostle Paul who is mentioned several times in the "Acts of the Apostles" and Paul's Letters. The Gospel was probably written in Rome and is thought by scholars to be from the memories of Jesus' follower or disciple, Peter.[19] It does not tell about Jesus' birth; it starts when he was 30 years old, at the time when the disciples got to know him. It shows Jesus as a man of action: going around the country, teaching and healing people.

About Matthew[change | change source]

See also: Gospel of Matthew

Matthew's Gospel was written next. Matthew was one of Jesus' disciples. He was a Jewish man that was hated by other Jews because he worked for the Roman rulers as a tax collector. Matthew tells that one day Jesus saw him sitting at his desk in the market place and said "Follow me".[19] Most Biblical scholars believe that Matthew had read Mark's Gospel and decided to fill in some things that Mark left out, because, while Mark wrote his Gospel for the Church of Rome, Matthew wanted to write for Jewish Christians all over the Roman Empire.[19] Matthew was a well-educated Jew, so he knew the Jewish Scriptures, (which Christians also use and call the Old Testament of the Bible). Matthew knew the scripture teachings that the Messiah, or God's anointed one would come. In his Gospel, he often mentions these teachings. He also starts off by giving a list of Jesus' ancestors because this was important to Jewish readers.

About Luke[change | change source]

See also: Gospel of Luke

The apostle Luke was Greek and a friend of the apostle Paul. He was a doctor. Luke came to know about Jesus from the disciples. Luke writes about the birth and the childhood of Jesus and he says "Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them."[19]

Luke was not a Jew and he writes in a way that is easy for other people who are not Jews to understand. He explains Jewish customs and laws. He wrote a second book called the Acts of the Apostles which tells what the disciples did after Jesus had left them.

About John[change | change source]

See also: Gospel of John

It is believed by scholars of the Bible that John was a disciple of Jesus and was probably the youngest of the twelve men who were Jesus' main followers.[19] He lived to be an old man and, because of his teaching about Jesus, he was sent to a small island, called Patmos. John writes with one particular idea in mind. He wants to prove to the reader that Jesus is God's way of saving humans from the terrible problem of sin or evil. John starts by telling the reader that Jesus was (and is) God. John says that Jesus is God's Living Communication (or Living Word). Every part of John's Gospel is written to show that Jesus came from God, taught the Message of God and is the way for people to understand God's Love.[14]

Teaching with stories[change | change source]

Main article: Parables of Jesus

The Gospels tell many of the stories that Jesus told when he was teaching people about the way that God loved them and the way they should live. These are called parables. They include the following:

The Good Samaritan[change | change source]

Main article: Parable of the Good Samaritan

In this story from chapter 10 of Luke's Gospel, Jesus shows what it means to be a good neighbour. Near the Jews lived the people called Samaritans. They did not agree with each other about religious teaching, and were considered enemies. One day, a Jewish man was walking, when some robbers beat him up, robbed him, and left him naked and almost dead, by the road. A Jewish priest came along and saw him. He thought, "If I touch that naked bleeding man, I will be unclean and I will not be able to go to the Temple!" So he pretended that he had not seen him. Another Jew, a Holy Man, came along and acted in the same way. At last a Samaritan came along with a donkey. When he saw the wounded man he stopped. He washed his wounds with wine and olive oil. Then he put him on his donkey and took him to the nearest inn. He paid the innkeeper and said "Keep him until he is well, and whatever is owing, I will pay when I come back this way." Jesus said to the people who were listening "Which one of these people acted like a good neighbour?" They said "He that stopped and helped." Jesus said "You go and act the same way."

The Prodigal Son[change | change source]

Main article: Parable of the Prodigal Son

In this story from chapter 15 of Luke's Gospel, Jesus tells how a rich man had two sons. They would both get a share of his money, when he died. The younger son said, "Father, give me my money now, so I can go and enjoy myself, while I'm young." He took the money to the city, and spent it all on parties with his friends and other sinful things. Soon he had none left to feed himself and was ashamed. He got a job caring for pigs, a unholy meat to eat, just keep himself from starving. He said to himself, "I'll go home to my father and I will say, 'Father, I have sinned! Please let me be a servant in your house!'" When his father saw him coming, he ran along the road to put his arms around his son. The father said, "Bring the finest clothes! Kill the fattest calf to make a feast!" When the elder brother heard all this, he was angry and said, "I'm a good son to you, but you never even gave me one little goat to have a party with my friends!" The father said, "You have always been with me. I love you greatly, and all I have is yours, but my son who was lost is now found! My son who seemed to be dead is alive! Be happy with me!" Jesus said that this is the way God loves and forgives his people, when they ask for forgiveness.

Related pages[change | change source]

Notes[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. ↑
  2. ↑
  3. ↑
  4. ↑
  5. Brown, Raymond E. (1994). The death of the Messiah : from Gethsemane to the grave : a commentary on the Passion narratives in the four Gospels. The Death of the Messiah: From Gethsemane to the grave: a commentary on the Passion narratives in the four Gospels. New York: Doubleday, Anchor Bible Reference Library: Doubleday. p. 964. ISBN 978-0-385-19397-9. 
  6. ↑Cohen (1987). pp. 78, 93, 105, 108.
  7. ↑Crossan. pp. xi—xiii.
  8. ↑Grant, Michael. pp. 34–35, 78, 166, 200.
  9. ↑Meier, John P. (1993). 1:68, 146, 199, 278, 386, 2:726. Sanders. pp. 12–13.
  10. ↑"When Jesus found unbelief on their part He said: Who will be My helpers to(the work of) Allah? said the disciples;"We are Allah's helpers We believe in Allah and do thou bear witness that we are Muslims". Surah 3 al Imran, verse 52
  11. ↑The Bereans, "Apologetics Ministry
  12. GCSE Religious Studies: Complete Revision and Practice. Coordination Group Publications. 2009. p. 105. ISBN 9781847624062. 
  13. ↑Mark 11:17,18 and Mark 12:40
  14. Tolerance
  15. "Comparison Chart: Religious Views of Jesus". 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  16. Fitzgerald, Michael (2014). "Christ and the other religions". Commission for Interreligious Dialogue. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  17. ↑Religious Tolerance- Salvation
  18. ↑Mark D. Roberts, Are the New Testament Gospels Reliable?
  19. Patrick Holding, The New Testament- Gospel Dates, Gospel Authors, Gospel Freedoms,[1]
  20. ↑Augustine, De Adulterinis Conjugiis 2:6–7, Cited in Wieland Willker, A Textual Commentary on the Greek Gospels, Vol. 4b, p. 10.

Further reading[change | change source]

  • Allison, Dale. Jesus of Nazareth: Millenarian Prophet. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1999. ISBN 0-8006-3144-7
  • Brown, Raymond E. An Introduction to the New Testament. New York: Doubleday, 1997. ISBN 0-385-24767-2
  • Cohen, Shaye J.D.. From the Maccabees to the Mishnah. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1987. ISBN 978-0-664-21911-6
  • Cohen, Shaye J.D. The Beginnings of Jewishness: Boundaries, Varieties, Uncertainties. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001. ISBN 0-520-22693-3
  • Crossan, John Dominic.
    • The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant. New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993. ISBN 0-06-061629-6
    • Who Killed Jesus?: exposing the roots of anti-semitism in the Gospel story of the death of Jesus. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1995. ISBN 978-0-06-061671-7
  • Davenport, Guy; and Urrutia, Benjamin (trans.) The Logia of Yeshua: The sayings of Jesus. Washington, DC: Counterpoint, 1996. ISBN 978-1-887178-70-9
  • De La Potterie, Ignace. The hour of Jesus: The passion and the resurrection of Jesus according to John. New York: Alba House, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8189-0575-9
  • Durant, Will. Caesar and Christ. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1944. ISBN 0-671-11500-6
  • Ehrman, Bart. The Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. ISBN 0-19-514183-0
  • Ehrman, Bart. The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. ISBN 0-19-515462-2
  • Fredriksen, Paula. Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews: A Jewish Life and the Emergence of Christianity. New York: Vintage, 2000. ISBN 0-679-76746-0
  • Fredriksen, Paula. From Jesus to Christ: The origins of the New Testament images of Christ. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0-300-08457-3
  • Finegan, Jack. Handbook of Biblical Chronology, revised ed. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1998. ISBN 1-56563-143-9
  • Robinson, John A. T. Redating the New Testament. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2001 (original 1977). ISBN 1-57910-527-0.
  • Sanders, E.P. The Historical Figure of Jesus. London: Allen Lane Penguin Press, 1993. ISBN 978-0-7139-9059-1
  • Sanders, E.P. Jesus and Judaism. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1987. ISBN 0-8006-2061-5
  • Theissen, Gerd; Merz, Annette (1998). The historical Jesus : a comprehensive guide. Minneapolis: Fortress Press. ISBN 0800631226. 

Other websites[change | change source]

Matthew tells that wise men from the East came to bring precious gifts to the baby Jesus (painted by Giotto in 1300)
Jesus riding into Jerusalem, is greeted by crowds of people who use their cloaks and branches to make a carpet for him. Giotto, 1300
This mosaic from 1100, Athens, shows Jesus as Judge of the Earth.
Jesus painted by Rembrandt, Dutch, 1600s. Rembrandt used a Jewish man as his model.
A broken statue of Jesus crucified, from Germany about 1000 AD.
Dating from 4th century Rome, this is the oldest known picture of Jesus showing him as a bearded semitic man, rather than a shaved, short-haired Roman.
Jesus as a child, with his mother, Mary. This picture is called "Theotokos of Kazan".
A church window with the story of The Good Samaritan.
  1. ↑Tacitus tells about the death of Jesus in his Annales: Perseus-Project: Annales 15,44 In the passage, Tacitus talks about the burning of Rome, which Nero attributed to the Christians (or Chrestians): Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.
  2. ↑Easter is not held on the same date every year, because Jesus' death is always remembered on a Friday called "Good Friday". Easter is celebrated the first Sunday following the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. This means it can be celebrated in March or April. Western churches, like the Roman Catholic Church, use the Gregorian calendar and Eastern churches, like the Eastern Orthodox Church, use the Julian calendar. Because of this, the date of Easter celebrations is different for these two types of churches even though the way they calculate the date is the same.
  3. ↑Paraphrased.
  4. ↑This is one of many songs or "psalms" are believed to have been written by David, a shepherd boy who became the King of Israel and was a great musician. Matthew's Gospel shows that Jesus' father was the direct descendant of King David.

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