Jesus

Jesus was a real person. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Israel during a census where people returned to the city of their birth to be counted. Though born in Bethlehem, Jesus’ father Joseph lived in Nazareth, about sixty miles north in the Province of Galilee. The accounts of Jesus’ birth are documented in Matthew (1:18) and Luke (2:1). The birth is more romantic in Matthew while Luke sets more of an historical tone. Still, it is clear that something special has happened with the birth of Jesus and Jesus will indeed become famous in his lifetime and within one hundred years will have shown the world the path to a loving, caring God.

He was greatly enlightened for his time and had powerful charisma. He spoke of a new loving God and became an influential rabbi throughout Galilee, a province in northern Israel. Some authors divide the ministry of Jesus into three categories: the early period, which includes his birth and many special trips to be baptized, to be tempted by Satan and to throw out the money changers in Jerusalem; the Galilean ministry, a period when his travels were exclusively within the Province of Galilee; the later period, when Jesus traveled over all of Israel until the time of his crucifixion. Because he lived during a period when the Jewish Old Testament was the law and history of Israel, he had to perform many acts of healing, preaching, and eventually, if he were to be the (Jewish) Messiah, travel triumphantly into Jerusalem. He arrived in Jerusalem simply but the crowds were large and cheering.

The issue of being the Messiah is the likely reason that the Old Testament and the New Testament are joined in the Bible. Early Jewish followers and writers wanted Jesus to be recognized as Messiah, a specially anointed person and the Savior of Israel. These writers penned as many validations as possible to “prove” that, in terms of the Old Testament law describing the coming Messiah, Jesus qualified as that Messiah. What the earliest writers did not know was that in just a few years, Gentiles would become the larger group of followers who kept the idea that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God. Consequently, there is a period after Jesus’ death where converted Jews and Gentiles integrated the two interpretations of the term Messiah, forever bonding the Old Testament to the New Testament. Finally, later writers began to describe the Sanctity of Jesus in his own right as the Son of God, the Christ, sent to earth to forgive the world of its sins, not just the salvation of Israel.

Jesus indeed was the Son of a new God. Jesus was God on earth. The life and teachings of Jesus are so phenomenal even today that his faith, his sacrifice and love for others, his giving of his life on the cross at Calvary have created a new world order not bound by fear, self interest and greed. There is a new order, closer to God, closer to a common love between all people, a new order that allows us to respond to the never-ending love of a God we would not have known without Jesus.

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