Jesus Christ, (Christ means King, Messiah) was born about 2,000 years ago in Israel. You can read more about this in the Bible in the gospel of Luke. The arrival of Jesus as Messiah (savior, anointed one) was predicted centuries earlier by many prophets. More than 50 predictions have become reality during His lifetime on earth.
Jesus was born in the village of Bethlehem and grew up in Nazareth. The first 30 years of His life on earth He lived as a traditional Jew, as the son of a carpenter. At that time Israel was occupied by the Romans. Around the age of 30, He began to teach people about God and did many miracles. Although He never traveled more than about 300 kilometers from His place of birth during his lifetime, He became known throughout all the land of Israel and beyond. He soon was attracting attention from the Jewish population but also with the Roman occupiers.
Some important lessons that He teached;
- God loves you and wants to share His love with you
- Love other people as much as you love yourself. Even love your enemies.
- The great value of every person
- The judgment whereafter man goes to heaven or hell
- God forgives the people who ask for forgiveness and who want to put God in first place in their lives
For the religious Jewish people the most shocking message that Jesus had was that He indicated that He is the Son of God. In their view, that was blasphemy and violation of the religious laws. That is why the religious leaders asked the Roman government to condemn Jesus to death penalty.
Yet Jesus was found innocent by the Roman leaders and even the Jewish leaders had to acknowledge that other than the claim that Jesus called himself Son of God, there was nothing wrong about his life. Jesus lived without any sins and lived according to the Jewish laws. Nevertheless, the Jewish religious leaders managed with some political arguments that the Roman governor approved the death penalty.
Jesus was condemned to death in the most terrible way, namely on a cross. At a cross someone is hung on his hands. A degrading death whereby the air is pushed out of the lungs of a person by the hanging position.
But this physical pain was certainly not all. He also suffered for all the sins of the people during His crucifixion and was abandoned by God. Jesus died on the cross after 3 hours. (See Luke 22)
Despite the fact that more than 500 people witnessed His death, Jesus rose from his grave after 3 days. With this He showed to be truely God and that even death had no control over Him. After His resurrection, He traveled through Israel for another 40 days and appeared to many people. Then he returned to Jerusalem and then left the earth by ascending to Heaven. (Read Acts 1)
Partly as a result of the wonderful events, the number of followers of Jesus grew rapidly. Only a few months after Jesus left the earth, about 3000 followers were added in Jerusalem every day. The religious leaders tried to stop this by destroy the new ‘Christians’. But many followers rather died than to deny their trust in Jesus and God.
In less than a century, the message of Jesus spread throughout the Roman Empire (Asia and Europe) and is now known throughout the world. The fact that God has sent his Son to earth to save the people has radically changed billions of lives.