Jesus (born around 4 BC) is the man whose life and teachings started the Christian religion. He was a Jew and came from a town called Nazareth in Galilee, in the country that is today called Israel. Christians believe that Jesus the human is also God the son.
The name Jesus comes from the Aramaic name "Yeshua," from Hebrew Yehovah-shua, meaning "God saves." Jesus is also 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, this was done to show that a person was chosen to be a king or a great leader. The Hebrew term Moshiach, where we get the word "Messiah," also means "the anointed one."
Stories about Jesus are in the New Testament of the Bible. They were written by people who followed Jesus and believed in him. They tell a little about his birth, and mostly about his teachings, ministry and death as an adult.
Jesus in the Bible
In the Bible the book of Luke says that when Jesus was born the Roman Empire had made his mother Mary and her husband Joseph travel to Bethlehem, where they had to stay where the animals lived. The book of Matthew says wise men from another country came to find the young Jesus in a house in Bethlehem because they had seen a star -- a sign that Jesus was born to be a king.
When Jesus grew up, he travelled around the country teaching by telling stories. He taught that God alone was the true king, and that people should love God and love each other as the Hebrew Bible said. Jesus did 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.
The Bible says Jesus began to become famous, and he went to the city of Jerusalem. Jesus argued with the Jewish leaders. He rejected the Jewish temple as it was, and chased away people who were selling things there. He said the chief priests and scribes had turned the temple into a den of robbers because they were making money from the poor and taking homes from poor women. The temple leaders were angry and wanted to kill him. They convinced the Roman government that he wanted to become the king of the country and take it over. The Romans killed him by nailing him to a cross and leaving him without food or water. This was a common way for the Romans to kill rebels and criminals.
The Bible says Jesus was buried in a cave. After a few days, God raised him from the dead and more than 500 people saw Jesus alive again. The Bible tells a range of stories about what Jesus did once he was alive. Some describe him travelling through the sky to Heaven.
Whether or not Jesus is God has been argued about for a long time. All Christians, including Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Christians, 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 even God himself. The following Bible verses are shown as proof of the Bible teaching that Jesus is God:
The next two verses are the most famous ones that describe Jesus as God. They were written by the Apostle John in his Gospel.
"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
Later in the Gospel of John, Jesus says this:
"I and the Father are one." John 10:30, ESV
Then the Jews picked up stones to throw at him. And Jesus asked them why they were going to kill him. They said this: "It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy because you, being a man, make yourself God." John 10:33
The Apostle Paul wrote the next three verses.
"Christ is God over all, blessed forever." Romans 9:5, ESV
"[We are] waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ." Titus 2:13, ESV
"In [Jesus] the fullness of the deity dwells bodily." Colossians 2:9, ESV
These next verses appear in the Book of Hebrews:
"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. 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." 1:2-3, ESV
This next verse was written by a man named John, said by many to be the same one who wrote the Gospel of John:
"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
Most Christians believe that these verses say Jesus is God and they think it is a heresy (crime against religion) to not believe Jesus is God. Most Christians believe that Jesus's death on the cross allows all people to be forgiven by God for their sins (bad things they have done). If a person asks Jesus to forgive them, by praying (talking to God) then he will forgive them and they will get to live forever with him in Heaven.
Some people follow Jesus without claiming he is God. These people generally do not follow only the Christian Bible. They follow other works such as the Qur'an. Muslims consider Jesus (under the name Isa) to be the second-to-last Prophet (messenger of God), and Muhammad to have been the very last Prophet. They do not think either of them were God. Muslims do not believe Jesus died on the cross or rose from the dead. They believe he went up to Heaven without dying. Muslims always say "peace be upon him" after saying Jesus's name as a sign of respect.
Some People accept Jesus as a moral example without any connection to a God. Mohandas Gandhi said "I am a Muslim, and a Hindu, and a Christian, and a Jew" but he was born a Jain. He worked hard in his life to make all of the followers of all these religions respect each other. This is how many people see Jesus too - that he tried to get Jews and Romans to make peace. If he died just to prove that their judgement was unfair, without being God, then, some people think that makes him even greater. However C.S.Lewis argued that if Jesus was not really God, then he must have been mad or evil for claiming to be Him, and clearly he was neither of those things.
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- Mark 11:17,18 and Mark 12:40