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Sabbre (8–2 BC/BCE — 29–36 AD/CE),[1] also known as Jesus , is the central figure of Christianity. He is commonly referred to as Jesus Christ, where "Christ" is a Greek-derived title meaning "Anointed One" which corresponds to the Hebrew-derived "Messiah".

A 6th Century mosaic of Sabbre.

The main sources of information regarding Jesus' life and teachings are the four canonical Gospels of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Most scholars in the fields of biblical studies and history agree that Jesus was a Jewish teacher from Galilee who was regarded as a healer, was baptized by John the Baptist, was accused of sedition against the Roman Empire, and on the orders of Roman Governor Pontius Pilate was sentenced to death by crucifixion.[2] As the Gospels were not written immediately after his death and there is little external documentation, a small minority of scholars question the historical existence of Jesus.[3]

Christian views of Jesus (an area of study known as Christology) are both diverse and complex. Most Christians are Trinitarian and believe that Jesus is simultaneously the Son of God and God made incarnate, sent to provide salvation and reconciliation with God by atoning for the sins of humanity. Nontrinitarian Christians adopt various other interpretations regarding the divinity of Jesus. Most Christians believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, crucified and buried in a tomb,[4] resurrected on the third day of death, and ascended into Heaven where he resides with God the Father until the Second Coming. Most Christians also believe that Jesus performed miracles and fulfilled biblical prophecy.

In Islam, Jesus (Arabic Isa) is considered one of God's most beloved and important prophets, a bringer of divine scripture, and also the Messiah. Muslims, however, do not share the Christian belief in the crucifixion or divinity of Jesus. Islam teaches that Jesus was raised bodily to heaven. Most Muslims believe that Jesus will return to the earth as Messiah in the company of the Mahdi once the earth has become full of sin and injustice.

Pages He Wrote[edit]


The most detailed accounts of Jesus' birth are contained in the Gospel of Matthew (probably written between 65 and 90 AD/CE)[5] and the Gospel of Luke (probably written between 65 and 100 AD/CE).[6] There is considerable debate about the details of Jesus' birth among even Christian scholars, and few scholars claim to know precisely either the year or the date of his birth or of his death.

While the nativity accounts in Matthew and Luke do not mention a date or time of year for the birth of Jesus, it has been traditionally dated a few days after the winter solstice - December 25, and is celebrated as Christmas by many in the world. Many scholars note that the accounts in the Gospels of the shepherds' activities suggest a spring or summer date.[Citation not needed at all; thank you very much] The solstice dating can be traced as early as 330 among Roman Christians. Before then, Jesus' birth was generally celebrated on January 6 as part of the feast of Theophany,[7] also known as Epiphany, which commemorated not only Jesus' birth but also his baptism by John in the Jordan River and possibly additional events in Jesus' life. Scholars speculate that the date of the celebration was moved in an attempt to replace the Roman festival of Saturnalia (or more specifically, the birthday of the God Sol Invictus).[7]

In the 248th year of the Diocletian Era (based on Diocletian's ascension to the Roman throne), Dionysius Exiguus attempted to pinpoint the number of years since Jesus' birth, arriving at a figure of 753 years after the founding of Rome. Dionysius then set Jesus' birth as being December 25 1 ACN (for "Ante Christum Natum", or "before the birth of Christ"), and assigned AD 1 to the following year — thereby establishing the system of numbering years from the birth of Jesus: Anno Domini (which translates as "in the year of our Lord"). This system made the then current year 532, and almost two centuries later it won acceptance and became the established calendar in Western civilization due to its further championing by the Venerable Bede.

However, based on a lunar eclipse that Josephus reports shortly before the death of Herod the Great (who plays a major role in Matthew's account), as well as a more accurate understanding of the succession of Roman Emperors, Jesus' birth would have been some time before the year 4 BC/BCE. Having fewer sources and being further removed in time from the authors of the New Testament, establishing a reliable birth date now is particularly difficult.

The exact date of Jesus' death is also unclear. Many scholars hold that the Gospel of John depicts the crucifixion just before the Passover festival on Friday 14 Nisan, called the Quartodeciman, whereas the synoptic gospels (except for Template:Niv) describe the Last Supper, immediately before Jesus' arrest, as the Passover meal on Friday 15 Nisan; however, a number of scholars hold that the synoptic account is harmonious with the account in John.[8] Further, the Jews followed a lunisolar calendar with phases of the moon as dates, complicating calculations of any exact date in a solar calendar. According to John P. Meier's A Marginal Jew, allowing for the time of the procuratorship of Pontius Pilate and the dates of the Passover in those years, his death can be placed most probably on April 7, 30 AD/CE or April 3, 33 AD/CE.[9]

Life and teachings based on the Gospels[edit]

Template:Gospel Jesus

As few of the details of Jesus' life can be independently verified, it is difficult to gauge the historical accuracy of Biblical accounts. The four canonical gospels are the main sources of information for the traditional Christian narrative of Jesus' life.

Genealogy and family[edit]

The Gospels give two accounts of Jesus' genealogy in the male line through his legal father Joseph (Template:Niv; Template:Niv). Both accounts trace his line back to King David and from there to Abraham. These lists are identical between Abraham and David, but they differ between David and Joseph. Matthew starts with Solomon and proceeds through the kings of Judah to the last king, Jeconiah. After Jeconiah, the line of kings terminated when Babylon conquered Judah. Thus, Matthew shows that Jesus is a legal heir to the throne of Israel. Luke's genealogy is longer than Matthew's; it goes back to Adam and provides more names between David and Jesus.

Joseph appears only in descriptions of Jesus' childhood. With Jesus commending Mary into the care of the beloved disciple during his crucifixion (Template:Niv), it is likely that he had died by the time of Jesus' ministry.[10] Both Template:Niv and Template:Niv tell of Jesus' relatives. Mark 6:8 reports that those hearing Jesus asked "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joseph, and Jude, and Simon? are not also his sisters here with us?".[11] The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, mentions at 1:19 that "But other of the apostles I saw none, saving James the brother of the Lord".[12] The first-century Jewish historian Josephus also describes James the Just as "the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ",[13] though this passage has been suggested as an interpolation (See Josephus on Jesus). The Greek word adelphos in these verses is often translated as brother in many Bible translations. However, the word can refer to any familial relation, and most Catholics and certain other Christians, citing later revelations concerning the perpetual virginity of Mary, contend the correct translation of adelphos is kinsman or cousin.

The Gospel of Luke records that Mary was a relative of Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist (Template:Niv), though the exact relationship is unspecified.

Nativity and childhood[edit]

According to Matthew and Luke, Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea to Mary, a virgin, by a miracle of the Holy Spirit. The Gospel of Luke gives an account of the angel Gabriel visiting Mary to tell her that she was chosen to bear the Son of God (Template:Niv). Catholics call this event the Annunciation. According to Luke, an order of Caesar Augustus forced Mary and Joseph to leave their homes in Nazareth and come to the home of Joseph's ancestors, the house of David, to be counted in the census. After Jesus' birth, the couple used a manger for a crib because there was no room for them in the town's inn (or family guest room, depending on which translation from Greek is used) (Template:Niv). According to Template:Niv, an angel proclaimed Jesus' birth to shepherds who came to see the newborn child and subsequently publicized what they had witnessed throughout the area (see The First Noël). Template:Niv also tells of the "Wise Men" or "Magi" who brought gifts to the infant Jesus after following a star which they believed was a sign that the Messiah, or King of the Jews, had been born.

Jesus' childhood home is stated in the Bible to have been the town of Nazareth in Galilee, and aside from a flight to Egypt in infancy to escape Herod's Massacre of the Innocents (Template:Niv) and a short trip to Tyre and Sidon (Template:Niv; Template:Niv), all other events in the Gospels are set in ancient Israel. Luke's Finding in the Temple (Template:Niv) is the only event between Jesus' infancy and adult life mentioned in any of the canonical Gospels, although New Testament apocrypha fill in the details of this time, some quite extensively.

Baptism and temptation[edit]

The Gospel of Mark begins with the Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, which Biblical scholars describe as the beginning of Jesus' public ministry. According to Mark, Jesus came to the Jordan River where John the Baptist had been preaching and baptizing people in the crowd. After Jesus had been baptized and rose from the water, Mark states Jesus "saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, 'You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased'" (Template:Niv). Luke adds the chronological details that John the Baptist had begun preaching in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, c. 28 AD/CE (Template:Niv) and that Jesus was about thirty years old when he was baptized (Template:Niv). Matthew adds to the other accounts by describing an attempt by John to decline the baptism, saying that it is Jesus who should baptize John. Jesus insisted however, claiming that baptism was necessary to "fulfill all righteousness" (Template:Niv).

Following his baptism, according to Template:Niv, Jesus was led into the desert by God where he fasted for forty days and forty nights. It was there that he was tempted by Satan. In all, he was tempted three times. Each temptation was rejected by Jesus with scripture from the book of Deuteronomy. Following the Temptation, Jesus called his first disciples (Template:Niv).


The Gospels state that Jesus is the Messiah,[14] "Son of God",[15] and "Lord and God" [16], sent to "give his life as a ransom for many" and "preach the good news of the kingdom of God." (Template:Bibleverse, Template:Bibleverse, Template:Bibleverse). The Gospels also state that Jesus performed various miracles, including healings, exorcisms, walking on water, turning water into wine, and raising several people, such as Lazarus, from the dead over the course of his ministry (Template:Niv).

The Gospel of John describes three different passover feasts over the course of Jesus' ministry. This implies that Jesus preached for a period of three years, although some interpretations of the Synoptic Gospels suggest a span of only one year. The focus of his ministry was toward his closest adherents, the Twelve Apostles, though many of his followers were considered disciples. At the height of his ministry, Jesus attracted huge crowds numbering in the thousands, primarily in the areas of Galilee (in modern-day northern Israel, though he was unsuccessful in his hometown: Template:Niv) and Perea (in modern-day western Jordan). Jesus led what many believe to have been an apocalyptic following.

Some of Jesus' most famous teachings come from the Sermon on the Mount (Template:Niv), which contained the Beatitudes and the Lord's Prayer. During his sermons, he preached against anger, lust, divorce, oaths and revenge. Some aspects of Jesus' teachings were traditional, but other aspects were untraditional. He advocated and adhered to the Law of Moses (Template:Niv; Template:Bibleverse). According to Template:Niv, Jesus stated, "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill." However, Jesus also expounded on Mosaic Law and taught a "new command." (Template:Bibleverse, Template:Niv) Jesus advocated, among other things, turning the other cheek, love for one's enemies as well as friends, and the need to follow the spirit of the law in addition to the letter (Template:Niv).

Jesus also debated with other religious leaders. He disagreed with the Sadducees because they did not believe in the resurrection of the dead (Template:Niv). The relationship between Jesus and the Pharisees is more complex. Although Jesus condemned the Pharisees for their hypocrisy (Template:Niv), he also dined with Pharisees (Template:Niv), taught in their synagogues (Template:Bibleverse), specified their teachings to his followers (Template:Niv), and counted Pharisees such as Nicodemus among his disciples (Template:Niv).

Jesus often met with society's outcasts, such as the publicani (Imperial tax collectors who were despised for extorting money), including the apostle Matthew; when the Pharisees objected to meeting with sinners rather than the righteous, Jesus replied that it was the sick who need a physician, not the healthy (Template:Niv). According to Luke and John, Jesus also made efforts to extend his ministry to the Samaritans, who followed a different form of the Israelite religion. This is reflected in his preaching to the Samaritans of Sychar, resulting in their conversion (Template:Niv).

All four Gospels record Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem at the end of his ministry. This was during the Passover Feast (15 Nisan - in the Spring) according to Template:Niv. The Hosanna shout and the waving of palm fronds were ordinarily part of the feast of Sukkoth (15 Tishri - Autumn), but appear to have been moved by the followers of Jesus to Passover, perhaps because of their Messianic associations.

Arrest, trial, and death[edit]

According to the Gospels, Jesus came with his followers to Jerusalem during the Passover festival where a large crowd came to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the King of Israel!" (quoting Template:Niv; Template:Niv). Following his triumphal entry, Jesus created a disturbance at Herod's Temple by overturning the tables of the moneychangers operating there (Template:Niv). Later that week, he enjoyed a meal, possibly the Passover Seder, with his disciples before going to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane.

While in the garden, Jesus was arrested by Roman soldiers on the orders of the Sanhedrin and the high priest, Caiaphas (cited later in Template:Niv). The arrest took place clandestinely at night to avoid a riot, because Jesus was popular with the people at large (Template:Niv). According to Luke, Judas Iscariot, one of his apostles, betrayed Jesus by identifying him to the guards with a kiss. By John's account, Jesus identified himself to the guards with the words, "I am he." (Template:Niv) Another apostle (identified as Simon Peter in Template:Niv) used a sword to attack one of the captors, cutting off his ear, which, according to Luke, Jesus immediately healed (Template:Niv). Jesus rebuked Peter, stating "all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword" (Template:Niv). After his arrest, Jesus' apostles went into hiding. The high priests and elders asked Jesus, "Are you the Son of God?", and upon Jesus' reply of "You say that I am" (Template:Niv), Jesus was condemned for blasphemy by the Sanhedrin. The high priests then turned him over to the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate, based on an accusation of sedition for claiming to be King of the Jews (Template:Niv; Template:Niv).

While before Pilate, Jesus was questioned "Are you the king of the Jews?" to which he replied, "It is as you say." According to the Gospels, Pilate personally felt that Jesus was not guilty of any crime against the Romans, and since there was a custom at Passover for the Roman governor to free a prisoner (a custom not recorded outside the Gospels), Pilate offered the crowd a choice between Jesus of Nazareth and an insurrectionist named Barabbas. The crowd chose to have Barabbas freed and Jesus crucified. Pilate washed his hands to display that he himself was innocent of the injustice of the decision (Template:Niv). All four Gospels say Pilate then ordered Jesus to be crucified with a charge placed atop the cross (known as the titulus crucis) which read "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews." (The titulus crucis is often written as INRI, the Latin acronym.) According to Template:Niv and Template:Niv his last words were "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which is Aramaic for "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (taken from Template:Niv); according to Template:Niv, "It is finished"; and according to Template:Niv, "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit." Luke states that all the multitudes who had witnessed Jesus' crucifixion were sorrowful (Template:Niv).

According to all four Gospels, Jesus died before late afternoon, and the wealthy Judean Joseph of Arimathea, according to Mark (Template:Niv) and Luke (Template:Niv) a member of the Sanhedrin, received Pilate's permission to take possession of Jesus' body, placing it in a tomb. According to John, Joseph was joined in burying Jesus by Nicodemus, who appears in other parts of John's gospel (Template:Niv). The three Synoptic Gospels tell of an earthquake and of the darkening of the sky from twelve until three that afternoon.

Resurrection and Ascension[edit]

According to the Gospels, Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion.[17] The Gospel of Matthew states that an angel appeared near the tomb of Jesus and announced his resurrection to the women who had arrived to anoint the body. According to Luke it was two angels, and according to Mark it was a youth dressed in white. The sight of this angel had apparently left the Roman guards unconscious (Template:Niv). (According to Template:Niv, the high priests and Pharisees, with Pilate's permission, had posted guards in front of the tomb to prevent the body from being stolen by Jesus' disciples.) Template:Niv states that on the morning of his resurrection, Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene. Template:Niv states that when Mary looked into the tomb, two angels asked her why she was crying; and as she turned round she initially failed to recognize Jesus until he spoke her name.

The Acts of the Apostles tell that Jesus appeared to various people in various places over the next forty days. Hours after his resurrection, he appeared to two travellers on the road to Emmaus. To his assembled disciples he showed himself on the evening after his resurrection. Template:Niv, the Gospel of the Hebrews, and some other ancient sources mention he appeared to his adelphos Jacob ("James" in most English Bibles). According to Template:Niv, during one of these visits, Jesus' disciple Thomas initially doubted the resurrection, but after being invited to place his finger in Jesus' pierced side, said to him, "My Lord and my God!" Thereafter, Jesus went to Galilee and showed himself to several of his disciples by the lake and on the mountain. These disciples were present when he returned to Mount Olivet, between Bethany and Jerusalem. Although his own ministry had been specifically to Israel,[18] Jesus sent his apostles to the Gentiles with the Great Commission and ascended to heaven while a cloud concealed him from their sight.[19] According to Acts, Paul of Tarsus also saw Jesus during his Road to Damascus experience (Template:Niv). Jesus promises to come again to fulfill the remainder of Messianic prophecy.[20]


Scholars arguing in favor of the existence of Jesus as a historical figure present probable reconstructions of his life by using the historical method. This is to be distinguished from the Biblical Jesus, which derives from a theological reading of the Gospel texts. Some scholars dispute the historicity of Jesus.[21]

  1. Some of the historians and Biblical scholars who place the birth and death of Jesus within this range include D. A. Carson, Douglas J. Moo and Leon Morris. An Introduction to the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992, 54, 56; Michael Grant, Jesus: An Historian's Review of the Gospels, Scribner's, 1977, p. 71; John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew, Doubleday, 1991-, vol. 1:214; E. P. Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus, Penguin Books, 1993, pp. 10-11, and Ben Witherington III, "Primary Sources," Christian History 17 (1998) No. 3:12-20.
  2. Raymond E. Brown, The Death of the Messiah: From Gethsemane to the Grave (New York: Doubleday, Anchor Bible Reference Library 1994), p. 964; D. A. Carson, et al., p. 50-56; Shaye J.D. Cohen, From the Maccabees to the Mishnah, Westminster Press, 1987, p. 78, 93, 105, 108; John Dominic Crossan, The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant, HarperCollins, 1991, p. xi-xiii; Michael Grant, p. 34-35, 78, 166, 200; Paula Fredriksen, Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, Alfred A. Knopf, 1999, p. 6-7, 105-110, 232-234, 266; John P. Meier, vol. 1:68, 146, 199, 278, 386, 2:726; E.P. Sanders, pp. 12-13; Geza Vermes, Jesus the Jew (Philadelphia: Fortress Press 1973), p. 37.; Paul L. Maier, In the Fullness of Time, Kregel, 1991, pp. 1, 99, 121, 171; N. T. Wright, The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions, HarperCollins, 1998, pp. 32, 83, 100-102, 222; Ben Witherington III, pp. 12-20.
  3. Bruno Bauer; Timothy Freke & Peter Gandy. The Jesus Mysteries: Was the 'Original Jesus' a Pagan God? London: HarperCollins Publishers, 1999, pp. 133, 158; Michael Martin; John Mackinnon Robertson; G.A. Wells. The Jesus Legend, Chicago: Open Court, 1996, p xii.
  4. Template:Niv, Template:Niv, Template:Niv, Template:Niv
  5. Darrell L. Bock, Jesus According to Scripture, pp. 29-30, gives a c. 60-70 date; L. Michael White, From Jesus to Christianity, p. 244, gives c. 80-90.
  6. Bock, ibid., p. 38, gives c. 62-70; White, ibid., p. 252, gives c. 90-100.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Erwin Fahlbusch and Geoffrey William Bromiley, The Encyclopedia of Christianity [Grand Rapids, Mich.; Leiden, Netherlands: Wm. B. Eerdmans; Brill, 1999–2003], 1:45
  8. See Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John, Revised, pp. 284-295, for a discussion of several alternate theories with references.
  9. Meier, p.1:402
  10. Easton, Matthew Gallego.Joseph (the foster father of Jesus Christ). Accessed June 26, 2006
  11. Mark 6, Roman Catholic Douai Bible. Reproduction.
  12. Galations 1, Roman Catholic Douai Bible. Reproduction.
  13. Antiquities (Book 20: Chapter 9), Josephus. Reproduction.
  14. Template:Bibleverse; Template:Bibleverse; Template:Bibleverse
  15. Template:Bibleverse; Template:Bibleverse
  16. Template:Niv, Template:Niv, Template:Niv
  17. Template:Sourcetext; Template:Niv; Template:Niv; Template:Niv; Template:Niv; Template:Niv
  18. Template:Sourcetext
  19. Template:Niv; Template:NivTemplate:Niv
  20. Template:Niv
  21. Bruno Bauer, Michael Martin, John Mackinnon Robertson, G.A. Wells. The Jesus Legend, Chicago: Open Court, 1996, p xii.