Jesus Christ (also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth) is the founder of Christianity. In the Old Testament, he is regarded to be the awaited Messiah or the Son of God. Most scholars agree that Jesus was a Jewish preacher from Galilee, was baptized by John the Baptist, and was crucified in Jerusalem on the orders of the Roman governor Pontius Pilate.
Canonical Gospel accounts
The four canonical Gospels (Mark, Mathew, Luke and John) are the main sources for the biography of Jesus, while other parts of the New Testament. such as the Pauline epistles, which were probably written decades before the Gospels, also include references to key episodes in his life.
Birth and early life
According to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, Jesus was born to the virgin Mary assisted by her husband Joseph in a manger in a stable in the city of Bethlehem. Jesus’ childhood home is identified as the town of Nazareth in Galilee. Originally written in Koine Greek, the Gospel of Mark calls Jesus a ‘carpenter’. The Gospels indicate that Jesus could, in his childhood, read and debate scriptures, but this does not imply that he received formal scribal training.
Baptism and temptation
The baptism of Jesus is preceded by information about John the Baptist and his clergy hood. It shows John preaching penance and repentance for the remission of sins and encouraging the giving of alms to the poor while he baptised people in the area of the river Jordon around Perea at about the time when Jesus began his preaching. John had been foretelling the arrival of someone “more powerful” than he.
On meeting Jesus, and being asked by Jesus to be baptised, John says, “I need to be baptised by you”, but Jesus persuaded John to baptise him. When John did so and Jesus emerged from the water of the river Jordon, the sky opened and a voice from heaven announced: “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” After the baptism, the Gospels described the Temptation of Christ, in which Jesus resisted temptations from the devil while fasting for forty days and nights in the Judaean desert, and the Script descended on him.
Teaching, preachings and miracles
Commentaries often discuss the teachings of Jesus in terms of his “words and works”. The ‘words’ include a number of sermons, as well as parables. The ‘works’ include the miracles and other acts done by Jesus. Jesus says, “My teaching is not mine but His who sent me.” The Kingdom of God (also called the Kingdom of Heaven’) is one of the key elements of Jesus’ teachings in the New Testament. He says, “Thou shall love your neighbour as thyself”. In the Gospels, approximately 30 parables form about one-third of Jesus’ recorded preachings.
Final week: betrayal, arrest, trial and death
The description of the last week of the life of Jesus occupies about one-third of the narrative in the canonical Gospels—starting with a description of the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem and ending with his Crucifixion. In the three Synoptic Gospels, entry into Jerusalem is followed by the cleaning of the Temple, in which Jesus expelled the money changers from the temple, accusing them of turning it into a den of thieves through their commercial activities. During that period, the Jewish elders questioned the authority of Jesus, and Jesus criticised them as hypocritical.
Eventually, Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus, approached the Jewish elders and stroke a bargain with them, in which he undertook to betray Jesus and hand him over to them for a reward of thirty ducats—silver coins. The Last Supper is the final meal that Jesus shared with his twelve apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. During the meal, Jesus predicted that one of his apostles would betray him. He took his bread, broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you.” He then offered drink from a cup, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” The Gospel of John provided the only account of Jesus washing his disciples’ feet before the meal.
After the Last Supper, Jesus, accompanied by his disciples, took a walk to pray. Judas helped the Jewish priests and elders to arrest Jesus. And after his arrest, Jesus was taken to the Sanhedrin, a Jewish judicial body. Finally, Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, ordered Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus was led to Calvary, carrying his own cross and was crucified there.
Resurrection and ascension
The New Testament stated his Resurrection—on the first day of the week after the crucifixion—his tomb was discovered to be empty, and his followers saw him risen from the tomb. Before he ascended into heaven, he commanded his disciples to spread his teachings to all the nations of the world.