The central figure of the Christian faith is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah prophesied in Hebrew Scripture, our Old Testament of the Bible. Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem (Luke 2). St. Joseph took his wife Mary and the infant Jesus on the Flight to Egypt to avoid Herod (Matthew 2). Upon their return, the Holy Family settled in Nazareth where Jesus grew and spent his childhood and early years as an adult. Hardly anything is known of his life at that time except that he was called a Nazarene (Matthew 2:23) and that at age 12 he was found in the midst of the teachers in the Temple of Jerusalem (Luke 2:46). All four Gospels record Jesus the Christ calling himself the Son of Man which reminds us that he fulfills the destiny of the Messianic figure in Chapter Seven of the Book of the Prophet Daniel.
Early Jewish and pagan historians, such as Flavius Josephus, Tacitus, and Pliny the Younger, provided independent witness to Christ's existence.
Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Word made flesh. Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35), born of the Virgin Mary (Luke 2:7), suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried (John 19). He descended to the dead (I Peter 3:19). On the third day he rose from the dead (Mark 16:6), ascended into heaven, and sat at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19, Hebrews 12:2). From there He will come again to judge the living and the dead (Matthew 25:31-46). He is the Authority on Scripture (Luke 24:25-27, Galatians 1:11-12, 2 Timothy 3:15-17).
The New Testament writers each offer a unique picture of Jesus. All convey his great love for mankind. The life of Christ is best described in the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, while his teachings are presented by all the writers of the New Testament of the Bible.
The Apostle Matthew stresses that Jesus is the Messiah foretold in Hebrew Scripture. He is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, for example, the Messiah will be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), and that the Christ would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). There are elements to Matthew's Gospel that are unique to it alone, such as the appearance of an angel to Joseph in a dream, the Star of Bethlehem, the visit of the Magi, the Slaughter of the Innocents, and the Flight to Egypt; the complete Sermon on the Mount with the Beatitudes, the Lord's Prayer, and the Golden Rule (Matthew 5-7); and the Last Judgement ("As you did it to one of the least of my brethren, you did it to me"). The Gospel ends with a reference to the mystery of the Trinity, when Jesus called for the Great Commission of his Apostles to "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit. And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20)."
The Gospel writer Mark, called by St. Peter "his son," opens with a declaration that Jesus is the Son of God, and God the Father and the Holy Spirit appear during his Baptism in the River Jordan, an early reference to the mystery of the Trinity. Fulfilling the prophecy of Daniel 2:44-45, Jesus announces the Kingdom of God in Mark 1:15: "the Kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the Gospel." Mark 6:3 indicates that Jesus was the only child of Mary and followed in Joseph's footsteps and became a carpenter. Nearly half of Mark's account of the public ministry of Jesus (Chapters 1-10) describes miracles. Discipleship in Mark is described as self-denial (8:34-35) and service (10:43-44). The Transfiguration of Jesus reveals his Divinity (Mark 9:2-9). When asked which is the greatest commandment, Jesus cites the Shema prayer of Deuteronomy 6:4-5 - "Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one" (12:29-30). The human emotional side of Jesus is perhaps best portrayed in the Gospel of Mark.
The physician Luke was the only Gentile of the New Testament writers. Luke, one of Paul's companions on his journeys, began his Gospel with the Infancy Narrative - the birth of Jesus, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. Luke sees the life and mission of Jesus Christ as a visitation from God. Parables unique to Luke reveal the mercy of God through the Parables of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son, his justice through the Parable of Lazarus and the rich man, and his praise of humility in the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. The Gospel of Luke is the only Gospel with a sequel, The Acts of the Apostles. Acts details the fulfilling of Christ's mission through the Apostles, who are to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth (Luke 24:45-48, Acts 1:8) following their reception of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). Followers of Christ were first called Christians in Antioch (Acts 11:26) and were also known as Nazarenes (Acts 24:5).
The Apostle and Evangelist John concerned himself with the mystery of the Incarnation, who Christ was. Jesus, a human being whom the Apostles had known and followed for three years, was at the same time the Son of God and the Word made Flesh. This principle of the Incarnation introduced in the Prologue became the guiding theme for John's entire Gospel and his three Letters. John is the only Evangelist to record Mary at the foot of the Cross. The Revelation to John focuses on the prophecy of the risen Christ. One must distinguish throughout the life of Jesus his human aspect and the mystery of "the Son who comes from the Father," a mystery that reveals itself in the man Jesus. John particularly expresses the love God and his Son Jesus have for mankind - "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life" (John 3:16).
Paul knew only the risen Christ. Saul of Tarsus in Cilicia of Asia Minor was a Pharisee who traced his lineage to the tribe of Benjamin. Fervent in his persecution of Christians, he was struck down on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-7). Paul was saved by Christ himself! He then became just as passionate in spreading Christianity with his missionary journeys from Antioch to Asia and the European world of the time. The first recorded introduction of Christianity into Europe was Paul's voyage to Philippi in Macedonia (Acts 16:11-12). The Pauline Letters express his faith in Christ as Lord, Redeemer and Savior, to see the Cross and Resurrection as salvation for mankind.
Peter and his brother Andrew were the first two Apostles to follow Jesus. Peter recognized Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God. Peter was made the "rock" upon which Jesus built his Church (Matthew 16:18-19). Peter also denied Jesus three times, then broke down and wept; but he later reaffirmed his loyalty three times following the Resurrection of Christ (John 21:15-19). Inspired by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, he became a dynamic Evangelist, as described in the Acts of the Apostles. After preaching in Jerusalem, he established the Church in Antioch before he became the first Bishop of Rome. Peter sees Jesus as the model for all Christians in his two Letters.
James contributed one letter to the catholic (universal) letters. His letter emphasized the importance of being impartial, of having faith with good works, controlling the tongue, and avoiding the pitfalls of worldliness and wealth.
The Letter of Jude Thaddeus is pastoral in nature, calling upon early Christians to be faithful followers of Christ through their conduct and living the Word. He urges us to maintain our life with God and show mercy to others.
It is important for you, the reader, to see for yourself. Included are spoken words of Jesus, which help us to appreciate that God is Love (1 John 4:8).
Click for the Beatitudes, the Miracles and Parables of Jesus, the Lord's Prayer, and his Last Supper, Seven Words on the Cross, and Resurrection.
"Ask and it will be given to you;
Seek and you will find;
Knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks finds,
and to him who knocks, it will be opened."
"So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them;
for this is the law and the prophets."
Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a lonely place apart. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. As he went ashore he saw a great throng; and he had compassion on them, and healed their sick.
When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a lonely place, and the day is now over;
send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves."
Jesus said, "They need not go away; you give them something to eat."
They said to him, "We have only five loaves here and two fish." And he said, "Bring them here to me."
Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass; and taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven,
and blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.
And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over.
And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said,
"Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children,
you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.'"
"For where two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst of them."
"When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at his right hand, `Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.'
Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?'
And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you,
as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.'
Then he will say to those at his left hand, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Then they also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?' Then he will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.' And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the Gospel."
He appointed the Twelve: To Simon, He gave the name Peter;
and to James the son of Zebedee and to his brother John, He gave the name “Boanerges” (that is, “Sons of Thunder”);
Andrew; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; Simon the Zealot,
and Judas Iscariot who betrayed Him.
"If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
For whoever would save his life will lose it;
and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it.
For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?"
Six days later, Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John, and brought them up on a high mountain by themselves.
And He was transfigured before them; and His garments became radiant and exceedingly white,
as no launderer on earth can whiten them.
Elijah appeared to them along with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus.
Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here;
let us make three tabernacles, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
For he did not know what to answer; for they became terrified.
Then a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud,
“This is My beloved Son. Listen to Him!”
All at once they looked around and saw no one with them anymore, except Jesus alone.
As they were coming down from the mountain, He gave them orders not to relate to anyone what they had seen,
until the Son of Man rose from the dead.
But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant,
and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all.
For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many."
And Jesus began to say to them, "Take heed that no one leads you astray.
Many will come in my name, saying, 'I am he!' and they will lead many astray.
And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is not yet.
For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places,
there will be famines; this is but the beginning of the birth-pangs.
But take heed to yourselves; for they will deliver you up to councils; and you will be beaten in synagogues;
and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them.
And the gospel must first be preached to all nations.
And when they bring you to trial and deliver you up, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say;
but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.
And brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
But when you see the desolating sacrilege set up where it ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains; let him who is on the housetop not go down, nor enter his house, to take anything away; and let him who is in the field not turn back to take his mantle. And alas for those who are with child and for those who give suck in those days! Pray that it may not happen in winter. For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will be.
And if the Lord had not shortened the days, no human being would be saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days. And then if any one says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'Look, there he is!' do not believe it. False Christs and false prophets will arise and show signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But take heed; I have told you all things beforehand.
But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory.
And then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds,
from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven."
They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”
He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled.
“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”
Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him.
“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you.
Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep?
Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul,
and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"
Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying,
'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.'
Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?"
He said, "The one who showed mercy on him."
And Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."
Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks,
he broke it and gave it to them, saying,
"This is my body, which is given for you.
Do this in remembrance of me."
And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying,
"This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood."
One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!"
But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?
And we indeed justly; for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong."
And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you -
that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled."
Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them,
"Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day,
and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
You are witnesses of these things."
"Amen, Amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me has eternal life;
I am the bread of life."
"I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness
but will have the light of life."
"I am the resurrection and the life.
Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live,
and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die."
"And I, when I am lifted up from the earth,
will draw all men to myself."
And when I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come again and will take you to myself,
that where I am you may be also."
"This is my commandment,
that you love one another as I have loved you.
Greater love has no man than this,
that a man lay down his life for his friends."
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