The Life and Death of Jesus Christ

Submitted by NJLaPrell on Mon, 04/14/2008 - 00:00

Common public knowledge agrees that at the beginning of the Common Era of time, a Man was born named Jesus. Known by many names, the secular world calls Him Jesus of Nazareth, while Christians call Him Jesus Christ (Christ with its roots in Greek meaning Messiah). Depending on the view taken, Jesus ranges from simply a good man to a prophet, the Son of God born of a virgin and without sin, and even God Himself. As such, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus could have very little impact, or it could be the single most important era in the history of time.The Gospel AccountThe account of the life of Jesus in the New Testament of the bible is known as the Gospel. The Gospel is composed of four book in the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, written by the authors after whom each book is entitled. Much of the historical accuracies of the Gospel account have been verified, however, the fact that each offers a slightly different point of view, some skeptics claim that contradictions exist.According to the Gospel account, Jesus was born of a virgin in the town of Bethlehem. Christians believe that His birth was predicted in Isaiah. “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” ( Isaiah 7:14 ) Christian belief is that Jesus was God in human flesh (though some denominations do not agree that he was the same God as the creator).The Gospel account does not cover much of the life of Jesus until He reached His 30's and began his ministry. The second chapter of the book of John describes Jesus' first miracle at a wedding, where he turned water into wine (as the wine had run out). From here, Jesus intrigues those around him and creates a following consisting of 12 disciples. Jesus is seen by most as a radical Jewish Rabbi who is outspoken and does not follow Jewish law as it was determined to be by the Pharisees and Sadducees.Jesus teaches His followers that the law is only and outward reflection of the change of heart that must take place inside. He summarizes the laws of God by commanding His followers to love God and each other ( Matthew 22:35-39 ). All the while Jesus speaks of is impending death, resurrection, and return at the end of times. His disciples are visibly confused by this, and these points of teaching are often debated among Christians to this day.As Jesus predicted, He was betrayed by one of His disciples and sold out to the Roman army. He was then passed through several courts before He was found guilty of blaspheme by elevating Himself to the level of God. Jesus was then crucified. His suffering up to and including His death on the cross is believed to be the atonement for the sins of all mankind, allowing every person born in this world to have everlasting life in Heaven with God, should they decide to accept it.Jesus' body was stored in a cave and guarded by the Romans to ensure that His followers did not hide the body and claim Jesus resurrected. Regardless, the tomb was discovered empty. Jesus returned to His followers several times, proving His resurrection and thus validating His atoning work. He promised to return at the end of times and judge each person in the world. Those found as followers of Christ would be forgiven of all their sins while the rest would be judged and condemned accordingly.Heretical ScriptureSome scripture has been discovered over the years that was not included in the official cannon of scripture. These books were considered heretical by the church as they conflict with many traditional Christian views. The books were excluded because the accounts with which they conflict are considered more reliable as they are firsthand and secondhand accounts. The origins of these less reliable scriptures are unknown, making them even less reliable.The Infancy Gospel of Thomas accounts for the childhood of Jesus (FilmRoos, 2003). This book goes so far as to portray the Jesus child as a troublemaker, going so far as to push another child off the roof of a house and resurrecting him. This conflicts with the claim by the New Testament that Jesus never sinned. The Gospel of Mary goes into depth on the life of Mary Magdalen, elevating her to the place of more than just a close friend of Jesus. This account has spawned hypothesis that Mary was one of the disciples or even the wife of Jesus, a theme central to the recently popular book The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.The Secular and Atheist JesusAnother popular view of the history of Jesus lends no credence to any scripture, claiming that it is all nothing more than hearsay (Walker, 1997). Some claim that Jesus of Nazareth never existed, citing a lack of mention by better known writers at the time. While this belief is not common, most believe that Jesus was a real person (Robinson, 2006). Atheists and secularists often agree that Jesus was born of a normal birth, did not perform miracles and was nothing more than a radical Rabbi of the time.Some claim that Jesus was a good teacher, preaching tolerance and love. He did not save humanity from eternal separation from God, but he taught man how to life properly. Others claim that Jesus was created through myth by the work of several popular Rabbis at the time. Some view even go the extent to claim that Jesus was created as a way for the Church to come to power and have control over its congregation.The Impact of JesusThe impact of the life and death of Jesus depends on the truth of the nature of His life and death. If Jesus was nothing more than a mythical character invented by the Church for control, then He is a tool for tyranny. If Jesus was merely a good teacher preaching love and forgiveness, then His impact was positive, but slight. Many other religious leaders preached the same message.The greatest impact of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is explained by the bible. Sin has condemned mankind. Man breaks the laws of God no matter how hard he tries not to. Sin is in his nature. Jesus is the savior that prevents man from being condemned to Hell in an existence eternally separate from his creator. Jesus saved all man and woman by taking on their punishment.The Jesus of the Gospel of the New Testament leaves no room for interpretation. During a sermon in the temple, Jesus describes how He will not leave His people. He finishes by saying, “I and My Father are one.” The Jews, recognizing that Jesus just claimed to be God, picked up stones to stone Him ( John 10:22-39 ). Jesus did not leave His life open to the interpretation that He was simply a good man. Jesus claimed to be not only the Son of God, but God in the flesh. If this is true, then the impact of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most important era in the history of time. If this is wrong, then Jesus was a liar. His life leaves no room for middle ground.ReferencesFilmRoos (2003) Banned from the bible. [Television Broadcast] The History Channel.Robinson, B. A. (2006) Did Jesus of Nazareth actually exist? Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. Retrieved April 13, 2008 from: http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jcno.htmWalker, J. (June 12, 1997) Did a historical Jesus exist? Nobeliefs.com. Retrieved April 13, 2008 from:http://www.nobeliefs.com/exist.htm

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