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Who is Jesus Christ?

Michael Pollick
Updated May 23, 2024
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Sacred Jewish texts often foretold the arrival of a Messiah, a political and spiritual savior who would deliver the Jews from their captors forever. Many people believe this promised Messiah did arrive in the form of a Palestinian-born man called Jesus Christ in Greek, although his cultural name would have been closer to Yeshua bar Joseph or "Joshua, son of Joseph." Although the historical Jesus may have been born into humble and oppressive circumstances, he would grow up to become one of the world's most revered religious figures.

The circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ appear to fulfill the ancient scriptures concerning the true Messiah. He was said to have been born from a virgin mother, Mary, who had been "visited" by the spirit of God while engaged to Joseph, a carpenter from Nazareth. When the Roman government ordered a mandatory census for tax collection, Joseph and Mary returned to Joseph's original hometown, a small village called Bethlehem. This was another circumstance foretold in the Jewish scriptures, referring to the Messiah being born in the relatively obscure town of Bethlehem.

The early life of Christ is not well-documented, although several Gospel accounts describe him as remarkably well-versed in Jewish scripture and aware of his divine nature by the age of 12. Very little information on his training or travels as an adolescent or young man exists, but some scholars speculate he may have traveled to India to further his spiritual education before returning to the Palestine area at the age of thirty.

Gospel accounts authored by or assigned to four of Jesus Christ's disciples indicate that he returned to the area in order to be baptized into his new ministry by an itinerant proselytizer and prophet named John the Baptist. Once baptized, Jesus is believed to have received the Holy Spirit, a powerful spiritual force, directly from God. At this point in time, he decided to begin a new ministry which would free the Jewish people from both the oppression of the Roman government, and more importantly from the severe religious laws imposed upon them by God.

The early ministry of Jesus Christ largely involved the selection and training of twelve disciples who would continue the missionary work following the prophesied death of the Messiah. Jesus also performed a number of miracles and healings, which may have attracted many new members to his fold but also served to gain the unwanted attention of both the Romans and the Jewish hierarchy. As Christ and his disciples continued to preach a new form of religion not based on Jewish law, significant opposition began to form.

The ministry of Jesus Christ continued for approximately three and a half years, ending during the Jewish holiday of Passover. During a traditional supper ceremony, Jesus informed his disciples that he would soon be betrayed from within and handed over to the Romans for trial as a political insurrectionist. Within a few hours of this statement, Christ was indeed betrayed by Judas Iscariot, a believer in the Zealot movement, and handed over to the Roman authorities, led by Pontius Pilate.

The trial and subsequent punishment of Jesus Christ under Roman law appeared to appease Pilate, who found little legal reason to execute Jesus. The matter was left in the hands of the Jewish leaders, who wanted to neutralize the religious and political threat presented by Christ but did not have the power to put him to death. Eventually Pilate ordered the release of a second prisoner and allowed Jesus to be crucified on a cross, a slow and humiliating form of execution.

Jesus Christ endured several hours of exposure on the cross, and eventually lost the strength to pull himself up for fresh air. Unlike other crucifixion victims, Jesus' legs were not broken to hasten the process of death. The manner and circumstances of his death also matched the Messianic prophecies, although the general Jewish population at that time did not recognize Jesus as the true Messiah. His body was removed from the cross and given to a wealthy follower of Jesus named Joseph for immediate burial in a recently completed tomb.

For modern Christian believers, the true miracle of Jesus Christ occurred during this time inside the tomb. When visitors arrived at the tomb several days after the burial, they encountered a spiritual being who informed them that Jesus was no longer in the tomb, but had been restored to life by God. The resurrected Christ later appeared to his disciples and encouraged them to continue the ministry he had started. Gospel accounts say that he ascended into the sky in front of several hundred witnesses.

PublicPeople is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Pollick
By Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to PublicPeople, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range of topics. His curiosity drives him to study subjects in-depth, resulting in informative and engaging articles. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael honed his skills as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.
Discussion Comments
By anon999966 — On Apr 21, 2018

anon73349 said it well.

By anon331635 — On Apr 24, 2013

People are quick to criticize Jesus, but are slow to know him. If you would take the time to study his word, meditate, pray, and fast. His spirit would come into you and make a transformation that all your friends and family can plainly see. A complete change in your life. A new understanding. The Chinese call it enlightenment. We call it receiving the Holy Ghost. There is no divine magic as some say.

Since Jesus was God manifested in the flesh, he had powers that no man could comprehend. Science is the study of things tangible, of things within man's reason and logic. But Faith is an element that man has not really tapped into. Man is too consumed with his own abilities and power. Not being able to overcome the insecurity of trying Faith. Truly we are not match for God's divine knowledge and power. But

I would rather live my life believing in something, or someone, than believing in nothing. Jesus did rise from the dead because he was God. He is the only God. There are thousands of people who have felt his spirit and have experienced his power in their lives. Granted, there are phonies out there who use God's name for rich gain or in vain. I pray for the millions of lost souls daily, that they may know Jesus and that he would set them free -- free from the oppression of the world's philosophies and peer pressures of portraying believers as fools.

By anon300668 — On Oct 31, 2012

To people who try to understand God and Lord Jesus Christ with worldly logic, you should realize that God is not a bearded man on a cloud. He is a Spirit, who created the whole universe and who is in charge of it.

"For it is written: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate." (1 Corinthians 1:19)

It is impossible for men to revive dead men, but for a Spirit, the Holy Father who created the Universe, nothing is impossible.

Read the New Testament to get the whole account, since it is hard to understand about Lord Jesus Christ from a simple article.

I'm writing this so that the skeptics will have eternal life and salvation, not to show that I'm more righteous or sinless to judge you. In fact, I can only depend on God and my Lord Jesus Christ for forgiveness of my past sins.

By anon263855 — On Apr 26, 2012

Okay guys. Seriously. God makes no logical sense at all. Not to over-exaggerate. If God sacrificed his only son (or himself since God and Jesus are the same person which is still really sketchy) then why didn't he just stop sending people to Hell for sinning and not offering him a lamb or whatever?

Also, Jesus was only dead for three days so it wasn't that big of a sacrifice. And, there's not even any evidence that Jesus did come back to life. Maybe it was all a big setup. Who could actually know? And if God was truly all powerful why didn't he give himself two sons instead of one so he could stop the whole saying, "God so loved the world he gave us his only son."

And, if you were wondering, I am an agnostic atheist, but I converted from Christianity about eight months ago, so it's not like I'm some kind of god-hating atheist who has never read the bible or listened to a preacher in church. --From an ex-Christian

By anon239612 — On Jan 10, 2012

If Jesus Christ was real, he couldn't have come back to life with the technology of the era. He must have lost a lot of blood on the cross and his brain must have shut down due to lack of blood. However, it must have taken hours for all his biological organs to fail after he was taken off the cross. A blood transfusion could have maybe saved him and using ventricular fibrillation could of got him breathing again.

I try to think realistically about history but any research about Jesus Christ seems very spotty at best and we can't really take the divine magic into account because it just isn't real.

By Armas1313 — On Jul 19, 2010

@dbuckley212 - Are you saying that you believe that Jesus actually claimed to be the only way to God? I think that there is room for recognition of truths in many different perspectives, although there may be an "ultimate" truth. Perhaps the Bible is this ultimate answer, but need we discard all other teachings? I think that people who truly believe what they claim are secure enough to be open.

By dbuckley212 — On Jul 19, 2010

What I disagree with most about this article is the idea that Christ came to set the people of God free from the law of God. Jesus certainly spoke out against the Pharisees- who were supposed to be representatives of God's law- but he did much to emphasize God's law in an even more extreme way than the Pharisees, by repeatedly underlining the necessary heart of God's law, which is the rule "Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love thy neighbor as thyself."

These two laws are intrinsically connected, and Christ showed us how impossibly short we fall of fulfilling God's law. The answer to this quandary is Christ himself, who died to make a way for all of humanity to get to God (not by their own "religious" efforts). "I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me."

By Qohe1et — On Jul 19, 2010

@anon73349 - I would agree with you that his primary mission was not to set the Jewish people free from Roman oppression, but would point out that this was certainly a corollary of his mission statement, which was to draw all people to himself through his obedience to God the Father.

I am unsure whence scholars have drawn their speculations that Jesus travelled to India; however, it is likely that his disciple Thomas ("doubting" Thomas) continued Christ's evangelistic mission there.

By anon73349 — On Mar 26, 2010

This is possibly the worst researched article on Jesus Christ and his mission I have ever read! He did not come to "set the Jews free from Roman oppression"or start a new religion. The Bible makes His mission plain in the well known scripture from John's gospel- "God so loved the world,that he gave his only begotten son,that whosoever would believe in Him should not perish but have eternal life"

By the way,there are 26 thousand early scripture (papyrus fragments) in the British museum proving the veracity of Christ's life over and above any other historical contemporary, including the life of Julius Caesar! Please,research more thoroughly.

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick
As a frequent contributor to PublicPeople, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide...
Learn more
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