Published By:Abalijay

Jesus Christ (c.4 BC – AD 30)

Jesus Christ sometimes called Jesus of Nazareth is the central figure of the Christian faith/religion, was born of a virgin woman and he is believed to be an incarnate of God the Son and the savior of the whole human race (Messiah). Jesus Christ is best known for his death, resurrection and ascension.

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The Romans

The Jews began to argue with each other. Then the Romans came and ruled Israel. They were very strict and liked Taxation. The Jews wanted to be free. But the Roman Empire became very strong. The Romans ruled many countries. Their power was very great. It seemed impossible for the Jews to be free.

King Herod’s Temple

At the time of the birth of Jesus, the Romans had made Herod to be king over Israel. Herod was not a Jew. He was a foreigner. Although he was a Jew by religion, he did not obey the laws of the Jews.

In addition, He was a strong and cruel man. He became king by a plot and wanted to control the Jews. So he built the Temple again. He made it much bigger.

His workmen began to build the Temple in 20 BC. They continued until about AD 64. Herod’s Temple was a very beautiful building.

But what happened in the Temple was not always good. People did not always behave in the right way:

  • A Jew might want to kill an animal as a sacrifice (as a gift to God). He had to buy the animal from a special shopkeeper. The rulers in the Temple chose the shopkeepers. The shopkeepers could ask for big prices. People could not bring any other animals, even if they were good animals!
  • The Romans appointed the high priest. But one family gave money to the Romans. So the Romans always chose men from that family to become the high priests.

Sadducees and Pharisees

One group of Jews was called Sadducees. They had different ideas from other Jews. They did not believe in the supernatural. They had very different ideas. Some people also have such ideas today. Really the Sadducees were a political party. They wanted to please the Romans. This group was very powerful. They did not care what they did. They wanted to remain powerful.

Another group were Pharisees. They studied the law of Moses. They did not always know its true meaning. Later, Jesus spoke to them about this. The leaders of the Pharisees were quite rich and somewhat powerful.

There were also some good Jews. These people wanted to please God. And they wanted to know more about God. They read the books of the prophets. So, these people believed that God would send a Messiah. The Messiah would be a good king. He would rule over them well.

They desired that the king would come. But they had waited for a very long time. There had been no prophet for more than 400 years. Some people probably thought that God had forgotten them. Or, that God had left them. So, they were not sure that the words of the prophets would come true.

What The Prophets Wrote About The Messiah

Many prophets of old in Israel wrote that the Messiah would be a great king. He would bring a time of peace. For the Jews there had been hundreds of years of battles, war and death. Enemies had made them prisoners. Enemies had destroyed their land. Of course the people wanted the Messiah. They wanted the words of the prophets to come true. The messiah will have the following characteristics:

  • The Messiah would bring peace (Isaiah 54:11-15; Micah 4:3)
  • The Messiah would be a king (Micah 5:2)
  • The Messiah would be a judge (Isaiah 13:6-13)
  • The Messiah would suffer (Isaiah 42:13-53:12)
  • Elijah would come before the Messiah (Malachi 4:5, 6)

Angel Comes to Zechariah

Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth a relative of the virgin Mary and mother of Jesus, loved God. Moreso, Zechariah was a priest. He was on duty at the Temple twice a year. Zechariah and Elizabeth loved God very much. But they had no children. For Jews to have no children was very sad. They also felt ashamed. They had prayed for a child for a very long time. God did not seem to answer.

Then one day Zechariah was on duty in the Temple. He had a very special duty that He would do this only once in his life. He had to burn incense to God at the altar in the Holy Place in the Temple.

When Zechariah was doing this, an angel suddenly appeared to him. The angel had a message for him from God.

Zechariah and Elizabeth were now old. Zechariah jettisoned the angel’s message. The angel made him unable to speak (and probably unable to hear) until Elizabeth had her son, John. The angel said that John was to be ‘great in the sight of the Lord’ [God would think that John was great]. God would give John the Holy Spirit. The angel also said this according to this bible account Malachi 4:5, 6.

The angel also said this: John was to be a Nazirite as long as he lived, (see Numbers 6:1-21). This meant that John would not drink any wine. And John would not cut his hair. A Nazirite promised to live only for the Lord. We know about two other men who were Nazirites for all of their lives. These were Samson and Samuel. John was to be a very special person.

Early Life of Jesus

According to the four canonical gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) Jesus Christ was born to a Jewish parent c.4 BCE. His mother Mary was a beautiful young virgin from a poor background. Before Jesus’ birth, six months after the angel visited Zechariah, God sent the angel to Mary. The angel brought a special message from God to Mary. Mary would have a son.

She was to call him Jesus. The angel spoke some wonderful prophecies about Jesus. Mary knew that God had chosen her for a very special task. Mary never doubted the Angel, she believed.

His earthly Father was Joseph fondly called Joseph the carpenter of the lineage of King David. Though he wasn’t wealthy, but he lived happily in a town in Israel called Galilee.

Mary’s pregnancy for Jesus was divine as narrated by the canonical gospels (Luke and Matthew); it was revealed that Jesus was miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit in Mary’s womb when she was still a virgin. This revelation troubled Joseph because Mary, his betrothed (legally married, but not yet living together) wife was pregnant.

Joseph decided to put her away on the grounds of committing fornication. But in the first of Joseph’s four dreams an angel assures him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife, because her child was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Joseph the carpenter declined from his preconceived intention of ejecting Mary with the unborn baby.

Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem

The birth of Jesus was about 6 months after the birth of John the Baptist. However, just before Jesus was born, the Romans decided to count the people of the world. They wanted to know how many people would pay taxes to the Romans. Every family had to return to their first home. The Roman officials would count them there. This order was given by Caesar Augustus.

Joseph belonged to the family of David. The family had come from Bethlehem. They had to go to Bethlehem. That was far away city from Galilee. It must have been a difficult journey for Mary. They were late when they arrived at Bethlehem. There were many people in Bethlehem for the census. They had no place to sleep. There was no room anywhere.

So, the birth of Jesus was in a shed where animals lived in. Mary put the baby in a manger. The prophecy said that the *Messiah would come from Bethlehem. This prophecy came true.

An angel announces the birth to a group of shepherds watching their flocks at night, who went to Bethlehem to see Jesus and worshiped him, and subsequently they spread the news abroad.

Being devout Jews, Mary and Joseph have Jesus circumcised. This was eight days after His birth. A month later, they returned (33 days) for a purification rite (one could offer 2 turtledoves if too poor to offer a lamb, which is what they did).

At this time that Simeon and Anna, the two elderly prophet and prophetess who spoke concerning Jesus’ future and confirmed that this child was truly the Messiah. This was done to confirm and encourage Joseph and Mary, who were the only ones to hear this prophecy.

Also, wise men or Magi from the East worshiped him and gave gifts to the young Jesus as the King of the Jews.

Herod the great got enraged by the birth of Jesus being addressed as a new born King in Israel. So Herod decided to kill baby Jesus. He ordered the killing of all male infants under 2 years in his domain. Jesus had no male age mates in Bethlehem going by Herod’s directives; they were all murdered. Fortunately for baby Jesus, an angel warns Joseph in his dream to escape, and the family fled to Egypt for refuge. Afterwards, Herod the great died and Jesus and parent returned to Nazareth.

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"Timeless Persons" is a personal blog project created by me with the aim of sharing biographies of remarkable individuals from the Niger Delta region and beyond. The blog serves as a platform to captivate and stimulate your thoughts, encouraging reflection on the past, fostering a positive mindset in the present, and inspiring hope for a better future. Through the stories of great minds featured on the blog, readers are invited to delve into the lives and achievements of extraordinary individuals, drawing inspiration and insights that can be applied to their own lives. "Timeless Persons" strives to create an engaging and thought-provoking space for readers to appreciate the legacies and contributions of notable individuals, ultimately encouraging personal growth and a brighter outlook on life.