Jesus Christ, sometimes referred to as Jesus of Nazareth, was a first century Jewish preacher and religious leader. He is the central figure of Christianity. Most Christians believe him to be the incarnation of God the Son and the awaited Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament. Take a look below for 30 more interesting and fascinating facts about Jesus Christ.
1. Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed historically, although the quest for the historical Jesus has produced little agreement on the historical reliability of the Gospels and on how closely the Jesus portrayed in the Bible reflects the historical Jesus.
2. Jesus was a Galilean Jew who was baptized by John the Baptist and subsequently began his own ministry, preaching his message orally and often being referred to as “rabbi.”
3. Jesus debated with fellow Jews on how to best follow God, engaged in healings, taught in parables and gathered followers.
4. He was arrested and tried by the Jewish authorities, turned over to the Roman government and was subsequently crucified on the order of Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect.
5. After his death, his followers believed that he rose from the dead, and the community they formed eventually became the early Church.
6. The birth of Jesus is celebrated annually on December 25, or various dates in January by some eastern churches, as a holiday known as Christmas.
7. His crucifixion is honored on Good Friday, and his resurrection is celebrated on Easter.
8. The widely used calendar era “AD”, from the Latin anno Domini, meaning “in the year of the Lord,” and the alternative “CE”, are based on the approximate birth date of Jesus.
9. Christian doctrines include the beliefs that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, was born of a virgin named Mary, performed miracles, founded the Church, died by crucifixion as a sacrifice to achieve atonement, rose from the dead, and ascended into Heaven, from where he will return.
10. Most Christians believe that Jesus enables people to be reconciled to God.
11. The Nicene Creed asserts that Jesus will judge the living and the dead, either before or after their bodily resurrection, an event tied to the Second Coming of Jesus in Christian eschatology.
12. The majority of Christians worship Jesus as the incarnation of God the Son, the second of three persons of a Divine Trinity.
13. In Islam, Jesus, commonly transliterated as Isa, is considered one of God’s important prophets and the Messiah.
14. Muslims believe that Jesus was a bringer of scripture and was born of a virgin, but was not the Son of God. The Quran states that Jesus himself never claimed divinity.
15. Most Muslims don’t believe that Jesus was crucified, but believe that he was physically raised into Heaven by God.
16. Rabbinic Judaism rejects the belief that Jesus was the awaited Messiah, arguing that he didn’t fulfill Messianic prophecies. They don’t believe that he was divine or that he was resurrected.
17. Jesus got his name from an angel of God who told Joseph that Mary was pregnant by the Holy Spirit and not by a human. Joseph was going to divorce Mary, but the angel told him not to do this, and to name the child Jesus.
18. Jesus was a fairly common name in the first half of the first century A.D. It means “God saves” in Hebrew.
19. Jesus didn’t have a last name. “Christ” wasn’t his last name but a title, meaning “the anointed one.”
20. The Bible doesn’t say how many wise men came to see Jesus. The traditional number of three came about because three gifts are mentioned.
21. The star of Bethlehem was most likely an astrological conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter. Rumor has it that the star could be a nova or a new star; a comet; or an aligning of Jupiter with the star Regulus.
22. Jesus wasn’t born in a stable. The wooden creche we’re used to seeing as part of Nativity scenes isn’t accurate. Some people including the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, believe that Jesus was born in a, “cave-like place.”
23. The wise men many not have met Jesus as a newborn. Many scholars believe that they arrived when Jesus was between 1 and 2 years old. When they came, the Bible says that they visited Jesus at his family house, not at the place of his birth.
24. After the wise men failed to report back to him about Jesus’ birth, Harod gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were younger than 2 years. Experts estimates that between 7 and 20 children were murdered during this massacre.
25. Jesus wasn’t white, as most portraits of him would have us believe. The Bible declares Jesus’ Jewishness, meaning that he likely had light to dark brown skin.
26. He had 4 half brothers, James, Joseph, Judas and Simon.
27. Jesus had sisters, but they’re not named or numbered in the Bible.
28. John the Baptist was Jesus’ second cousin because Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Elisabeth, the mother of John, were both cousins. John was about 6 months older than Jesus.
29. Mary, the mother of Jesus, speaks in 15 verses in the Bible. Her last words were: “Do whatever Jesus tells you.”
30. In every one of Jesus’ recorded prayers, he addressed God as “Father.”