Who Was Jesus?


Quick Answer

Jesus was a Nazarene rabbi and preacher widely considered to have lived in the first century. His life and ministry subsequently became the central focus of the Jesus movement and then of Christianity, a religion that subsequently grew historically and theologically distinct from Judaism. In most Christian denominations, Jesus is regarded as the Son of God, the Messiah and the redeemer of the sins of humankind.

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Full Answer

While most historians agree that Jesus actually existed, there is less consensus regarding the actual events of his life. Given consistency in available sources, however, there is almost universal agreement on the authenticity of at least two episodes: his baptism by John the Baptist and his crucifixion at the hands of the Romans, ordered by Pontius Pilate. Whereas these investigations constitute an attempt to identify the historical Jesus, Christology represents the study of the divine personage of Jesus, or what some term the "dogmatic Christ." While the Christological arguments offered by specific texts and denominations may differ, most Christians accept that Jesus' divinity is exemplified by both his believed virgin birth and resurrection from the dead, as recorded in the Scriptures.

Furthermore, many Christians cite diverse passages from the Hebrew Bible that foretold of his ministry, suffering, death and resurrection. Other sources, such as in the Gospel of John, suggest that Jesus was already in existence at the beginning of time, predestined to perform his work on Earth and at the judgment of the Last Days. Thus, Jesus' historical character is often as or less important for Christians than his immortality, his eternal presence in the minds and hearts of believers and his proximity to God.

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