Catechism On Line

Jesus Christ, Son of GOD

Book, Chapter 6  (Faith First)
Book, Chapter 5  (Be My Disciples)

In this chapter we discuss the following topics: 
 

Why Jesus?

Who is Jesus?

Other titles of Jesus

Characteristics of Jesus

What did Jesus do?

Mary, Mother of God (Theotokos)

Birth of Jesus

Life of Jesus

Why Jesus?

We know that Abraham was loved by GOD, and that GOD has made a promise to Abraham to have as many descendants as there were stars in heaven (GEN 15); and so it was. Abraham had three wives of whom two gave rise to two competing nations - the Arabs and the Israelites (see also Gen. 25). Through his son Isaac, and Isaac's son Jacob arose the 12 tribes of Israel, and the God's chosen people was born.
 
 

In order for His chosen people to continue living His commandments, however, throughout generations GOD had to keep on sending prophets to guide them. The last living prophets are reported at around 400 BC. Periodically, throughout the generations, jews struggled to live the covenant with GOD, but by the time of Jesus' birth, jews have departed substantially from the philosophy of goodness and righteousness stemming from God's guidance. Clearly, to bring the confused, misguided people ("the lost sheep of Israel"; MATT 10:5-7, MATT 15:24) back to GOD, something had to be done.

Who is Jesus?

The Aramaic name Jesus (Jeshua) means "God saves" therefore revealing that He is the saviour of the world. This mission of Jesus has been widely misunderstood however. Yes, it is true He is our saviour, but what are the mechanisms of our salvation? Are we already saved? Did we, through Jesus, obtain a "free pass" to heaven no matter how much we sinned? Absolutely NOT! (see LK13:22-30; MATT 7:21-23; MATT 19:16-24).

The most widely accepted mechanism for our salvation by Jesus is Jesus being the sacrificial lamb. I.e. He redeemed our sins and thus reconciled us to GOD the father through His suffering on the cross. In the Old Testament, according to the laws of Moses, priests had the authority to forgive sins through the offering of an innocent animal sacrifice. The basis for this forgiveness is the "Vicarious suffering" where the blood and suffering of an innocent animal served as an atonement for the sins of the person making such an offering. In the 70's A.D. the Jerusalem temple where such forgiveness of sins was granted was destroyed however, and never again was it permitted to be rebuilt. (about 530 years later, the prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven right at the place where the Jewish temple use to stand. An important mosque was built there instead). Jesus replaces the temple (His body is the new temple now) as well as the sacrifice. He became the lamb and the sacrifice as an atonement for our sins. As a result, from the Father He received the authority to judge and forgive sins. In His physical absence here on Earth He also delegated this authority for forgiveness of sins to the Church.

The second mechanism for our salvation is Jesus' teachings. Jesus teaches us to live such lives as to obtain salvation for ourselves. This means that without living righteous lives we will NOT be saved. This is because He is not only the "sacrificial lamb", but He is also a just judge.

These two mechanisms are inseparable. Regrettably, many, many christians today think that they are saved only because they are baptized and believe in the existence of Christ.

Other titles of Jesus

Messiah - The king and saviour who will deliver His people from the reach of their enemies - their own SINS!

Christ - Messiah, the anointed one.

Lord - The word used for GOD Himself. Therefore it refers to the Son of GOD. 

The Word made flesh - He teaches what GOD wants Him to teach. In effect He becomes the "living scripture" for us

The characteristics of Jesus

Jesus lived exemplary life. He possessed some characteristics which illustrated both, what He was, and also what we are expected to be. He was:
  • Son of man (divine, yet born of a human)
  • Divine - Proof of His divinity
    • Born of a virgin
    • Performing miracles
    • Transfiguration (LK 9:28-36)
  • Righteous
  • Humble
  • Meek
  • Loving
  • Caring
  • Compassionate

What did Jesus do?

  • Performed miracles
  • Taught us to live the laws of GOD

Mary, Mother of God (Theotokos)

Mary was born of Joachim (Heli), a descendant of royal family of David, and Anna who was a descendant of the priestly family of Aaron. Mary was born in Jerusalem. At the age of three she was presented in the temple to GOD. According one legend, she remained there to be educated till the age of 14 when she was sent to Nazareth in Galilee to be betrothed to Joseph. It was in Jerusalem that she enjoyed ecstatic visions and daily visitations of holy angels. It was in Nazareth, where the annunciation and incarnation of Jesus took place. It was not until Mary's return from Elizabeth, that Joseph found out about her pregnancy and planned to dispose of her quietly in order to save her life. Subsequently in his dream he was visited by a holy angel to convince him to take Mary as his wife.

Birth of Jesus

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Judea as the Holy Family travelled there in compliance with the decree by Caesar Augustus. It was approximately year 747, 748 or 749 A.U.C. (A.U.C.- ab urbeconditâ - year of foundation of Rome) that Jesus was visited and adored by the shepherds. Eight days later He was circumcised according to Jewish customs, and 40 days later presented to GOD in the temple during the legal act of purification. After the presentation in the temple, Jesus is visited by the Magi in Bethlehem. A fact which aroused King Herod. The angel of the lord appeared to Joseph and prompted him to take his family and flee to Egypt and wait there until he would be told to return. Not being able to find the "King of the Jews", King Herod had massacred all male babies under the age of two throughout the whole Judea. King Herod dies about two years later (749, 750 or 751 A.U.C.). 

Life of Jesus

The Holy Family returns from the exile in Egypt back to Nazareth in Galilee. This is where Jesus spends the greatest part of His earthly life. It is also the period of Jesus' hidden life. At the age of 12, Jesus followed his parents to visit the temple in Jerusalem, but did not return with them. After about three days of frantic search, He was found to be in the temple in Jerusalem in the midst of teachers and elders asking them clever questions, and intelligently answering theirs.

We do know that Jesus knew how to read, and perhaps even write despite not receiving any formal education. We know that He received training as a carpenter and it is believed that he specialized in making ploughs and yokes. Since Palestine at the time of Jesus was bilingual it is suggested that Jesus spoke both, Aramaic and Greek. However we also know that He read from the scrolls in synagogues, suggesting that He must have been able to read Hebrew, since all Jewish scrolls are written in Hebrew.

Jesus starts His public life (Ministry) during His baptism by John the Baptist in river Jordan. Since then He travels throughout the land with His disciples teaching, preaching, healing and performing miracles. Jesus ended His public earthly life by His Passion and Death on the Cross.



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