Youth New Evangelization & Spiritual Renewal Seminar Series
The Foundations of Faith: Seminar 6

Jesus Christ Son of God

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 first-born son Ishmael from Hagar gave rise to the nomadic Arabs. The second-born son Isaac from wife Sarah gave rise to Israelites (see also Gen. 25). Through Abraham's son Isaac, and his son Jacob arose the 12 tribes of Israel. Since like Abraham, the descendants of Jacob were the true God fearing and worshipping people, the God's chosen people were thus formed.

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 of old 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" thus revealing that He is the saviour of the world. This mission of Jesus has been widely misunderstood however. Yes, it is true that He is our saviour, but what are the mechanisms for 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).

1) The most widely accepted mechanism for our salvation by Jesus is Christ 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 concept of "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 AD 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 therefore an important mosque was built there instead).
Jesus thus 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, Christ became the high priest. From the Heavenly Father Christ received the authority to judge and forgive sins. In His physical absence here on Earth Christ also delegated this authority for forgiveness of sins to His Church through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
2) The second mechanism for our salvation are Jesus' teachings of righteousness. Jesus teaches us to live our lives so as to obtain salvation for ourselves on our own through righteous living (so that we will have no need for forgiveness!). This means that without living righteous lives we will NOT be saved and must rely on His mercy. 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. This is NOT the case! Jesus NEVER made this promise. NEVER!

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 became the "living scripture" for us as He teaches the scriptures and interprets the prophets of old in the correct manner.

The characteristics of Jesus

Jesus lived an exemplary life. He possessed some characteristics which illustrated both, what He was, and also what we are expected to be. He was:

 What did Jesus do?

Life of Christ

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 Three Magi in Bethlehem, a fact which roused King Herod to find the child and have him killed. 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 twelve Jesus followed his parents to visit the temple in Jerusalem, but unnoticed sneaked out from their group and 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. This well known incident in many respects might be considered to be the first instance of His Public Ministry even though it actually occurred well before His baptism.

Some people might find it difficult understanding how was it possible that a family can loose a child for three days? This can be explained by local customs and the mode of travel in times of Jesus. The distance between Jerusalem and Nazareth is about 100 Km and had to be covered on foot or horseback. Since traveling such a distance was extremely treacherous and dangerous, Joseph's family had to join a caravan heading to Nazareth. Local Jewish customs called for men and women traveling in separate groups. Girls always traveled with their mothers, while boys could be anywhere, sometimes traveling in the midst of men other times they could be found among women. Hence Mary thought Jesus was with Joseph in the group of men, while Joseph not seeing Jesus thought He was with Mary among women. Once the caravan stopped to rest, families would be reunited for a meal and rest. This could be as far as 20 Km past Jerusalem. This was for the first time Joseph and Mary realized that Jesus was not with them. However, in order to return to Jerusalem they had to wait for another caravan to join which would be traveling in the oposite direction.

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 Public Ministry

Jesus starts His public life (Ministry) during His baptism by John the Baptist in river Jordan. Since then He travels throughout the lands of Galilee and Samaria with His disciples teaching, preaching, healing and performing miracles. He avoided Judea as He was never accepted there and Judeans plotted to kill Him. Jesus ended His public earthly life by His Passion and Death on the Cross in Jerusalem.

FCMM Spiritual Renewal Index | Catechism Grades 5 & 6 | New Evangelization | Seminar Outline | Mary's Corner

C 2018

Clips: Jesus of Nazareth, part II - first 15-20 minutes. Jesus recruits His apostles and begins to teach