Jesus

Jesus’ death

What do Christians believe about why Jesus died?

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Jesus died by being crucified. ‘Crucifixion’ means nailed to a cross. The cross was then lifted up outside the city walls (in Jesus’ case, Jerusalem) so everybody could see it. The people on the cross were then left to die in the hot sun. It was a form of Roman execution, usually saved for really wicked criminals such as murderers, or people who fought the Roman Empire. Jesus was accused by his enemies of ‘stirring up trouble’ against the Romans who occupied Israel. The events of Palm Sunday –where crowds followed him and called him king – were probably used as evidence against him. At the time the only ‘king’ allowed in Jerusalem was the Roman Emperor.

There are lots of answers to the question, ‘Why did Jesus die?’ You could say it was because Pilate, the Roman Governor of Jerusalem, sentenced him to death. Or because one of his disciples, Judas, betrayed him. Or because Jesus had enemies who wanted him dead. All that would be true, but in the Gospels it seems that there is something more to it.

 

JESUS-WHYDIE-WISEMENClue 1: The Wise Men’s presents

Remember the presents in the Christmas story – gold, frankincense and myrrh? Myrrh is used on dead bodies before they are buried to keep them smelling fresh. This seems a very strange thing to give to a newborn baby! But Christians see it as a sign right from the beginning that Jesus’ death would be as important as his life.

 

 

 

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Jesus Teaching_3Clue 2: Jesus predicts his death over and over again

The gospels record Jesus telling his disciples on more than one occasion that he will die. For example:

‘The son of Man [that is, Jesus] must suffer much … and be rejected … he will be put to death, but three days later he will rise to life.’ (Mark 8:31)

In other words, Jesus said his death was the greatest act of service he was to do, and his death was the price that had to be paid to release people from some kind of slavery.

‘The Son of Man did not come to be served; he came to serve, and to give his life to redeem (save) many people’. (Mark 10:45)

Not surprisingly, some listeners thought he was mad, or demon-possessed.

 

Clue 3: The Last Supper

 Jesus’ ‘last supper’ with his disciples was not just any meal. They were eating a special meal called the Passover meal. At the Passover, Jews remember the special covenant they made with God: the promises made in the time of Moses when they promised to follow God, and He promised to always be with them. During this Passover meal, on the night before he died, Jesus talks about the bread they are eating as being his body and the wine they are drinking as being his blood.

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What could this mean? The Jews marked this special bond in a ceremony that included sprinkling the people with ‘the blood of the covenant’. That was remembered by drinking wine. When Jesus talks about the Passover bread as his body, and the Passover wine as his blood, he is telling his disciples that his death now makes a new special bond between people and God. In other words, Jesus’ death would make it possible for people – non-Jews as well as Jews – to be linked with God in a new way.

 

 

Clue 4: The torn curtainJESUS-WHYDIE-TORN VEIL

In the Jewish temple in Jerusalem there was a big curtain that separated off a special place called ‘The Holy of Holies’. This is the place where Jews believed the presence of God could be found. Only a specially consecrated Great High Priest could go in, once a year (during Yom Kippur, the festival of atonement), to make a special plea for forgiveness on behalf of all the people. Matthew’s gospel says that when Jesus died, this curtain – the symbol of separation between a Holy God and humankind – tore in two. What could that mean?

 

 

 

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Ethics

How do Christians decide what is right and wrong?

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A number of Christians from different backgrounds and situations share how they decide what is right and wrong. Is it always easy to know or are there some grey areas?

Reading the Bible

When and where do Christians read the Bible?

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Reading the Bible

When and where do Christians read the Bible?

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At home Many Christians will spend time each day in a quiet place, praying, reading the Bible and thinking about what it says. Jesus said: “When you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father secretly”. (Matthew 6:6) […]

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Old Testament Introduction

What's the story?

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Many people see the Old Testament as one of the greatest collections of books, 39 in all, ever written. As well as making up the largest part of the Christian Bible, the Old Testament also holds special authority for Jews and Muslims. The amazing stories […]

The Apocrypha

Why do some Bibles have more books than others?

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The Apocrypha

Why do some Bibles have more books than others?

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At the beginning of the 5th century AD (400s), an early Christian scholar, Jerome, was given the job of translating all the books of the Bible into one common language, Latin. Amongst these books was a collection that Jerome did not believe had the same […]

Suffering

What do Christians think about suffering?

  • Issues
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Suffering

What do Christians think about suffering?

  • Issues
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Where is God in the midst of pain and suffering? How can a good God allow bad things to happen? If God is all powerful, why doesn’t He just ‘fix’ everything and make the world a perfect place? These questions are perhaps the deepest and […]

New Testament Introduction

Life of Jesus and Early Church

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New Testament Introduction

Life of Jesus and Early Church

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Gospels The 27 books of the New Testament are important to all Christians. It was first written in the language used throughout the Mediterranean region – Greek. The first four books, (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) are eyewitness accounts about Jesus’ life and work. These […]

Bible Overview

What books are found in the Bible?

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Bible Overview

What books are found in the Bible?

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The Bible is divided into two sections: the Old Testament and the New Testament. The word ‘testament’ comes from a Latin word meaning ‘covenant’ or ‘promise.’ The promises that are made between God and people are the threads that run through the entire Bible. It is […]

Reflecting on the Bible

What can the Bible teach us?

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Reflecting on the Bible

What can the Bible teach us?

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Christians believe that all parts of the Bible are useful for learning about God. Take a look at some of these different kinds of writing. As you read them, think about these questions: What is God like? How might this passage comfort people reading it? […]

History of the Early Church

How did the Church begin?

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History of the Early Church

How did the Church begin?

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The early Christian Church began in Jerusalem and the surrounding area and grew out of the Jewish tradition. Jesus and his disciples were all Jews. The first Christians therefore did not meet in separate churches but continued to meet in the local Jewish synagogues. St […]

Miracles

Did they really happen?

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Miracles

Did they really happen?

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Whether miracles really happened or not is, for Christians, a case of faith and trust in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and in the Bible as ‘God’s word’. The miracles are important to the whole Bible story. They are there to […]

An Introduction to Miracles in the New Testament

What do the miracles teach us about what Christians believe is possible?

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An Introduction to Miracles in the New Testament

What do the miracles teach us about what Christians believe is possible?

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Miracles in the gospels The New Testament Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, describe 35 occasions when Jesus performed miracles and tell us that there were also many more than these. As John writes at the end of his gospel, ‘Jesus did many other things […]

Old Testament miracles

Did miracles really happen in the Old Testament?

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Old Testament miracles

Did miracles really happen in the Old Testament?

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When people talk about miracles in the Bible, they might automatically think about Jesus. But the Bible is full of miracles performed by other people sent by God, throughout both the Old and the New Testaments. These stories of miracles were written to help God’s people […]

Miracles

What is a miracle?

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Miracles

What is a miracle?

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The dictionary states that a miracle is: ‘A surprising or welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agent.’ Do miracles still happen today? What does the Bible say about miracles? […]

Bible evidence

How can one book written by so many people be reliable?

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Bible evidence

How can one book written by so many people be reliable?

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The Bible was written over many hundreds of years. There were many authors, from kings to prophets to ordinary working people. Some are books of collected wise sayings, others poetry and others collections of eye witness accounts of important events. It is not surprising that […]

Is the Bible reliable?

Can it be trusted?

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Is the Bible reliable?

Can it be trusted?

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The question of whether or not the Bible is reliable is a fairly important one. Christians say it is God’s word given to humankind for all time. They base their lives on its stories and teaching. If the Bible is reliable it adds weight to […]

Bible evidence

Is the Bible historically accurate?

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Bible evidence

Is the Bible historically accurate?

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One of the biggest questions about the Bible is simply: is it true? This article looks at some of the historical evidence for the Bible’s reliability. “Not only is there the evidence of changed lives that makes the Bible believable but archaeology and other historical […]

Christian Funeral Videos

What does a Christian funeral look like?

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Christian Funeral Videos

What does a Christian funeral look like?

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Watch these videos to take a glimpse of what a Christian funeral might be like. Discover also a Christian’s belief about God and death.

Prejudice and the Bible

Is the Bible racist?

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Prejudice and the Bible

Is the Bible racist?

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Jesus was a victim of both religious and racial discrimination. Israel was under occupation by the Roman Empire, causing tension and animosity on both sides. There was hatred between the Jews and their neighbours of mixed race, the Samaritans (i.e. people from a region called […]

Giving

What do Christians think about giving?

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Giving

What do Christians think about giving?

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A good test of how much something or someone means to you is how much you are willing to give for it. You may spend a huge amount of money or effort on a gift for a special person. You may spend all your time […]

Worship

How do Christians worship?

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Worship

How do Christians worship?

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What would you say is the most important thing in your life? How do you show that to other people? For some people the most important thing might be a football team. They might go to see them play regularly. They might have posters of […]

Good Friday

What do Christians remember on Good Friday?

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Good Friday

What do Christians remember on Good Friday?

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Good Friday is the Friday of Holy Week, the Friday before Easter Day. It is thought that the name Good Friday is an altered form of God’s Friday. But many people say that ‘Good’ Friday is an appropriate name: on this special day, God showed […]

Easter Sunday

What is the Resurrection?

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Easter Sunday

What is the Resurrection?

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It is on Easter Sunday that the fasting and sadness of Lent turns to joyful celebration as Christians celebrate the Resurrection and declare that death is defeated and Jesus is alive. Jesus had told the disciples before he was arrested that he would be crucified […]

Good Friday

How do Christians remember Jesus' death on Good Friday?

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Good Friday

How do Christians remember Jesus' death on Good Friday?

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Good Friday is both a time of sadness and a time of thankfulness. Sadness as Christians remember the suffering that Jesus endured but thankfulness as they think about how he suffered and died as a sign of God’s love for all people. Some Christians will […]

Pentecost

What do Christians celebrate at Pentecost?

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Pentecost

What do Christians celebrate at Pentecost?

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Before Jesus returned back to heaven he set out for the disciples the work he now expected them to do: ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name […]

The Beginning of Lent

What happens on Ash Wednesday?

  • Festivals
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The Beginning of Lent

What happens on Ash Wednesday?

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Ash Wednesday is the day after Shrove Tuesday and signals the start of Lent. It is called ‘Ash Wednesday’ because Lent is a time when people are sorry for the wrong things in their lives and ashes are used in the Bible as signs of […]

PALM SUNDAY

What is remembered on Palm Sunday?

  • Festivals
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PALM SUNDAY

What is remembered on Palm Sunday?

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Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week – a celebration of the final week of Jesus’ life on earth. On Palm Sunday, Christians remember the time when Jesus went into Jerusalem, Israel’s capital city, riding on the back of a donkey. This occasion is […]

Sayings of Jesus

How much of what Jesus said do you know?

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Sayings of Jesus

How much of what Jesus said do you know?

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What did Jesus say while He was here on earth? Test your knowledge of what Jesus said about a range of different subjects…

Resurrection evidence

What happened to Jesus' body?

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Resurrection evidence

What happened to Jesus' body?

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After Jesus was crucified, his body was placed in a cave and a large rock was rolled in front of the entrance. Roman guards were ordered to stand and keep watch over it to ensure that the body wasn’t stolen. However, after three days, Christians […]

Parables: The Unforgiving Servant

What did Jesus teach about the importance of forgiving?

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Parables: The Unforgiving Servant

What did Jesus teach about the importance of forgiving?

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Jesus taught people using stories called ‘Parables’. The Unforgiving Servant is a parable about forgiveness. Watch the film here and think for yourself: Are there things that you would forgive and things that you wouldn’t forgive? Should we forgive other people? When you do things […]

The Easter Story

What does the Bible say about the Easter Story?

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The Easter Story

What does the Bible say about the Easter Story?

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The story of Jesus’ arrest, death, burial and resurrection is sometimes referred to as ‘The Easter Story’. It is a story that is told in all four of the Gospels; the books of the Bible which tell what happened in Jesus’ life. The films here […]

Maundy Thursday

What do Christians remember on Maundy Thursday?

  • Festivals
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Maundy Thursday

What do Christians remember on Maundy Thursday?

  • Festivals
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Maundy Thursday is the Thursday of Holy Week, the Thursday before Easter Day. On this day Christians remember the event known as The Last Supper. It was also the night when Jesus went to the garden of Gethsemane to pray. He was later betrayed by […]

Worship in church

What happens inside a typical church?

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Worship in church

What happens inside a typical church?

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  • Timeline
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LENT – a time of preparation and fasting

What happens during Lent?

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Lent is a special time in the Church’s calendar that takes place each spring in the run up to Easter. It begins in either late February or early March with Ash Wednesday. Lent lasts for 40 days (not including Sundays) and ends the day before […]

Christian funerals

What happens at a Christian funeral?

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Christian funerals

What happens at a Christian funeral?

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For Christians, a funeral service is a way of saying ‘thank-you’ to God for the dead person and to celebrate their life, as well as saying goodbye. The funeral may take place at a church, or there is a chapel at the crematorium or cemetery […]

Life after death

What do Christians believe happens next?

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Life after death

What do Christians believe happens next?

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Whatever people believe about life after death, a funeral can help them to cope with the loss of someone they love. Surrounded by family and friends, they can share happy memories and comfort each other. For Christians, funerals give an opportunity to gain encouragement and […]

Jesus is baptised

What happened at Jesus' baptism?

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Jesus is baptised

What happened at Jesus' baptism?

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Baptism was already popular in the time of Jesus. It demonstrated a person’s commitment to living God’s way rather than their own. Jesus had a cousin called John who baptised people. He was known as John the Baptist. John was a preacher. He told people […]

Rites of Passage

How do Christians celebrate big life changes?

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Rites of Passage

How do Christians celebrate big life changes?

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What are the big ‘milestones’ you’ve experienced in your life? Maybe you can remember the first day you went to school. Maybe it was a time you moved to a new place to live. Maybe you’ve even moved country. Life is full of these big […]

Jesus’ Teaching: Prayer

What did Jesus teach about prayer?

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Jesus’ Teaching: Prayer

What did Jesus teach about prayer?

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Prayer is important for Christians, as they believe it is one of the main ways through which our relationship with God can grow deeper. Just as we grow closer to our friends when we spend time with them, so Christians believe that in spending time […]

Jesus’ Teaching: Faith

What did Jesus teach about having faith?

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Jesus’ Teaching: Faith

What did Jesus teach about having faith?

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The dictionary states that the definition of faith is complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Jesus had absolute faith in God the Father and encourages people to have the same faith. One day Jesus’ disciples asked him to increase their faith but he […]

Meet a Christian…

What unites Christians?

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Meet a Christian…

What unites Christians?

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Christians come in all different shapes and sizes, but they do have one thing in common – they believe in Jesus Christ as somebody special who has changed their life. Hear some stories here.

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What is a Christian?

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Perhaps the clue to what a Christian is can be found in the name. The word ‘Christian’ is actually a nickname – it literally means ‘little Christ’. It was a nickname given to men and women in the first century who went about talking about […]

Timeline of Jesus’ Life

What do the Gospels tell us?

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Timeline of Jesus’ Life

What do the Gospels tell us?

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What do we know about Jesus? How do we know about his life and work? What are the key features of Jesus’ life?

Jesus and the Christian faith

Why do Christians worship him?

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Jesus and the Christian faith

Why do Christians worship him?

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Jesus spent 3 years meeting and teaching people. When he died he left a devoted group of a few hundred followers. Today, 2 billion people worldwide call themselves Christians. What makes Jesus so central to Christians’ lives today? For many, he is seen in the […]

Jesus today

Why do people choose to follow Jesus in the 21st century?

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Jesus today

Why do people choose to follow Jesus in the 21st century?

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It’s easy to think of Jesus as somebody who lives in history books. But Jesus is really important to Christians– not just as somebody who said and did amazing things 2000 years ago but as somebody who is a friend to them today. Most Christians […]

Celebrating Easter

Why is the Resurrection so important to Christians today?

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Celebrating Easter

Why is the Resurrection so important to Christians today?

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If the first question about the Resurrection – Jesus’ return from death – is ‘Did it happen?’, the second is ‘Does it really matter?’ Take a look at these films to find out how Christians have responded to that question.

The Resurrection

What do Christians believe happened on Easter Sunday?

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The Resurrection

What do Christians believe happened on Easter Sunday?

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What happened on Good Friday is important to Christians. But Jesus’ death on Good Friday isn’t the end of the story. Christians believe that Jesus did not stay dead, but came back to life three days later on Easter Sunday. This is known as the […]

Sin – what is it?

What do Christians mean by the word 'sin'?

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Sin – what is it?

What do Christians mean by the word 'sin'?

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Christians often talk about Jesus’ death as a way of bringing forgiveness for sin. But what is sin? Play the game and then read the explanation below. To play the game: The aim of the game is to fire a cannon ball from one side […]

The Easter Story: Doubtless

Is the idea that Jesus came back to life too much to believe?

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The Easter Story: Doubtless

Is the idea that Jesus came back to life too much to believe?

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Would you believe that a dead person could come back to life? It would be understandable to doubt it. One of Jesus’ disciples, Thomas, has gone down in history as the one who doubted the reports of Jesus’ resurrection. This film is based on that […]

The Easter Story: Talk of the morning

What happened on the first Easter Sunday?

  • Festivals
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The Easter Story: Talk of the morning

What happened on the first Easter Sunday?

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The gospels say that Jesus didn’t stay dead. Lots of witnesses saw Jesus die on a cross on Friday – but by the Sunday there were rumours that the tomb was empty and that he had appeared to some of his followers – Mary Magdalene […]

The Easter Story: The Centurion’s story

What happened when Jesus was on the cross?

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The Easter Story: The Centurion’s story

What happened when Jesus was on the cross?

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The Bible says that Jesus died by being crucified by the Romans – that is, being nailed to a cross and left to die. The gospels quote a Roman soldier who watched Jesus die as saying ‘Surely this man was the Son of God.’ This […]

The Easter Story: Undeniable

What happened to Jesus' disciples after he was arrested?

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The Easter Story: Undeniable

What happened to Jesus' disciples after he was arrested?

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On the night before Jesus died – the night of his arrest – Jesus’ disciples ran away, scared for their lives. Peter was one of Jesus’ closest friends, but even he let Jesus down. During the Last Supper, which happened only hours before his arrest, […]

Jesus’ miracles: Turning water into wine

How did Jesus liven up a wedding party?

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Jesus’ miracles: Turning water into wine

How did Jesus liven up a wedding party?

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According to the Gospel of John, this was the very first miracle – or ‘sign’ as John calls them – which Jesus did. Jesus, his mother and his disciples were all guests at a wedding in Cana, in Galilee. At the reception, the wine runs […]

Jesus’ miracles: Power over nature

What did Jesus do in the middle of a raging storm?

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Jesus’ miracles: Power over nature

What did Jesus do in the middle of a raging storm?

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The Gospel writers were keen to show that Jesus had power over nature. One time Jesus and the disciples were in a boat on the Lake of Galilee late one night. A storm began. It was so strong that the boat they were in was […]

Jesus’ miracles: Raising the dead

What did Jesus do in the face of death?

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Jesus’ miracles: Raising the dead

What did Jesus do in the face of death?

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The gospels include stories of Jesus bringing people back to life.  Two of these are the raising of Jairus’ daughter and of his friend Lazarus. The story of Jairus’ daughter begins when Jesus is met by a large crowd on the side of Lake Galilee. […]

Jesus’ miracles: Healings

What happened when Jesus met people who were unwell?

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Jesus’ miracles: Healings

What happened when Jesus met people who were unwell?

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The stories about Jesus tell us that he healed many different people with all kinds of problems. The blind, the deaf, those who could not speak and those with diseases all found healing by Jesus’ touch or his command. But Jesus is also seen to […]

Jesus’ miracles: the feeding of the 5,000

How did Jesus treat people who were hungry?

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Jesus’ miracles: the feeding of the 5,000

How did Jesus treat people who were hungry?

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Miracles are often seen as signs by the Gospel writers to explain what sort of God Christians believe in and how Jesus his Son shows that. This story shows that Jesus can supply the basic needs we have – in John’s version of the story, […]

Jesus’ miracles: Jairus’ daughter

Jesus brings a girl back to life

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Jesus’ miracles: Jairus’ daughter

Jesus brings a girl back to life

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There are several stories in the gospels of Jesus bringing people back to life. In one story, Jesus heals a 12-year-old girl who has died. You can read about it Mark 5: 21-43 or watch a version of the story here.

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What is a miracle?

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When Christians talk about a miracle, they mean an event that is not ‘normal’ – that is, one that should not be able to happen according to the laws of nature. The Gospels describe 35 miracles that Jesus performed. Over half of these 35 stories […]

The Unforgiving Servant

What does it mean?

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The Unforgiving Servant

What does it mean?

  • Jesus
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The parables were stories Jesus used which enabled him to explain his teachings in a way he knew that the people would remember. They were also a means in which he could teach tough principles that were central to the Christian faith. One of these […]

The Lost Son

What does it mean?

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The Lost Son

What does it mean?

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‘The Lost Son’ is the third of a group of Jesus’ parables about the idea of losing and finding. In the first one, a shepherd has a hundred sheep and then goes looking for one who wanders off. In the second one, a woman who […]

Prodigal Lost Son

Parables: The Lost Son

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‘The Lost (or Prodigal) Son’ is a very famous parable. It is the last of three parables Jesus tells about ‘lost’ things – first a sheep, then a coin, then finally a child. In the parable, the father represents God. The son represents the people […]

The Good Samaritan

What does it mean?

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The Good Samaritan

What does it mean?

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We all have people that we find difficult to love, those we would rather not know or cannot ever say anything good about. Jesus is asked a question “Who is my neighbour?” – that is, whom am I responsible for? He does not give a […]

Parables: The Good Samaritian

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One of the most famous parables of Jesus is known as ‘The Good Samaritan’. Samaritans were a group of people living next door to the Jews. (The Jews were the first people to hear Jesus’ story.) The Jews and the Samaritans were enemies and avoided […]

Jesus’ parables

What is a parable?

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Jesus’ parables

What is a parable?

  • Jesus
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A parable is an imaginary story used to teach people a moral lesson (for example, how to treat people in need) or a spiritual lesson (for example, what God is like). In some ways, stories help people to understand things better. But Jesus also said […]

Jesus’ teaching: Money

What did Jesus teach about money and giving?

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Jesus’ teaching: Money

What did Jesus teach about money and giving?

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Money. It can do wonderful things and change lives for the better. Equally, it can be a cause of stress, arguments and leave our lives in a mess. Having too much can make you greedy for more, having too little can make you desperate. The […]

Bible facts

How much do you know about the Bible?

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Bible facts

How much do you know about the Bible?

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The Bible is: still a world bestseller and is still read by millions of people today   The Bible has: Been translated into more languages than any other book   The Bible was: written over a period of 1,500 years written in different places, at […]

What is the Bible?

Introduction to this best selling book.

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What is the Bible?

Introduction to this best selling book.

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Christians often refer to the Bible as ‘God’s Word’ and therefore see it as the most important book ever written. Although the Bible is more than 3000 years old Christians believe that, through this amazing book, God is still teaching, helping and guiding them today. […]

Jesus’ life and ministry

What do Christians believe about Jesus' life and ministry?

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Jesus’ life and ministry

What do Christians believe about Jesus' life and ministry?

  • Jesus
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Jesus’ family Perhaps one of the most famous stories about Jesus is his birth: God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was […]

Questions about Jesus

What do we know about Jesus?

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Questions about Jesus

What do we know about Jesus?

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Did Jesus really exist? Yes. The New Testament part of the Bible tells us about who Jesus was, what he did, and why. But other writings by people who weren’t Christians also talk about a man named Jesus. Roman and Jewish historians such as Josephus […]

Christian Festivals

What are the big events that happen during the year?

  • Festivals
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Christian Festivals

What are the big events that happen during the year?

  • Festivals
  • Timeline

Our calendar year is divided into four seasons – Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. Each season has its special characteristics, colours and associations. For example Autumn is often associated with harvest, and the orange and yellow leaves that blow around in the blustery wind. It […]