Life

Jesus’ teaching about eternal life

What do Christians believe about eternal life?

Jesus Appears_11

What happens to us after death has been the theme of many a book and film – it is a subject that has fascinated people from the beginning of time. Some people hope that heaven is a real place, where they’ll be reunited with loved ones, even if they would say that they don’t have a practising faith in God in their day to day life. Others, on the other hand, firmly believe that there is nothing beyond this life and once we die that is the end of it.

Christians also vary in their understanding of life after death. There is the Catholic view of purgatory. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines purgatory as a “purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.” Purgatory is believed to be the state immediately after death where those who are destined for heaven, but are not yet pure enough, are made ready to spend eternity in heaven. Many Protestants on the other hand do not tend towards a belief in purgatory but instead believe that immediately after death a person may enter heaven. For those who follow this line of belief, entry into heaven is seen as having very little to do with a person’s actions on earth but more to do with God’s love and forgiveness. There is a third view that after death there is a time of waiting until Jesus’ return when all, the dead and the living will be judged.

Throughout his teaching as recorded in the New Testament, Jesus talked about eternal life rather than life after death. In his teaching it is cleared that eternal life is something that begins in the here and now and continues after death. On a number of different occasions people approached Jesus and asked what they had to do to gain eternal life.

In one gospel account, Matthew 19:16-25, a rich young man approaches Jesus and wants to know what he can do to gain eternal life. Jesus’ response to him is that he should sell everything he has and follow Him. The rich young man is sad because he is very attached to his worldly possessions and walks away because he feels the cost is too high for him to pay. Perhaps though he fails to realise that his worldly possessions can’t be taken with him beyond this life and that the life Jesus is offering him can somehow be richer.

Jesus’ disciple, Peter, points out that they have left everything to follow Jesus and Jesus reassures Peter that in following him even if the cost is high in terms of losing wealth or people abandoning them because of their faith, that greater rewards are to be gained. The rewards being a closer relationship with God and others and that the spiritual treasure that they build up following Jesus in this life will last in the life to come.

On another occasion, recorded in Luke 10:25-37, an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ After some discussion Jesus told him the man the parable of the ‘Good Samaritan’ – teaching that love and acceptance for all people is at the heart of what it means to have eternal life

Christians believe in eternal life because Jesus talked about it and furthermore his resurrection is seen as solid evidence that death is not the end. They also believe that Jesus came to restore humanity to a relationship with God the Father who himself is eternal. At Christian funerals, John 3:16 is read out as a promise and a reminder that death is not the end but through Jesus’ death and resurrection there is a promise of eternal life: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

 

 

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  • Festivals
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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 Pope

What does being the Pope mean?

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The Pope

What does being the Pope mean?

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The Pope  is the Bishop of Rome, Sovereign of the Vatican City (a city within a city) and the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church. The title Pope comes from a Latin word that means father or dad. Catholics believe that the first Pope was St. Peter, […]

Catholic Days of Obligation

What are the special days in the Catholic Church?

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Catholic Days of Obligation

What are the special days in the Catholic Church?

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Catholics believe that there are some days during the year that are so special that every Catholic should go to Mass to celebrate. Every Sunday counts as one of those special days, and there are seven others. Sometimes these days are called ‘Holy Days’ – days […]

The Roman Catholic Sacraments

What are the seven sacraments?

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The Roman Catholic Sacraments

What are the seven sacraments?

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Catholics have seven sacraments or ceremonies that they believe God can bless people through. Baptism Penance / Confession Eucharist / Communion Confirmation Matrimony (marriage) Holy Orders (ordination) Sacrament of the Sick Most Catholics are baptised when they are babies. During the ceremony adults will make […]

Roman Catholic Mass

How do Catholics worship God?

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Catholic Mass

Roman Catholic Mass

How do Catholics worship God?

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At the centre of Roman Catholic worship is the Mass. Some Catholics go to Mass on Saturday or Sunday evening; all Catholics are supposed to go to at least one of these services. On entering a Catholic Church next to the door there is a […]

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 […]

Confirmation

What happens when someone is 'confirmed'?

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Confirmation

What happens when someone is 'confirmed'?

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When a baby is baptised, parents and godparents make promises for them. Once they are old enough, they can decide for themselves if they wish to live as a Christian, and make their own promises in the confirmation service. Confirmation happens in Anglican and Catholic […]

Infant baptism

What happens when children are baptised?

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Infant baptism

What happens when children are baptised?

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A baby cannot decide to follow Jesus for themselves, but infant baptism – or Christening – shows that the child is included as a member of the church family. When a child is baptised the family and church members look forward to the day when […]

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 […]

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 […]

LIFE-WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN

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 […]

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 […]

Jesus’ death

What do Christians believe about why Jesus died?

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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 […]

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?

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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?

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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?

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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 […]

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?

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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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QUESTION

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?

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Christian Festivals

What are the big events that happen during the year?

  • Festivals
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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 […]