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A space for resources to help RE teachers and their students explore the Christian faith
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Lat Blaylock, Editor, RE Today

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The Key Events of Jesus' Life

A timeline of Jesus' life


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

Before Jesus was born
The angel Gabriel visited Mary to tell her that she was to give birth to a son, the Son of God.
Jesus' birth
Caesar Augustus’ census meant that Mary and Joseph had to go to Bethlehem and this is where Jesus was born. The town was so full of visitors that the only shelter they could find was the place where the animals usually slept.
The early visitors
The first people to visit Jesus were the shepherds who had been sent by the angels. The story about Wise Men appears in Matthew's Gospel.
When Jesus was 8 Days Old...
When Jesus was eight days old in line with Jewish custom, his parents took him to the temple to be circumcised.
Jesus runs away...?
At 12 years old Jesus accompanied his parents to Jerusalem for the Passover meal. It was during this visit when Mary thought they had lost Jesus – he was found three days later in the temple courts, asking deep questions about God and the Bible of the rabbis (teachers) there.
John the Baptist was a prophet who told people to get ready for God to appear. He baptised a lot of people - dipping them in sea water as a symbol of a new life. Jesus was one of many people he baptised.
Jesus in the wilderness
After his baptism Jesus spent 40 days and nights in the wilderness where the devil tried to tempt him. This was a way of preparing him for the tough task ahead - 3 years of ministry.
Jesus gathered together a group of 12 men who were to become his disciples.
Jesus began his ministry of teaching. Luke writes that he was different from other teachers and spoke with authority.
One of the ways that Jesus taught was through parables. One of the most famous parables tells the story of two builders - a good one who chooses strong foundations and a bad one who doesn't. Jesus said that his teaching was a strong foundation for living life.
Jesus performed many miracles – amazing actions that only God could do. The writer, Luke, was a doctor, so included a lot of stories about how Jesus made sick people better.
Sending the disciples
Part of Jesus’ work was to train his disciples to continue his work once he had returned to heaven. As part of that he sent them to preach and teach others.
The Transfiguration
A sign of Jesus’ greatness was the ‘Transfiguration’ – Jesus took Peter, John and James with him to pray. As he prayer Moses and Elijah appeared with him and his clothes began to glow.
Jesus would often get up before it was light to go and pray – this was a time for talking with and listening to God the Father. Jesus taught his disciples how to pray by using the Lord’s Prayer.
The Kingdom of God
Towards the end of his life Jesus taught a lot about the Kingdom of God - God ruling the Earth in a new way. He taught that we should be ready at all times because no-one knew when the kingdom would come.
God accepts everyone
Throughout his ministry Jesus showed that God’s love was for all people and not just the so-called respectable members of society. One example of this was Zacchaeus, a tax collector and thief who met Jesus and started a new, honest life in response.
Tricky questions
Many of the Jewish leaders did not like what Jesus taught and the claims he made about being one with God. They often tried to trick him with questions that had no easy answers. One such question was about whether it was right to pay taxes to the Romans. Jesus always answered with a wise reply.
Eventually the religious leaders were so full of anger towards Jesus that they began to plot to have him killed. During one Passover festival they found an opportunity and with the help of one his disciples, Judas, the leaders arrested Jesus.
As well as being questioned by the High Priest and the Roman Governor, Jesus was badly beaten and insulted. Eventually although they could find no evidence against him. Even so, Jesus was sentenced to death by crucifixion.
Death and Resurrection
After Jesus died he was taken down from the cross and laid in a tomb with a huge stone covering the entrance. But Luke writes that this was not the end. Three days later Jesus came back to life again.
Jesus appears to his disciples
On Easter morning Jesus appeared to a group of women, then to his disciples and also to other followers.
Jesus ascends to Heaven
Although his disciples wanted Jesus to stay with them he couldn’t. He left them with the promise that he would send a helper to be with them. At the beginning of Luke's second book (Acts) he writes about how Jesus went back to Heaven to reign with God the Father.