RE:QUESTA space for resources to help RE teachers and their students explore the Christian faith
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Jesus: His Life and Ministry
What do Christians believe about Jesus' life and ministry?
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 Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” ... the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus." (Luke 1:26-35)
Mary and Joseph did marry and during the time the couple were in Bethlehem for the Roman census Mary gave birth to Jesus. For most of his life Jesus lived in Nazareth, a small town in northern Israel where it is believed he trained as a tradesman alongside Joseph. Traditionally it is thought that Joseph was a carpenter. The Bible also tells us that Jesus had brothers and sisters:
‘Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us?' (Matthew 13:55-56)
When he was 30, Jesus was baptised by John in the River Jordan and started his ministry – teaching people about God and performing miracles. He did this for three years. During this time Jesus did not have a fixed home but travelled around from place to place. As a Jewish rabbi (religious teacher), Jesus had disciples. The most famous were the 12 young men who followed Jesus and shared every part of his life. The Bible also talks about a larger group of followers who he trained to do God’s work, and even mentions some women disciples.
They were not the only people interested in Jesus. Crowds of people would follow him to hear what he had to say and watch the miracles he performed. But not everyone liked Jesus. Some members of the local religious communities were angry that Jesus criticised them for being hypocrites - people who tell people what to do but don’t do it themselves.
Jesus' Death and Resurrection
Christians believed that Jesus was sentenced to death and faced the Roman death penalty of death by crucifixion. However they believe that this was not the end of the story as the Bible tells of how three days later Jesus came back to life again, appearing to hundreds of people and even sharing a meal with his disciples. Click here to find out more about the story of Jesus.