Biography of Messiahs and Prophets Jesus Christ Part 2

About the famous religious figure Jesus Christ, biography and history of the Christian leader.

MESSIAHS AND PROPHETS

JESUS (c. 7 B.C.-29 A.D.)

Joseph, Mary, and their young son stayed for a while in the Bethlehem vicinity. According to Matthew, this was the time of the visit of the three wise men. When King Herod heard of the rumors circulating among his subjects of the birth of the king of the Jews, he ordered all male infants two years of age or under killed. Warned of this, Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt until after Herod died. They then went back to Nazareth.

Little is known of Jesus' life until he was about 33. Up to that time, it must be assumed that he led the typical life of a boy and man of that period. It is obvious from his parables that he was a keen observer of nature, both human and environmental. He was raised in a strict Jewish household and was taught his father's trade. When he was 12, Jesus made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem with his parents to celebrate Passover, in anticipation of his 13th birthday, when he would celebrate his bar mitzvah--an adult in the Jewish faith. Jesus went to the temple there and participated in lively discussions with the rabbis, expounding with intelligence and understanding far beyond his years.

Surprisingly, there are almost no direct references to or descriptions of how Jesus looked. From hints in the New Testament, it can be imagined that he was taller than average, well built, and handsome. He probably resembled the men of Judea, bearded and Semitic in appearance. He had an extremely charismatic personality and exuded empathy, yet was occasionally harsh and tactless in his declarations. He was a man of anger and courage as much as he was a man of humor and understanding.

When he was around 33, Jesus went to hear John "the baptizer" speak. Jesus was so moved, he asked to be baptized. Afterward, Jesus decided to assume openly the role of a representative of God on earth. To test his faith and prepare himself, he spent 40 days alone in the desert, praying and fasting. Upon his return from his self-imposed trial, Jesus became an itinerant rabbi, teaching his interpretation of current religious belief all over Galilee, though centering his mission in the town of Capernaum, the home of Simon Peter. In his wanderings from village to village, Jesus was accompanied by a following that sometimes numbered as many as 70 people, not to mention the crowds he attracted along the way. However, his core group of disciples was made up of 12 hand-chosen men.

Wherever he went, Jesus inspired reactions from the people who heard him, usually swaying them to his side, with his words and the miracles attributed to him in the New Testament, but occasionally angering them to the point of his having to beat a hasty retreat. The growing popularity of this radical reformer disturbed the men in power at the time. The members of the Sanhedrin (the Jewish tribunal and ruling body) and the Pharisees (a strict and influential sect) began to suspect him of breaking religious law and to see him as a dangerous threat to their own power. They began plotting against Jesus, attempting to find or create instances that would trigger his arrest and execution. Jesus was aware of their interest in his demise, but he did not cease his outspoken lectures. However, politically astute, he cautioned his 12 faithful followers to watch out for agitators and to make no claims for him that could be construed as evidence of blasphemy.

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