Christianity is revealed in Jesus Christ. There is no agreement as to the exact date of Jesus’ birth. Roman Catholics place it on the night of the 24th of December; the Greek Orthodox Church believes the date was the 6th of January, and the Armenians place it on the 18th of January. Neither the year nor the date is in fact clear though it is now thought to be between 06 BCE – 30 CE. In the sixth century the year zero is regarded as the start of the Christian era.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem during the reign of King Herod the Great of Judea, to the Virgin Mary, wife of Joseph, a carpenter. After Herod’s death in 04 BC, the family came to Nazareth, and at the age of 30 Jesus was baptized in the River Jordan by John the Baptist, after which He began His ministry of preaching, miracles and healing. He was crucified in Jerusalem on a false charge. Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, found no fault in Jesus and wished to release Him. King Herod, present at the trial, also found Him innocent, but the chief priests, the Sanhedrin and the multitude all called for His death. In the end, Pilate gave in and consented to His death by crucifixion.
In the Bible angels carry messages between heaven and earth and are thought to have been present at Christ’s birth. The annunciation to Mary that she was to bear a son, conceived through the Holy Ghost, was made by Archangel Gabriel. It is believed that Mary was a virgin when Christ was born and became the mother of the Saviour, and this ties up with the account in the Jewish Bible that the Messiah born of a virgin. Jesus was born that salvation be granted to all, regardless of race. While Judaism is the religion of the tribes of Israel, Christianity will be a universal religion.
The cornerstone of Christian belief is that God came down to earth as Man and His unchanging nature was incorporated in Christ’s humanity, but did not overwhelm it. Jesus Christ was both truly human and truly divine. It was God His father, whose powers enabled Him to perform miracles, heal the sick and forgive sins. The revelation through Jesus of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost makes up the Trinity. According to Christian belief, God made Himself known as
Father and King in Creation, as His Son, Jesus, in saving those who are in need, and as the Holy Spirit, in divine inspiration, who is God within us. The nature of the divinity and humanity of Jesus was first debated in the 5th century. At the Council of Chalcedon in 451, the twin nature of Jesus was formally accepted, one part divine, the other human, unconflicting, unchanging and inseparable. However, Monophysites held that Christ had only one nature, principally divine, but with human form and human attributes. Today, those classed as Monophysites are acknowledged as acceptable to traditional Christian doctrine. A slight difference occurs between the Western concept of the Trinity, which stresses the supremacy of the unity of God, and the Eastern Church, which holds God to be three persons in the Blessed Trinity. Islamic sources quote Jesus as the “Word of God” or a “Spirit from God”, and maintain that Jesus is sustained by the Holy Ghost, and confirms Mary’s virginity, Jesus’ miracles and the fact that He will return to earth before the Day of Judgment. However, the Koran rejects the idea of Jesus as the Son of God, rather accepting Him as a prophet and servant of God.
Jesus is usually called Jesus Christ. The name Messiah in Hebrew means ‘one anointed with holy oil and dedicated to God’, in Greek Hristos and in Latin Christus, who descended from King David’s line, and derives from the identification of Jews as a Saviour King who is expected to establish God’s authority on earth. Christian sources indicate that Bethlehem is also King David’s city, and attempts to identify it with the Messiah.