Jesus in Christianity

Jesus (on the left) is being identified by John the Baptist as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, in John 1:29.[1] 17th-century depiction by Vannini.

In Christianity, Jesus is believed to be the Messiah (Christ) and through his crucifixion and resurrection, humans can be reconciled to God and thereby are offered salvation and the promise of eternal life.[2] These teachings emphasize that as the willing Lamb of God, Jesus chose to suffer on the cross at Calvary as a sign of his full obedience to the will of God the Father, as an "agent and servant of God".[3][4] The choice Jesus made thus counter-positions him as a new man of morality and obedience, in contrast to Adam's disobedience.[5]

Christians believe that Jesus was both human and divine—the Son of God. While there has been theological debate over the nature of Jesus, Trinitarian Christians believe that Jesus is the Logos, God incarnate, God the Son, and "true God and true man"—both fully divine and fully human. Jesus, having become fully human in all respects, suffered the pains and temptations of a mortal man, yet he did not sin. As fully God, he defeated death and rose to life again. According to the Bible, God raised him from the dead.[6] He ascended to heaven to sit at the right hand of God,[7] and he will return to earth again for the Last Judgment and the establishment of the Kingdom of God in the World to Come.[8]

Core teachings

Although Christian views of Jesus vary, it is possible to summarize key elements of the shared beliefs among major denominations based on their catechetical or confessional texts.[9][10][11] Christian views of Jesus are derived from various biblical sources, particularly from the canonical Gospels and New Testament letters such as the Pauline epistles. Christians predominantly hold that these works are historically true.[12]

Those groups or denominations committed to what are considered biblically orthodox Christianity nearly all agree on the following points:[13]

  • Christians believe that the mother of Jesus was a virgin.
  • Christians believe that Jesus was a human being who was also fully God.
  • Christians believe that Jesus came into the world as the son of only one earthly parent, Mary.
  • Christians believe that Jesus never sinned or did anything wrong.
  • Christians believe that Jesus was eventually martyred, was buried in a tomb, and then on the third day came back to life.
  • Christians believe that because he rose from the tomb on the third day, that he lives and has a glorious spiritual body today which can be felt with a touch.
  • Christians believe that Jesus eventually ascended back to God the Father.
  • Christians believe that Jesus will come back to earth a second time.[14]

Some groups considered within Christianity hold beliefs considered to unorthodox. For example, believers in monophysitism reject the idea that Christ was fully human and God at the same time. Others, such as the Latter-day Saints, consider Christ to be in possession of a fully physical body after his resurrection.

The five major milestones in the gospel narrative of the life of Jesus are his baptism, transfiguration, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension.[15][16][17] These are usually bracketed by two other episodes: his nativity at the beginning and the sending of the Paraclete (Holy Spirit) at the end.[15][17] The gospel accounts of the teachings of Jesus are often presented in terms of specific categories involving his "works and words", e.g., his ministry, parables and miracles.[18][19]

Christians not only attach theological significance to the works of Jesus, but also to his name. New Testament Scriptures requisite the name of Jesus as the only way to be saved.[20] Devotions to the name of Jesus go back to the earliest days of Christianity.[21][22] These exist today both in Eastern and Western Christianity—both Catholic and Protestant.[22]

Christians predominantly profess that through Jesus' life, death, and resurrection, he restored humanity's communion with God with the blood of the New Covenant. His death on a cross is understood as a redemptive sacrifice: the source of humanity's salvation and the atonement for sin[23] which had entered human history through the sin of Adam.[24]