e-mail
password
 
 
 
Common Questions
Home > > Common Questions
  • What is the meaning of the name, "Jesus Christ?" 
  • Why was Jesus killed?
  • Why was Jesus so controversial?
  • Why did some people in the 1st century believe that Jesus rose from the dead?
  • About Content Selection
  • How were the selections made within the various sections (e.g. choosing the "key messages" of Jesus)?
  • How were the selections made for the "key points" of eyewitnesses (e.g. like Peter)?
  • About the Sources
  • How were the primary sources selected?
  • What are the most historically authentic and reliable sources about Jesus?
  • What criteria/tests were used to determine the historical authenticity/accuracy of the primary biographical sources?
  • Were the biographies of Jesus reliably preserved?
  • Are there credible sources about Jesus outside his biographies?
  • About Jesus and Modern Day Religion
  • What is the "Bible" and how does it relate to Jesus? 
  • What is the symbol of the cross and it’s significance?
  • What common religious practices did Jesus practice?
  • What common religious practice did Jesus initiate?
  • What does it mean to become a follower of Jesus?
  • Why do some people today believe Jesus is still alive?

  •  


    ABOUT JESUS

    What is the meaning of the name, "Jesus Christ?"

    As a man, Jesus was commonly referred to as Jesus from the town of Nazareth.  The name Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew name, Yeshua, which in turn is a contraction of the name "Yehoshua," translated to mean "God (Jehovah) saves". The English equivalent is Joshua.

    Christ is a title, which means the anointed one of God.  In Greek, Christos = Christ = the Anointed. In Hebrew, Mashiah = Messiah = the Anointed.  Anointed can be translated to mean set apart by God for a sacred purpose.  Hence, Jesus the Christ is equivalent to Jesus the Messiah.

    Together, the two terms, Jesus Christ, hence can be translated, "Set apart by God, as God, for the sacred purpose of saving man."

    Why was Jesus killed?

    Jesus went through six trials before his execution.  The Jewish High Priest and the Jewish High Court (the Sanhedrin) effectively asked Jesus two questions:  1) Are you the Messiah? and 2) Are you the Son of God? To both of these, Jesus answered, "I AM". This was enough to condemn Jesus for blaspheming God by claiming to be God.

    Why was Jesus so controversial?

    Jesus was most controversial in his day for reports of supernatural spectacles and healings. Jewish traditions recorded in the Talmud depict Jesus as a rabbi (teacher), list his disciples and allude to his condemnation for ‘practicing sorcery and leading Israel astray’, as well as his execution on the eve of the Passover feast. Although most of his life, Jesus practiced his healing works away from the center of attention, in his later years, he practiced these healings in the face of religious leaders in and near Jerusalem, the nation’s center. These unprecedented acts included healing the lifelong blindness of a central figure and opening a tomb to raise a dead man. As these unexplainable events were witnessed by local masses, it resulted in swarms of new followers and led the established religious order to panic. Jesus’ ultimate controversial miracle was himself rising from the dead three days after his execution.

    Why did some people in the 1st century believe that Jesus rose from the dead?

    Witnesses had no question that Jesus was truly dead, because the Roman soldiers performed their final step in execution, which is piercing a spear through the body and heart. Jesus was publicly executed and buried, but then surprisingly the tomb was discovered open and empty. Skeptics have posed many reasons for how the tomb may have become empty, such as the theft of the body.

    The most convincing fact in the mind of 1st century followers of Jesus was the testimony of a large number of people who claimed to have seen Jesus alive after his death. In fact, Jesus’ followers would repeat a statement that is also included in Paul’s letter to people in the city of Corinth between 55 AD and 57 AD. He wrote, "Jesus appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the twelve. After that he appeared to more than 500 brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive" Apparently, Jesus’ followers were so convinced about Jesus’ return from the dead (resurrection), that many chose to be killed rather than deny their belief in Jesus’ resurrection.

    ABOUT CONTENT SELECTION

    How were the selections made within the various sections (e.g. choosing the "key messages" of Jesus)?

    The recorded quotes of Jesus were first collected, and then the quotes were sorted into appropriate logical categories or topics. The logical categories most frequently mentioned or emphasized were selected. The objective was to identify and highlight Jesus’ bias and to avoid/minimize editorial bias.

    How were the selections made for the "key points" of eyewitnesses (e.g. like Peter)?

    The recorded quotes about Jesus from the eyewitnesses were first collected, and then sorted into logical categories or topics. The logical categories most frequently mentioned or emphasized were selected. Many of the eyewitnesses repeated similar themes in their description of Jesus. The objective was to represent the eyewitness themes correctly and to avoid/minimize editorial bias.

    ABOUT THE SOURCES

    How were the primary sources selected?

    Primary sources include the following categories:

    • Contemporaries of Jesus

    • Eyewitnesses of Jesus

    • Items written within same century as Jesus

    • Preponderance of academic consensus

    • Copies and manuscripts in hand today

    Primary sources do not include the following:

    • Items written more than 100 years after life of Jesus

    • Controversial and without academic consensus

    • Missing, non-existent copies and manuscripts

    What are the most historically authentic and reliable sources about Jesus?

    The most trustworthy records of the events and statements of Jesus were of either direct or indirect eyewitness testimony. Four biographies about Jesus have withstood the test of scrutiny and time. To read brief descriptions about the biographical authors, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, see: (Authorship). Mark, an interpreter for Jesus’ disciple Peter, scribed his biography of Jesus likely between 50 and 70 AD. Jesus’ disciple, Matthew, wrote his biography of Jesus in Hebrew around 80 AD, intended for Jewish audiences. Luke, a Greek-educated physician, starts his biography of Jesus with a preamble to his sponsor, Theophilus:

    "Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word have handed them down to us, it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you might know the exact truth about the things you have been taught."

    The last written of the primary four biographies was by Jesus’ disciple, John, who sought to be more unique in his content rather than merely repeating the other three biographies. John was living at Ephesus in Asia when he wrote his work.

    What criteria/tests were used to determine the historical authenticity/accuracy of the primary biographical sources?

    According to author and journalist Lee Stroebel, in what he calls a "Journalist’s personal investigation of the evidence for Jesus," he concludes that the biographies of Jesus stand up to the same types of tests which are applied to evidence or testimony submitted in a courtroom:

    • Intention test – biographers stated or implied their intention was to accurately preserve history.

    • Ability test – Biographers were educated and practiced in oral tradition which enabled memorization until content could be written.

    • Character test – Seems like authors were men of integrity.

    • Consistency test – The biographies are sufficiently diverse to show they were independent, and alike enough to show they were all trying to describe the same thing.

    • Bias test – Authors had nothing to gain by misrepresenting the truth, and actually were in jeopardy of their lives for communicating their materials.

    • Cover-up test – Authors did not try to cover up or omit items that were difficult to explain (such as miracles). The most "credible" biographies would have tried to leave out such.

    • Corroboration test – People, places, and events mentioned in the biographies are consistent with other historical recordings of the day.

    • Adverse witness test – There is no historical evidence that contemporaries of the authors made attempts to discredit or criticize the biographies for being factually inaccurate.

    Were the biographies of Jesus reliably preserved?

    The four primary biographies of Jesus are included in the Bible’s "new testament" section. As again described by Journalist Lee Stoebel, an unprecedented number of copies have survived compared to other works we consider trustworthy. According to documentary evidence, the new testament has survived in more manuscripts than any other book from antiquity, and in a purer form than any other great book. There are over 5,000 Greek manuscripts of the new testament, and if other languages are considered, there are about 24,000 manuscripts. Next to the new testament, the greatest amount of manuscript testimony is of Homer’s Iliad, which was the bible of the ancient Greeks, composed in 800 BC. There are fewer than 650 manuscripts of the Iliad, dating from the second- and third-century AD. With regard to first-century historian, Josephus, we have 9 Greek manuscripts of his work, the Jewish War, and these copies were written in the 10th, 11th and 12th centuries.

    Like all ancient manuscripts, to preserve important materials, copies were made, first in Papyrus manuscripts and later in more sturdy parchment, made of skins. The earliest known papyrus fragment about Jesus is from the biography of John, dated from 100 to 150 AD.

    Are there credible sources about Jesus outside his biographies?

    Yes, historians starting from the time of Jesus have included references to Jesus within their historical references. Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (37-100 AD) wrote in his "Jewish Antiquities":

    "Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, (if it be lawful to call him a man,) for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. (He was the Christ;) and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, (for he appeared to them alive again the third day,) as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct to this day."
    [Note: Interpolations, possibly added by others, are indicated in parenthesis.]

    Also, the first century Roman historian, Tacitus (56-120 AD), wrote:

    "Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberias at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome..."

    QUESTIONS ABOUT JESUS AND MODERN DAY RELIGION

    What is the "Bible" and how does it relate to Jesus?

    The Bible is the compilation of 66 different smaller books or sections. The term old testament refers to the 39 books that were written before Jesus, and contains many of the Jewish holy scriptures. The term, new testament, refers to the 27 books written after Jesus, and contains the four primary biographies of Jesus and documents relating to the growth of the early followers of Jesus.

    What is the symbol of the cross and its significance?

    The cross is the mechanism that Romans used to execute Jesus. Jesus’ hands were nailed to opposite sides of a beam. Then this beam was attached to a vertical stake, forming the shape of a cross. Jesus’ execution on the cross is considered of superlative significance by followers, because it represents the penalty paid by Jesus on behalf of mankind, so that mankind could bypass such penalty and maintain an eternal relationship with the living God. Because followers also believe that Jesus rose from the dead, the empty cross represents a symbol of hope, victory over death and eternal life.

    What common religious practices did Jesus practice?

    As a Jew, most of Jesus’ religious practices were dictated by his Jewish tradition. The biographies of Jesus record that Jesus participated in such practices as taking the Passover meal (a.k.a. Eucharist/communion), Baptism, Silent Prayer, Fasting, Reading Scripture, Visiting the Synagogue (church), etc.

    What common religious practice did Jesus initiate?

    Jesus did not initiate new religious practices, since as a Jew, most of Jesus’ religious practices were dictated by his Jewish tradition. However, at one point, Jesus’ disciples (pupils) asked for assistance in learning how to pray to God. Jesus offered a simple, model prayer, sometimes called "The Lord’s Prayer," which is often repeated in religious services today:

    "Our Father in heaven, holy is your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever."

    What does it mean to become a follower of Jesus?

    Modern churches and religious groups have numerous interpretations and responses to this question. An excellent place for primary research is to study Jesus’ direct statements as to what he commanded of his own disciples (see "Jesus’ Command’s to Followers."). According to Jesus’ early follower Paul, in a letter to people in Rome, becoming a follower of Jesus starts with the act of being "saved" or forgiven by God. This required only a simple prayer to God stating that, "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved." (Romans 10:9)
    [For more further information, see Links to Personal/Spiritual Websites.]

    Why do some people today believe Jesus is still alive?

    Followers of Jesus today base their belief in Jesus’ sometimes on study of historical fact, but ultimately make a decision to follow Jesus based on sheer faith. It is an interesting and completely appropriate activity to ask a follower of Jesus why they believe Jesus is alive today, especially since this belief is one of the few requirements to actually become a follower of Jesus. The varied answers may include such statements (testimonies) as, "I feel him", "I sense his presence in my life", "the Bible promises and assures me so", "God’s Spirit in my heart gives me the conviction", "I can see the results of his working in my life or someone else’s life", "I can hear his voice" or "he has offered silent guidance in my life". The rare response may include "I have seen him" or "He has healed me."
    [For more further information, see People's Experience With Jesus.]

    BIBLIOGRAPHY

    Comay, Joan and Brownrigg, Ronald. Who's Who in the Bible. Bonanza Books, New York, New York. 1980.
    McAllister, Dawson. A Walk With Christ to the Cross. Roper Press, Inc, Dallas, Texas. 1980.
    Stroebel, Lee. The Case for Christ. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1998.
    Unger, Merrill F. The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois. 1993.


    del.icio.us stumbleupon.com digg.com furl.net spurl.net blinklist.com shadows.com my.yahoo.com reddit.com

    Share | Jesus Central on Facebook

     

     Options
    Read (thoughts of others) Add (your thoughts,videos…)
    Ask (your questions) Answer (questions of others)
    Research (using the web)
     My Workspace
     Answer (questions of others)
    Editors My Favorite People Anyone By Rank Newest

    55 entries for this category:

    What was the population of Israel (Palestine) during the 1st century?



    By: John Willbanks
    Category: Common Questions
    Comment Helpful? Favorite Violation
    After losing my grandmother last year, who I was extremely close to since I was born, I havent been the same. I dont really smile or laugh anymore because the pain and emptiness is too strong. She was my happiness, my joy, my peace of mind, she was my all. Now I feel so empty and lost. I have anxiety and trouble sleeping most of the time now but I refuse to take meds. I always feel so tired and unhappy now :-( Because of this, I have turned to God for help. He has given me strength but it is still difficult to get through every day. The enemy is a liar and is constantly in my ear. Has anyone ever experienced this before or can advise? Thank you so much, God bless.



    By: Jess Name
    Category: Common Questions
    Comment Helpful? Favorite Violation
    SOMEONE HELP



    By: Bailey Wills
    Category: Common Questions
    Comment Helpful? Favorite Violation
    What are some perks of the palestine land??



    By: Bailey Wills
    Category: Common Questions
    Comment Helpful? Favorite Violation
    What did Palestine people do for fun?



    By: Bailey Wills
    Category: Common Questions
    Comment Helpful? Favorite Violation
    The Greek word generally translated “cross” is stau·ros. It basically means “an upright pale or stake.” The Compan- ion Bible points out: “[Stau·ros] never means two pieces of timber placed across one another at any angle . . . There is nothing in the Greek of the [New Testament] even to imply two pieces of timber.” In several texts, Bible writers use another word for the instrument of Jesus’ death. It is the Greek word xylon. (Acts 5: 30; 10:39; 13:29; Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24) This word simply means “timber” or “a stick, club, or tree.” Now the question is that the true Jesus follower 12 Apostles never used cross after his death. It is also clear that the Jesus wasnt crucified. But now a days why Christian used cross as their symbol. Doesnt it is idolatry? Please make me clear about this?



    By: Sangay Tamang
    Category: Common Questions
    Comment Helpful? Favorite Violation
    Followers of Jesus today base their belief in Jesus’ sometimes on study of historical fact, but ultimately make a decision to follow Jesus based on sheer faith. It is an interesting and completely appropriate activity to ask a follower of Jesus why they believe Jesus is alive today, especially since this belief is one of the few requirements to actually become a follower of Jesus. The varied answers may include such statements (testimonies) as, "I feel him", "I sense his presence in my life", "the Bible promises and assures me so", "God’s Spirit in my heart gives me the conviction", "I can see the results of his working in my life or someone else’s life", "I can hear his voice" or "he has offered silent guidance in my life". The rare response may include "I have seen him" or "He has healed me." 



    By: Mary Jones
    Category: Common Questions
    Comment Helpful? Favorite Violation
    Why do some people believe Jesus is still alive
    B Followers of Jesus today base their belief in Jesus’ sometimes on study of historical fact, but ultimately make a decision to follow Jesus based on sheer faith. It is an interesting and completely appropriate activity to ask a follower of Jesus why they believe Jesus is alive today, especially since this belief is one of the few requirements to actually become a follower of Jesus. The varied answers may include such statements (testimonies) as, "I feel him", "I sense his presence in my life", "the Bible promises and assures me so", "God’s Spirit in my heart gives me the conviction", "I can see the results of his working in my life or someone else’s life", "I can hear his voice" or "he has offered silent guidance in my life". The rare response may include "I have seen him" or "He has healed me."  ecause he is he got up one Sunday moring from the grave as he said he would and plus I walk by faith not by sight.



    By: Mary Jones
    Category: Common Questions
    Comment Helpful? Favorite Violation
    Follower of Jesus
    According to Jesus’ early follower Paul, in a letter to people in Rome, becoming a follower of Jesus starts with the act of being "saved" or forgiven by God. This required only a simple prayer to God stating that, "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved." (Romans 10:9) 



    By: Mary Jones
    Category: Common Questions
    Comment Helpful? Favorite Violation
    Religious practice/Lords Prayer

    Jesus did not initiate new religious practices, since as a Jew, most of Jesus’ religious practices were dictated by his Jewish tradition. However, at one point, Jesus’ disciples (pupils) asked for assistance in learning how to pray to God. Jesus offered a simple, model prayer, sometimes called "The Lord’s Prayer," which is often repeated in religious services today:

    "Our Father in heaven, holy is your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever."



    By: Mary Jones
    Category: Common Questions
    Comment Helpful? Favorite Violation

    Next >>