Christianity in Brief

Christianity (2.2 billion) – Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  God the Father and Holy Spirit complete the Trinity.  This religion major problem is “sin.”  Christ came to earth, died, and resurrected to save mankind.

Christians learned in the New Testament that the angel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary telling her that she would give birth of a son, who would be called Jesus.  Joseph to whom Mary was betrothed was about to put her way privately since he never had a relationship with her.  But an angel appeared in a dream telling him he should not do so because Mary’s pregnancy was by the Holy Spirit.  Joseph obeyed this advice and continued to be with Mary.  Jesus entered the world by being born in a manger of a stable, for there was no room at the inn in Bethlehem.  While at the stable Three Wise Men followed a star in the east to his birth place bringing him gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh.  But they didn’t return to Herod because they too were warned not to do so.  Since Herod wanted to slay this new born child whom he saw as a threat to his kingdom, so they fled to Egypt.

Not much more is known about Jesus’ early life.  Later his parents brought him to Bethlehem for the census. As a young child of twelve at Passover they went to Temple. Unknown to his family he was left for three days behind.  Joseph and Mary discovered he was missing, and returned to the Temple to find him disputing with Doctors, who were alarmed at his knowledge for such a young child.  There’s little else known about how he was raised.  But Christians were again introduced to him at 30 – the start of his ministry, when he was baptized by his cousin John the Baptist in the River Jordan and the sky opened and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove.

Jesus chose Twelve Disciples to follow him. He was an iterant preacher who went around preaching the coming of God, forgiveness of sins, healing the sick, raising the dead, and refuting the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Sadducees.  He was met with opposition from the Roman officials and leaders of the Temple because his teachings undermined the status quo of the society.  Jesus was deemed an outcast, arrested by governmental officials, tried, and crucified during the reign of Pontius Pilate.  He is believed to have risen from the dead.  And this is the foundation on which the Christian faith is based.  Christianity therefore teaches about the perils of sin, judgement, resurrection, and salvation.  Roman Catholics believe in purgatory, heaven for those saved, and hell for sinners whose sins aren’t forgiven by God.

Jesus is viewed as the Son of God.  He is said to have instituted the Eucharistic rite during the Last Supper with his disciples at an Upper Room in Jerusalem – the night before he was betrayed by a kiss from Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples.  He built the Church on Peter, another leading disciple and apostle.  The beginning of the Christian Church is said to be on the Day of Pentecost – 50 days after Easter, when there was the gushing of a mighty wind and tongues of fire as the disciples were huddled together in one place.  This outpouring was interpreted to be the descent of the Holy Spirit on believers to continue the Christian ministry in the world.

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