Jesus was a first-century Jewish preacher and religious leader. He is also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus Christ. Throughout his life until his death, Jesus helped many people from healing the sick, preaching against the exploitation of the people to forgiving sinners. In this paper, it will detail the life of Jesus especially healing and forgiving sinners until his death. The paper will also look at early Christians including how the first Christians reacted to the death of Jesus to how they were willing to endure persecution.
Jesus lived as a good Jew by following some of the traditions of the Jewish people. One such custom was being circumcised at a tender age, which is a rite among the Jewish community. He also respected the authorities apart from when he felt they disrespected the people and their way of life. However, Jesus challenged the customs of the Jewish people and their beliefs later. In Jewish traditions, women were deemed as second-class citizens. Jesus challenged this by speaking in public how to treat women equally. Additionally, he associated himself with the unclean in the society such as lepers. These are the customs that had in place for years. Apart from challenging customs, Jesus preached about the kingdom of God and His reign.
When Jesus started his mission, He said, I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent. (Luke 4:43). This helped him get more followers as well as healing the sick and forgiving sinners throughout his ministry. He also taught the followers to be loving and passionate as seen in the beatitudes. Jesus said to the Jews who had faith in Him, ?If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ (John 8:31-32). Salvation and liberty in Jesus grants forgiveness of sin and with forgiveness, believers will be free from sin and death and possibly reach a state of eternal life through His resurrection. Jesus did not have any work during his ministry and he always depended on women and benefactors. Mary Magdalene was one of the benefactors of Jesus and he helped him throughout his missionary. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea were also the benefactors of Jesus. Although Jesus helped many people throughout his missionary, he was put to death by the Romans on the charge of regarding himself as Messiah (Mark 8:29).
To claim himself to be the Messiah, in Jewish law, was deemed as blasphemy against God using God’s sacred name. In Jewish history, it has shown that Jesus was not the long-waited Messiah as they were not freed from the yoke of Roman bondage and the Golden Age did not come. Some Jews accepted Jesus as the Messiah, believing He is the savior who could defeat evil and bring the messianic age, while others rejected the claim. Jesus’ suffering, both physical and spiritual, was brutal. Before the crucifixion, He has experienced cruel beatings administered by Roman soldiers whom are known to be very bloody. The whips are designed to leave deep lacerations on the victims’ bodies that are painful to the extreme. In addition, a crown of thorns was forced into His scalp in mockery by the Romans (Mathew27:29).
Stripped away from clothes and hung completely naked in front of the crowd, the pain caused by crucifixion is intense enough to make one constantly long for death. Dr. Frederick Zugibe, an expert in forensic medicine and the study of crucifixion, described crucifixion as severe, excruciating, burn pain, light lightning bolts traversing the arm into spinal cord (Zugibe 2005), causing a tortuous effect that even anesthetics won’t help. After three hours of crucifixion, He died on the cross and resurrected three days later.
When Jesus died, many of the followers went into hiding out of fear (Hill 2013). The followers feared they would also be arrested and face severe punishment or execution.
Then all the disciples deserted him and fled. (Matt 26:56).
Then everyone deserted Him and fled. (Mark 14:50).
Even on the day of Jesus’ resurrection, His disciples were still in fear of the Jews. In my own opinion, it is understandable that they chose to preserve their lives over everything since they are simply ordinary working men. However, as the backbone of the church with the extraordinary task of calling the world to repentance in the risen Christ, they have the responsibility to endure all risks at no matter what cost. The followers were confused as who will lead them. Many were sad such as Cleopas who was walking towards Emmaus. He met Jesus but did not recognize him. He went ahead and discussed his sadness regarding the death of Jesus. During the Pentecost, one of the changes that was seen or felt among the apostles was their spiritual strength. The death of Jesus had affected their spiritual strength. After being rejuvenated, the disciples went to teach about Jesus and how he overcame death. They preached how Jesus resurrected from death.
After Jesus’ death, the disciplines led the same way of life as him. They led a simple life and continued to heal the sick, care for the needy as well a spray for the sinners (Fischer and Thomas, 1995). They were no long afraid of being mocked, persecuted, or put to death because they had seen Jesus rise. Paul on the other hand went to the gentiles and preached about Jesus and the word of God. He preached to the Gentiles and told them about his conviction about the risen Christ. Paul believed the Gentiles lived outside the Covenant that God made with Israelites. He managed to convert many gentiles into Christianity. However, Christians at the time were being persecuted. They carried on with their ministries even under the persecution that they were facing. The resurrection of Christ gave them the strength to continue with their ministries and evangelism. Currently, Christians are facing persecution in some countries such as in parts of Africa, middle east, China and North Korea. One example is Nigeria where the Northern part are Muslims and have killed numerous Christians in the region (Allen 2016). However, Christianity is still strong in most parts of the world.
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