The appearance of Jesus Christ in the religious firmament as the founder of Christianity created a glorious chapter in the annals of world history.
Being engrossed with many superstitions, Judaism had created deep dissatisfaction in the mind of the people of Palestine.
They wanted to get rid of this religion. The appearance of Jesus Christ created a new atmosphere in Palestine. Inspite of the opposition of the Jews, Jesus preached his religious doctrines. The new religion preached by Jesus Christ became famous as Christianity.
Jesus Christ was born on 25 December of 4 B.C. at a village named Bethlehem near the town of Jerusalem in the kingdom of Juda. By that time Augustas Caesar was the monarch of Rome. The father of Jesus was Joseph and mother, Mary. While going from Nazareth, Jesus was born in a stable at Bethlehem on 25 December. So, 25 December is observed as the birthday of Jesus Christ or Christians.
The night when Jesus was born is described to have witnessed some miracles. A flash of lightning astonished the people of Palestine when Jesus took birth. By that time some astrologers from the East came to Jerusalem and asked-“Where is the new born ‘King of the Jews’? For we have seen his Star in far off eastern lands and have come to worship him”.
This created fear in the mind of Herod, the ruler of Judaea. He immediately ordered all the new born babies of two years or less age in his kingdom to be killed. He thus wanted to eliminate the possible rivals to his throne in future. Being aware about this, Joseph took the baby with Mary to Egypt where he stayed till the death of Herod. Then Joseph returned to Nazareth where Jesus was brought up. That is why he is called as the “Jesus of Nazareth.”
At first, at the age of twelve, Jesus attended the annual “Passover Festival” with his parents in a temple at Jerusalem and surprised everyone by his brilliant discussion with the teachers of Law. In 26 A.D. at the age of 30 when Jesus took holy bath in the river Jordan and went to John to be batised, the latter shouted that the “Messiah” had come to rule the ‘Kingdom of God’. Thereafter, he was famous as Jesus Christ. While being baptised by John, Jesus got divine orders. While praying at Galilli, he suddenly declared that the ‘Kingdom of God’ has come.
Jesus then decided to preach his doctrine. He selected 12 disciples for this purpose among whom St. Peter was very famous. He first preached his religion at the ‘Synagogue’ (the prayer hall of the Jews) and then went to different villages in the province of Galilee. While preaching his religion, he performed many miracles.
Through his gentle touch, many persons suffering from incurable diseases by that time like leprosy and Paralysis were cured. He touched the body of Jino, a boy who had breathed his last by falling from a two-storyed building and surprisingly, the boy became alive. In a wedding ceremony, when there was a shortage of wine, he turned six big water pots into sweet wine which surprised all.
Starting from Bethany he travelled through many places like Cana, Gali, Capemum, Jerusalem etc. and preached his religion. He became popular day by day among the people.
I he popularity of Christ made the Jews envious. A popular charge was made against him that he was spoiling the youths of the society. He joined with disciples in the Passover festival in 30 A.D. This was known as the ‘Last Supper’. As he was leaving the place for his night rest at Olive grove, he was betrayed by his own disciple Judas Iscariot and the
Jews took him under their grip. Then, they took him to Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor of Jerusalem. He was pressurised by the Jews and he declare Jesus as an enemy of the country and passed order for his crucifixion.
Jesus was forced to carry his cross upto the mountain kalavari with two other notoriouis criminals. On the way, he was flogged, mocked and spat upon by the Jewish mob who also put a crown of thorns on his head. At a place named Golgotha in Kalavari Mountain, Jesus was crucified on a Friday in December, 29 A.D. with two other criminals. He ultered-“Father! Forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”
After Jesus was dead, his body was taken off the cross. As per the usual practice, he was buried in a nearby grave and sealed. Three days after when his disciples, friends and relations came to embalm the body with ointment, they found the grave empty. Then Jesus appeared before his mother and other disciples.
This event is known as ‘Resurrection’. He blessed his followers and lifting his hands towards heaven ascended unto it. Jesus was, thus, regarded as a ‘Messiah’ by the people.
Teachings of Jesus Christ:
The sacred book of Christianity is the Holy ‘Bible’. It is divided into two parts-‘The Old Testament’ and ‘New Testament’. The teachings of Jesus Christ have been compiled in the New Testament.
His teachings are as such:
The teachings of Jesus Christ were based on the religious views of the Jews. He taught that God is one. He is Omniscient, Omnipotent and Omnipresent. Everyone should response faith on him. He will relieve all pains of the people.
Jesus said that all human beings are the children of God. So, nobody should have any man. No one should be treated as untouchable. So, all should live in the society with equal importance. He further emphasised that both male and female should enjoy equal rights in the society.
Jesus put emphasis on virtues. He preached the qualities like mercy, forgiveness, peace, true judgment, sacredness etc. He preached fraternity among men. God will be pleased if brotherhood is cultivated among the people.
Duties of Man:
Jesus preached about the noble duties of man. He said that one should serve his parents, relatives and elders. He said “Service to Mankind is Service to God”. He used to say-“Love your enemies; bless them who curse you; do good to them who hate you; pray for them who persecute you”.
Sermon on the Mount:
Once Jesus stood on the mountain and preached his idea to the people. This is known as ‘Sermon on the Mount’.
1. Blessed are those who know their spiritual need for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
2. Blessed are they who mourn; for they shall be comforted.
3. Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.
4. Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy.
5. Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God.
6. Blessed are the peace makers; for they shall be called ‘The Children of God’ etc.
Hammurabi had prescribed the law that “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”. On the contrary, Jesus said-“If you are slapped on one cheek, turn the other too.” In every sense of the term, Jesus wanted mankind to cultivate mercy, a great virtue.
It was a tradition that one should love his neighbour and hate his enemy. Jesus rejected that idea. He told to love the enemies. This will create a lasting brotherhood on earth.
Jesus Christ preached the message of affection. The sinner and the wrong doers were not hated by him. He tried to bring them to the right path. He preached-“hate the sin but not the sinner”. This saying of Jesus made him very popular.
Leaving of Falsehood:
Jesus advised people not to tell lie. He also preached to desist falsehood. He criticised the people who pretended praying God inside the Church or standing on the road. He advised to be pure and pray God with devotion and dedication.
Jesus projected himself as a great giver before mankind. He advised- “Whoever asks for your coat, let him have your cloak also.” He further told-“Whoever compels you to go a mile, go with him two.” He preached to love one’s neighbour.
Light of the World:
Jesus considered himself as the son of the God. He said-“I am the light of the world. Those who repose faith on me, he will realise the light.” He projected himself as a saviour of mankind.
The Last Judgment:
Jesus was always saying to the people regarding the day of ‘Last Judgment’. This would come in the life of every man. On that day, God will reward the virtuous, those who have acted according to his precepts. On the other hand, the wicked who have denounced him shall be put into everlasting fire. The righteous will receive the reward of eternal life and the wicked will be punished.
Jesus preached his idea through parables. Among those parables, the parable of the ‘Good Samaritan’ is famous. He narrated the story of a Jewish traveller going from Jerusalem on a far off journey. On the way, he was attacked by robbers who looted him, wounded him and left him half dead.
On that way came a Jewish preist with his disciples but he did not take care of that wounded man. Similarly, a rich Jew passed through that way but he did not also look at the dying man. At last came a Samaritan on that way who became Sympathetic to that injured Man, brought him to an inn, treated his wound, cured him and gave him some money. This parable contained the moral that “Those who help others at the time of need, they are more than one’s brother, relatives and friends”.
Similarly, the Parable of the ‘Prodigal Son’ is another good story told before the people by Jesus Christ. Accordingly, among the two sons of a father, the younger took his share of property from his father and left for another country. There he lost all his wealth’s and when the great famine appeared in that land, he returned his home land and wanted to be a hired labour to earn his livelihood. His father saw him, embraced him, clothed him and arranged good food for him.
The elder son disapproved these deeds of his father. The father replied-“Son! All these years you were with me and all that I have is yours. But your brother was dead and lost. He has been found and he has come back. So, it is occasion to make merry.” By this proable, Jesus explained ‘God’s love for Sinners’.
Thus, the teachings of Jesus Christ were holy. His words were simple and widely accepted by the people. ‘Live and Let Live’-was the principle which Jesus taught to the people. That is why Jesus was regarded as the ‘Messiah’ of the world.
Spread of Christianity:
After the death of Jesus Christ, Christianity did not stop. It spread very quickly. One of the favourite Disciples of Christ, St. Simon Peter devoted his heart and soul for the spread of Christianity. After spreading Christianity in Asia Minor, Peter went to Rome. In later times, he was famous as ‘Father’. This term ‘Father’ became papa and at last ‘Pope’. The Head of Christianity is known as ‘Pope’.
Saint Paul or Saul played a vital role in the spread of Christianity; lie went to Asia Minor, Greece and Other countries of the world for the spread of Christianity and built Churches in those places. At last, he was imprisoned in Rome and he breathed his last there. St. Paul is regarded as the ‘Second Founder of Christianity’ because of the pain he took himself for the spread of Christianity.
The other Disciples of Christ spread Christianity in Jerusalem. Bethlehem, Judea, Galilee, Corinth, Alexandria, Rome and other far off places of the world. Many Churches were built up in those places. Thus, Christianity began to spread rapidly.
The followers of Christianity in Rome were tortured when they denied worshiping the statute of the Roman Emperor. They were treated as enemies of Rome. However, this state of affair did not last for long in Rome.
In 313 A.D. Constantine became the emperor of Rome. He passed Edict of Milan. He accepted Christianity in 322 A.D. and made it the Country’s religion. In due course of time, Rome became the holy place for Christianity. With the gradual march of time, Christianity became popular in the nook and comer of the world.
There are many causes for the spread of Christianity. First, the religious ideas of Jesus were very simple and influential which attracted the people. Secondly, the disciples like Peter and Paul made it a mission to popularise Christianity in different parts of the world. Thirdly, the ancient religious faiths and beliefs had lost their importance in Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome when Christianity rose and it became popular in those places.
Fourthly, the attitude for service to mankind which Christianity preached made it popular. Finally, the concept of ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ what Jesus had preached, created curosity in the mind of the people to know more and more about it? They accepted Christianity as their mission. In this way, Christianity became popular in England, Australia and other countries of the world. The Christian fathers took keen interest for spreading Christianity in the nook and comer of the World.
Christianity is regarded as one of the major religious of the world. It projected Jesus Christ as one of the greatest religious figures of the world. Within a very short span of time it became quite popular in the world. Today Christianity retains its importance as a great and popular religion in the world.