With an approximately 1.7 billion people world wide, Christianity is arguably the largest religion in the world today. Started at around 30 AD, Christianity is based on the teachings and life of Jesus Christ. Christianity was founded in the first century in Palestine by the disciples of Jesus. Many missionaries spread it, despite heavy persecution, throughout the Roman Empire. Perhaps the most notable missionary was Paul. The various books written by Jesus followers after his death, called the New Testament, along with the Old Testament makes up the Christian Bible. The Bible holds all the teachings of Jesus on how all Christians should live out their lives.
The central figure in Christianity is Jesus Christ. As the Son of God, he came to earth to teach about love and fellowship. He represents the person that all Christians must strive to be. Christians believe that he is the only one that ever lived on earth that can be called perfect from all worldly sins. The important thing to understand was that Jesus was God. He was here on earth to teach of Gods plan for all of humanity and to save the people of the world from their transgressions.
In Christianity, God is almighty and rules over all of heaven and earth. He is the one that created the earth and one day will cast judgement over the entire earth. Christians understand that through Jesus Christ, people can be saved from this judgement. By believing that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, the Spirit of God is exists in all believers, and that God is almighty in power. A person can be saved from this judgement.
Next to Jesus, the Bible is the foundation of Christianity. It holds the teachings and expectations for Christians. It is his written word through his servants for his people. The Bible consists of 39 books from the Old Testament and 27 book from the New Testament. The Old Testament describes the old covenant God made with Israel while the New Testament is about the new covenant through Jesus Christ and Gods people. The entire book includes personal stories, poetic works, prophetic stories, Gods laws for his people, and apocalyptic works.
Jesus was born about 7 BC in Bethlehem in Judea, by the Mary. With his miraculous birth, he is considered the Son of God and God himself. Most texts begin with Jesus ministry after his baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist and of his fasting in the wilderness for 40 days. During the final day of his fast, the Devil tried to tempt him, but failed.
After his encounter with the Devil, Jesus moved to Capernaum to begin his teaching. As the numbers of his followers increased, Jesus began training disciples to work with him. Once trained, he and his disciples traveled to nearby towns to preach the word of God. Much of what he taught challenged the authority of religious and civil leaders. Jesus gained as many enemies as followers.
As their ministry grew, it was reveled to his disciples that Jesus was the Messiah. This revelation also led to the death of Jesus. Threatened by Jesus growth in popularity, the leaders devised a plan to kill him. With the aid of one of the twelve disciples, Judas Iscariot, Jesus was arrested and sentenced to death.
After being found guilty for blasphemy and other charges, he was sentenced to death. Jesus was executed by crucifixion. Three days after his death, Jesus arose from his tomb and appeared to his disciples. After a brief time with his disciples, Jesus ascended into heaven.
Paul was born under the name Saul and was a great persecutor of Christians. Born and raised under the Jewish law, Saul hated Christians. Then on a journey, Saul became a Christian when Jesus came to him in a vision. After this revelation Saul changed his name to Paul and said that this vision meant the end of all religions to him. He was convinced that Christianity was God's call to the entire world. After taking this call from God, he built many churches. Paul was transformed from the greatest persecutor of Christians to the greatest missionary of Christianity. He is the author of 13 of the 27 books in the New Testament. His ministry ended when he was executed in Rome in the year 62 AD.
Constantine the Great
Constantine was the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. Constantine was born in Nis, which is now Serbia. In 312 AD, right before a major battle, Jesus appeared to him in a dream, giving him a sign that he will be victorious. He won the battle and Constantine looked upon Jesus as the deliverer of victory. Constantine ended the persecution of Christians by issuing the Edict of Milan, which ordered the people to live peacefully with Christians in the Roman Empire. He built numerous churches within the Roman Empire and was eventually baptized before his death.
All Christians faith rests on Christ's resurrection from the dead. The resurrection of Christ concluded his public ministry here on earth, by proving that he was God. His death and resurrection paved the path for the redemption of all of humanity that believed. In Christian beliefs, all who have died will be resurrected from their earthly bodies and judged by God.
Eucharist or communion is practiced to remember Jesus. In this practice, bread and wine are symbolically used or transformed by an ordained minister and taken by the minister and members of the congregation. By performing this ritual, Christians are following Jesus' command at the Last Supper, "Do this in remembrance of me." The bread represents his body that was broken for humanity. The wine represents the blood that he shed for all.
Christian churches use baptism as a symbol for a persons declaration of faith in Jesus Christ and their commitment to the repentance of sins. Churches regard this as a sacred ritual ordained by God. Water has always represented purification in any religion. In Christianity, a new believer often is baptized with water in front of the congregation to declare their faith in God. Even Jesus was baptized before the start of his public ministry to the world. Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he commanded all his disciples to baptize all the nations for the glory of God.
Easter is the annual celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. and the principal feast of the Christian year. It is celebrated on a Sunday on varying dates between March 22 and April 25. Easter is a culmination of a entire week. The Sunday before Easter is called Palm Sunday. It is celebrated to remember the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Holy Thursday, which is also known Maundy Thursday is in memory of the Last Supper of Christ with his disciples. Good Friday commemorates his crucifixion on the cross.
On December 25th of each year, Christian celebrates the birth of the Jesus Christ. The Christmas story according to the Bible goes as follows: While traveling the countryside to fulfill a government order, Mary and Joseph entered the town of Bethlehem to find shelter. The inn they found had no rooms left so the innkeeper let them stay in the stable with the animals. After the birth of Christ, a star appeared over the stable symbolizing thee birth of a king. This star led many people to the baby Jesus along with the Magi or Three Kings. They arrived carrying gifts for the baby Jesus.
Jerusalem is the capital and largest city of Israel. It is located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea. Jerusalem is considered the holiest city of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Because of this, Jerusalem has been the center of many battles for the rights of the city. Throughout history, the Persian, Syrian, Jewish, Roman, and Muslim Empires have controlled Jerusalem.