|History||Faith||Spread of Gospel||Holidays||Traditions|
The History of Christianity (back to top)
Christianity is a way of life centered on the worship of one God shown to the world through a Jewish man named Jesus. Jesus lived as a human being for almost 30 years in Palestine and was crucified by the Romans at Jerusalem between AD 29 and 33.
Christians believe on the testimony of several witnesses that Jesus rose from the dead after 3 days and was seen by his disciples many times during the succeeding forty days. Christians do not worship a dead hero but the living Christ. Christianity is a historical and supernatural religion.
It is a religion built upon the revelation of the One God, given to the Jews and recorded in the Old Testament in the bible. Within the first generation of Jesus' followers, Christianity made a tremendous appeal to the non-Jewish or Gentile people. Preachers used the Greek language, most often, to spread the faith. Today, Christianity is a worldwide religion.
Jesus himself and his twelve disciples (special followers of Jesus during his lifetime) by race and religion were all Jews. They attended the Synagogue (the house of worship and communal center of a Jewish congregation) regularly and kept the Jewish feast of the Passover and other festivals. (The Passover is a Jewish holiday that remembers the freedom of the Hebrew slaves in Egypt.)
The Jewish people believe that there is going to be a messiah (the expected king and deliverer of the Jews). When Jesus claimed to be the messiah chosen by God, many Jews believed that he spoke the truth. Many other Jews, however, did not think he was the true messiah, and chose to keep their religion. Those Jews who did believe in Jesus, became Christians.
The Christian Faith(back to top)
The Lords Prayer begins with Our FATHER. Jesus taught his followers the Lords Prayer in the Sermon on the Mount. No other religion, not even Judaism, has ever placed such emphasis on the fatherhood of God, or on the fact that every human being is more than God's servant----- he is God's child.
Christianity is based on actual events. The chief symbol is the Cross. Christianity also places more emphasis than any of the other faiths on having its Lord ever personally present in the here and now.
It has based itself on two beliefs: Jesus Christ is the son of God, and that God sent Christ to earth to live as humans live, suffer as humans suffer, and to die to redeem mankind and gloriously rise again.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Paul promises, "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."
Therefore, these ideas separate the Christian religion from all others.
Spread of the Gospel (back to top)
The Jews had spread far and wide outside of Palestine during the centuries before Jesus Christ. when they constituted the Jewish Diaspora (the area outside Palestine settled by the Jews), by the first century AD Jewish colonies existed, especially in the larger towns, like Antioch, Rome, Ephesus, Carthage, Corinth, and Alexandria.
Christianity came in contact with the Gentile (non-Jewish)world through the synagogues (the Jewish worshiping place)in the Diaspora. Saint Paul took the Gospel to the Jewish centres of Asia Minor and Greece, from Antioch, where the followers of Christ were first called Christians by their enemies. Then he ultimately visited Rome, where tradition asserts that he was martyred with Peter, c. AD 64.
Many Gentile as well as Jewish converts were made in the process, with the results that by the end of the first century AD there were organized Christian communities (churches)all around the Mediterranean. By the end of the second century they had spread to Egypt, North Africa, and Gaul.
Christian Holidays (back to top)
Christmas is a holiday that commemorates Jesusí birth. It is one of the most important Christian festivals. The fourth Sunday before Christmas marks the beginning of Advent, a time when Christians look forward to celebrate Jesusí birthday.
Traditionally, Christmas occurs on December
twenty fifth, but no one really knows when Jesus was born.
Epiphany is twelve days after Christmas,
on January sixth. It remembers the visit of three wise men to the infant
Jesus in Bethlehem.
Lent is the period before Easter when Christians
remember their sins. It commemorates the forty days and nights Jesus spent
fasting and praying in the desert, before he started preaching his message.
Good Friday is when Christians remember the
day Jesus died. It is called "good" because it shows Jesusí goodness in
dying to save others.
Easter is the most important Christian festival.
They attend church to celebrate Jesusí rising from the dead.
The Feast of Ascension:
The Feast of Ascension takes place on Thursday,
forty days after Easter Sunday. It marks the day on which Jesus ascended
Pentecost is a celebration of the giving of the Holy Spirit to Jesusí disciples.
Baptism is the initiation of a person into
the Christian church, a follower of Jesus Christ.
Water is poured on ones head to symbolize a washing away of sin and the start of a new life as a Christian.
For most Christians, communion is the center of their worship. The worshipers eat a piece of bread (or wafer) and take a sip of wine (or grape juice). This recalls the Last Supper, when Jesus blessed some bread and wine, and gave it to his disciples. He said that the bread was his body and the wine was his blood, which he was sacrificing for peoples lives.
Trinity is a basic Christian belief that
one God has three aspects, the father (creator of everything), the Son
(Jesus), and the Holy Spirit (God's presence in the world).