CHRISTIANITY LECTURES 1-6.docx - CHRISTIANITY LECTURE ONE...

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CHRISTIANITY LECTURE ONE JESUS OF NAZARETH Introduction There are more than 2 billion Christians on earth. Roughly one out of every three persons on earth is Christian. There are various Christian movements. What do they have in common? - their profession of faith in Jesus of Nazareth - their belief that Jesus is the Christ, that is the messiah (Christ, Greek word for Messiah = “anointed”) - the belief in a transformation wrought by the life, death, and resurrection from the dead of Jesus All Christians share two rituals - baptism for the forgiveness of sins - and a meal that reenacts the last meal Jesus ate with his disciples Christians have a linear view of time. They look forward to a life beyond this life for individuals and a new age of peace and harmony for humanity. Meaning of Jesus of Nazareth for Christians What sources do we have about the life of Jesus? Mainly the four New Testament gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). The Gospels (“good news” in Old English) reflect both historical events and beliefs about the spiritual significance of these events. Jesus of Nazareth - was a Jewish teacher from the region of Galilee in the first century CE - attracted a small band of followers through his ministry of healing and teaching - was executed by Roman authorities His followers made the extraordinary claim that Jesus had been raised by God from the dead. They kept alive his teachings. Disciples of disciples wrote them down. They proclaimed the message that through the death and resurrection of Jesus, God has made a new covenant with humanity. Through Jesus God offered redemption to all. Like Jews and Muslims, the followers of Jesus believe that the gravest problem in human life is sin. Sin is the failure to live in harmony with the will of God. However, the followers of Jesus differ from Jews and Muslims in their view of sin and how sin is to be overcome. Most Christians define sin in the concept of Original Sin. This concept says that the will to do the good in all human beings has been corrupted the day Adam and Eve disobeyed God. Because of their disobedience, sin and death came into the world.
Christians believe that human beings were created good, but their desire to do what is good has been corrupted. Humans are enslaved to the power of sin and not fully capable of obeying the will of God. In other words, it is easier for humans to do evil than good. Out of compassion, God chose to send a savior, Jesus Christ to redeem humans. Jesus Christ died in reparation for humans’ past sins and restoring human nature. In other words, he recreated a good will in them in order to restore human destiny to its true goal of eternal life with God. Now, who was Jesus Christ? The Gospels were not written as biographies in the modern sense.

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