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What have we learned? • We have an understanding of the context into which Jesus was born. The Holy Land The country where Jesus lived is known as the Holy Land. This is because the origins of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are found there. At the time of Jesus, the Holy Land was called Palestine. Today, this country is known as Israel. Life Under Roman Rule In 63 BC, Palestine was conquered by the Romans and became part of the Roman Empire. Religious Structures in the Time of Jesus The Sanhedrin The Sanhedrin was the religious governing body located in Jerusalem. The High Priest was president of the Sanhedrin. Its members were made up of Sadducees and Pharisees. The Temple All Jewish people wanted to visit the Temple in Jerusalem at least once a year. It was Judaism’s most sacred building. The chief authority of the Temple was the High Priest. The Synagogue The synagogue was a meeting-place for prayer and the study of the Law. The Sabbath In the time of Jesus, the Jewish Sabbath began on Friday evening and ended on Saturday evening, just as it does to this day. What are the following groups collectively called? What have we learned? We can name some of the sources of information about Jesus of Nazareth. ‘The source of any piece of information is where the information comes from; the evidence refers to the information itself. The New Testament is the main source of evidence about Jesus.’ •We can differentiate between documents of faith and documents of history. Documents of Faith The gospels are documents of faith because the authors believed that Jesus was the Son of God. Each of the gospels gives witness to the story of Jesus. Documents of History The historians Josephus and Tacitus referred to Jesus in their writings. They wrote Documents of history. •We can trace the development of the gospels from oral tradition to the written word. Stages in the writing of the Gospels First Stage Life stage Second Stage Oral stage Third Stage Written Stage This began with the birth of Jesus and ended with his ascension into heaven. When the followers of Jesus recognised who he was, they brought news of him beyond Palestine to other countries, eventually reaching Rome. This oral stage is part of the Christian oral tradition. Written stage Eventually, the followers of Jesus began to write down the story of Jesus’ ministry and the circumstances of his death and resurrection. This written stage is part of the Christian written tradition. What have we learned? • We can identify characteristics of the Kingdom of God as preached by Jesus. ‘When people looked at Jesus’ actions and listened to his words, they caught a glimpse of the presence of God in the world, inviting their response.’ Characteristics of the Kingdom of God as shown in the parables, miracles, table-fellowship and discipleship of Jesus. Jesus helped people to understand the meaning of the Kingdom of God. He demonstrated the characteristics (signs or features) of the kingdom by showing: • how people living in the kingdom should love their neighbour; • how sinners and outcasts (outsiders) were to be treated in the kingdom; • how there should be a special place for the poor; • how women should be treated; • how people must love and forgive their enemies. • We can recognise these characteristics in the words and actions of Jesus and is followers, past and present. Living the Gospel today When people respond to the call of Jesus, God’s kingdom can be seen in their lives. For example: The L’Arche Community, Trócaire, Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity. Outline the above examples in your own words. What have we learned? • We recognise moments of conflict in the life of Jesus. For example: Growing opposition to Jesus; Jesus challenges the teachers of the Law. • We understand the Last Supper as a meal in the Passover tradition. We have read and are familiar with the gospel accounts of the death of Jesus. • The arrest of Jesus: Mark 14:26-52; Matthew 26:30 56; Luke 22:39-53; John 18:1-12. • Before the Temple authorities and Peter’s denial: Mark 14:53-72; Matthew 26:57–27:10;Luke 22:54-71; John 18:13-27. • Roman trial: Mark:15:1-20; Matthew 27:1131; Luke 23:1-25 John 18:28 – 19:16a. • Crucifixion, death and burial: Mark 15:21-47; Matthew 27:32-66; Luke 23:26-56; John 19:16b-42. We have studied the possible impact of the resurrection appearances on the followers of Jesus. ‘When the followers of Jesus realised that he had risen from the dead, they were confident once again. Jesus had not abandoned them, but had come back to them as he had promised, to be with them until the end of time. Now they fully understood who he was. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead and his subsequent appearances finally revealed to his followers that he was more than they could ever have imagined. Jesus had surely come from God: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” ’ (John 14:9) What have we learned? We have an awareness of the emerging identity and development of the first Christian communities. ‘Pentecost is the name given to the day when the followers of Jesus experienced God’s gift of the Holy Spirit, as promised by Jesus.’ ‘The disciples were sent out as missionaries and they worked hard to spread the Good News and build the early Christian community.’ ‘The Christian community in Antioch grew as Christians fled from Jerusalem, where Christianity was outlawed. It was at Antioch that the name “Christian” was first given to the followers of Jesus. One of the challenges that faced the early Christian community was the tension between the Jewish and Gentile Christians.’ Modern Christian Communities The same statements in relation to faith, worship and way of life apply today to modern Christian communities. For example: Restoration Ministries is a faith-driven organisation that aims to restore and strengthen the faith and confidence of people who have been hurt by others and by life. We have examined some of the new titles for Jesus. (Higher Level only) Son of Man This title was first used in the Old Testament to describe a heavenly representative of great power and dignity, who would remain faithful to God and act for God and for the people in the event of a final time of trial or crisis. In Mark’s gospel, Jesus used this title fourteen times when he was describing himself. Christ/Messiah The word ‘Messiah’ means ‘one who has been anointed’. In the time of Jesus, kings were anointed to show their God-given authority. The Old Testament foretold that God would send a Messiah to save the people. By using the word ‘Messiah’ to describe Jesus, the early Christians showed that they believed that Jesus was the Messiah sent by God. Son of God This title was used to describe the Risen Jesus. This term helped the early Christians to understand the bond between God and Jesus. It emphasised the fact that Jesus was not just a very powerful human, but that he shared in the very nature of God. New Creation St Paul gave Jesus the title ‘New Creation’ because, in Jesus, God had done something very new that affected every human being. There was now an eternal living link between the Risen Jesus and the People of God.