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How well do you know
Who were Jesus’ parents? Why was choosing to be Jesus’
mother so difficult?
• Mary (Miriam) of Nazareth and Joseph of
Nazareth (or God the Father!)
• Women were held to a high standard for morality
– if she was pregnant and not married, she could
be executed.
• If Joseph married her, he risked public
embarrassment, people would judge him – was
he the father? Was another man? He would be
marrying a morally questionable woman!
What were the circumstances of his birth? (where,
when, why, how)
• Bethlehem, small town in Judea
• We once thought his birth was in year 1, and
know now that it was probably a few years before
that – maybe 4 BCE.
• He was born in Bethlehem because Mary and
Joseph had to travel there for Roman census –
Bethlehem was where Joseph’s tribe were from
(he came from the ancestors of King David, an
ancient leader of the Jewish people).
• Jesus was born in a stable because there was no
room in any inn
What country did he live in? What was the political situation in
his country? (who was in government, were there basic human
rights etc?)
• Judea, a Roman occupied province of Palestine in the
Middle East. There was very little in way of basic human
• people in Judea paid taxes to Rome (and Jesus said they
should) but also obeyed local Jewish authorities. The
Pharisees, for example, were Jewish authorities who were
very concerned with ritual purity and following the laws
from the Torah perfectly – the story of the Good Samaritan
is a comment on that – sometimes the Pharisees turned
their back on people because they were impure… it was all
about offering the sacrifice at the Temple and sometimes it
wasn’t compassionate.
• Life was harsh and often short (Joseph was probably dead
by the time Jesus was crucified)
What religion was Jesus? How do you know? (find quotations
from the Bible as support)
He was Jewish (Luke 2:21)
Shema (Deut 6:4)
Matthew 22:34 (The Greatest Commandment)
The Shema is the central belief of Jews and
why Jesus might have told the Pharisee that it
was the greatest commandment – He was a
faithful Jew!
Why did Jesus’ moral teachings come into conflict with the
teachings of his religion?
• He said love your enemies, he said forgive (in
contrast to Exodus 21:12, Jesus says forgive in
Matt 5:38 – he refers to Exodus specifically).
Jesus criticizes ritual purity laws (Good
Samaritan), heals on the Sabbath day
(Pharisees considered this work) and
Jesus accepted women.
Where did He grow up? Why? Where did He live as an adult?
How do you know?
• Jesus grew up in Egypt until King Herod died.
There was fear that Herod would kill Jesus.
• He lived in Nazareth in Galilee as an adult
What was Jesus’ likely profession before his public ministry?
• He was likely a carpenter or craftsman like his
father. That was the way most families
How did Jesus call His first disciples? What profession did His
first disciples have?
• Matt 4:18
• Mark 1:16
• Luke 5:1
What are the most central teachings of Jesus? Provide evidence
for why you think these are important.
• Parables are often where we find his central
• How to get to the “Kingdom” (Kingdom
(Beatitudes, love your neighbour, forgive your
enemies, turn the other cheek, don’t judge
unless you yourself are free of sin etc.)
Who does the Catholic Church say was Jesus’ original disciple?
• Mary, his mother!
• She chose to be his mother and knew him first
and better than anyone.
During His public ministry, what styles of teaching did Jesus use?
Living the example
What was Jesus charged with at his trial? Who was ultimately
responsible for his death?
• He was executed for a crime called sedition (creating an
uprising against the government).
• The Jewish authorities had no power to crucify him and
they were concerned about people saying he was the Son
of God.
• It’s debatable who was responsible – Pontius Pilate
wanted to set him free, but the crowds called for his
• Was it Jews who were responsible (probably the crowd
was full of people sent by the Chief Priests)?
• Was it the Romans, who had to do the actual job of
executing Jesus?
• This is still something that is argued and debated
What did Jesus say was the greatest
• Matt 22:34
• Mark 12:28
• Luke 10:25
What happens in Acts 2:1-8?
Explain this event’s significance.
• This is the Pentecost, the “Birthday of the
Church” when the Holy Spirit was sent to help
the apostles spread the good news.
• This is celebrated in the feast of Pentecost
(which was originally a Jewish harvest festival)
and remembered in the sacrament of
What do you think other faiths’ opinions are about Jesus? (Islam,
Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism)
• In Islam, Jesus is a great prophet (called Isa).
His mother’s name is the title of a book in the
Qur’an. More is written about her in the
Qur’an than in the Christian Bible. It is
believed in Islam that Jesus is the Messiah
(called Isa al-Masih – Jesus the Messiah) and
will come again before the apocalypse to kill
the anti-Messiah – very similar to what
Christians believe!
Other Religions Continued
• In Judaism, Jesus is seen as a false prophet and a fraud.
There were many preachers like him in Jewish history –
the Christian movement began as a movement in
Judaism. All of the other movements faded, but
Christianity did not… the resurrection is key in this.
• In Buddhism, Jesus is sometimes considered to be a
bodhisattva (or “enlightened being who lived many lives
• In Hinduism, Jesus is sometimes considered to be an
avatar of Vishnu, the god who appears on earth in times
of crisis. (the Buddha is also considered to be an avatar
of Vishnu)
What was Jesus’ surname?
• Surnames as we know them today were not
used. Jesus was probably called Yeshua BarYosef (Son of Joseph)
• Jesus is the Latin of the name Yeshua.
• The term Christ means “the anointed one”
• Messiah means the same thing (Greek and
• Christ is his title, not his surname. That’s why
we can call him Jesus the Christ or Christ
After the death of Jesus, what became
of his disciples?
• They spread out into the Roman Empire,
founding churches as far as Rome and possibly
India (the Indian Christian communities trace
their heritage to Thomas, the apostle who
doubted that Jesus had risen). Many were
martyred; we can read their stories in Acts of
the Apostles.