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 (Q and A on Biblical Doctrines)
Chapter 2: Jesus
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Q1 Who is Jesus?

Jesus is God Himself: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn 1:1). The Word became flesh when He came to the world as the “Son of Man” (Mt 16:13) and the Saviour of mankind (Lk 2:11). In Jesus, we see God’s divine authority (Mt 28:18; Jn 5:27), glory (Jn 17:5), honour (Jn 5:23), righteousness (2 Pet 1:1) and holiness (Lk 1:35; Rev 15:4).

Q2 What does the name “Jesus Christ” mean?

The name “Jesus” is from the Greek Iesous,[1] a transliteration of the Hebrew Joshua, meaning “Jehovah is salvation”. The title “Christ” comes from the Greek Christos,[2] meaning “anointed”, the equivalent of the Hebrew Masiah[3] (Eng., “Messiah”). In ancient Israel, kings, prophets and priests were anointed for service. In the same way, Jesus Christ came to the world as God’s anointed one, the King of kings and Lord of lords (Jn 18:37; Rev 19:16). Jesus is the name of God (Jn 17:6, 11; Isa 9:6)—the only name by which we can be saved (Acts 4:12).

Q3 Why did He come to the world? 

Man became separated from God because of sin. Therefore, God had to come in person to the world to bring salvation and to show His love. He did this by manifesting in the flesh as Jesus Christ, the Son of God (1 Tim 3:16). The Bible states, “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (Jn 1:18). Jesus became our Mediator (1 Tim 2:5; 1 Jn 2:1), reconciling us to God (Rom 5:10; 1 Pet 3:18) and enabling us to become His children (Gal 4:4–7; Eph 1:5). Today, everyone can be saved when they believe in Jesus Christ and obey His gospel (Mk 16:15–16; Acts 2:38).

Q4 How did He come to the world?

Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born through the virgin Mary (Mt 1:18–25; Lk 1:26–35; 2:6–7). This event was prophesied by Isaiah some 700 years earlier. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the prophet proclaimed, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isa 7:14; cf. 9:6). The meaning of Immanuel is “God with us”.[4]

Q5 When was He born?

The Gregorian calendar, which uses the designations ad (Lat., anno domini, meaning “In the year of our Lord”) and bc (“Before Christ”), is based on an estimated calculation of the year of Jesus’ birth. However, we are unable to pinpoint the exact date—even though people have long attempted to do so—simply because there is no record in the Bible.

Q6 How did December 25 come to be associated with His birth?

December 25 came to be associated with the birth of Jesus through the writings of Sextus Julius Africanus as early as ad 221. However, a popular theory is that it originated from the Christianizing of the dies solis invicti nati (“day of the birth of the unconquered sun”), a festival celebrated in the Roman Empire.[5] It was when pagans honoured the sun and celebrated the end of winter. Early writers such as Cyprian made a connection between the birth of the sun and the birth of Jesus Christ.[6]

Q7 Is it acceptable to appoint a day on which to celebrate His birth?

The absence of any biblical record of Jesus’ date of birth leads us to understand that God never wished us to celebrate this event. Moreover, we need to be mindful that Jesus was God manifested in the flesh (Jn 1:1; 1 Tim 3:16): He has no beginning and no end. Indeed, Jesus Himself declares, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM” (Jn 8:58). In light of this, it is inappropriate for us to take it upon ourselves to designate a day on which to commemorate His birth.

Q8 Where was Jesus born and raised?

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Judea, the city of David and the native home of Joseph the carpenter (Lk 2:4). Later, Joseph and Mary took Him to Nazareth, their place of residence, where they raised Him (Mt 2:23). The village was situated in a high valley among the southern hills of the Lebanon range. To the south was the great plain of Esdraelon, and to the east was the Sea of Galilee. It had a mild climate and a beautiful landscape.[7]

Q9 What was Palestine like?

During the time of Jesus, Palestine was under the control of the Romans. However, they adopted a largely tolerant approach towards the Jews. In some territories, they permitted autonomous rule, as well as the continuation of the Jewish way of life. The Romans maintained control by stationing armies and requiring the people to pay taxes to the emperor (Lk 20:25).

Herod the Great was King of Judea from 37 bc until he died in 4 bc. He bequeathed the kingdom to his three sons: Judea and Samaria to Archelaus (Mt 2:22); Galilee and Perea to Antipas; and the north-eastern lands to Philip (Lk 3:1).[8] The Jews had their own council, the Sanhedrin, which had extensive jurisdiction. It could order arrests, judge civil cases according to Jewish law, and also judge some criminal cases that did not involve capital punishment (Jn 18:31); the latter required the consent of a Roman procurator (Mt 27:1–2).[9]

Q10 When was the Roman Empire founded, and how did it become so powerful?

Rome rose to power in the third century bc, taking control of the whole of Italy and the Mediterranean. Pompey then proceeded to conquer Asia Minor and Syria, while Caesar conquered Gaul. During the middle republic (264–133 bc), Rome subdued Carthage, Macedonia, Greece and Spain. Under Emperor Trajan (ad 98–117), the Roman Empire reached its greatest extent, taking control of Dacia, Armenia, Assyria and Mesopotamia. In the time of Emperor Augustus (27–14 bc), the population of the empire was an estimated 85 million.[10] [11]

The Roman Empire was a vast melting pot of languages, cultures and knowledge. While Latin was the official language, Greek was the lingua franca of the east—a legacy from the time of Alexander the Great. Greek was used for commerce, as well as for literature and philosophy. For Christianity, the diverse environment had both positive and negative outcomes: on the one hand, it meant that the New Testament Bible came to be written in Greek to reach a wide readership; on the other hand, the church had to struggle against the infiltration of secular philosophies. The latter accounts for Paul’s words to the Corinthian church: “For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor 1:22–24).

Q11 What was the religious and social situation like?

In the time of Jesus, the Jewish nation was under Roman rule, having previously endured years of wars and turmoil. The more radical Jews longed for revolution and the restoration of Israel (Acts 1:6), while others were happy to accept the status quo. The outcome was inevitable tension between the different groups.

However, Jesus found evidence of a more insidious problem—religious hypocrisy and superficiality. He once lamented, “When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Lk 18:8). He also castigated the people for their hardness of heart, lack of moral standards and unrighteousness, making His point with parables, such as that of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:25–37). Furthermore, Jesus witnessed profound indifference, where people responded neither to John’s sombre message of repentance, nor to His good news of the kingdom. It prompted Him to remark, “We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we mourned to you, and you did not lament” (Mt 11:17).

Q12 What religious groups were there?

There were four main religious groups:


This group comprised teachers of the law and scribes. In terms of beliefs, they upheld the Torah[12] (the five books of Moses), the Prophets and the Writings. Alongside the written law—the Law of Moses—they also had a continually expanding set of oral laws and traditions that they enforced rigidly.[13] It was against this background that Jesus accused many of the Pharisees of legalism, self-righteousness and hypocrisy (Mt 23; Lk 11:37–54). The outcome was that they opposed Jesus vehemently and looked for reasons to accuse Him and to kill Him (e.g. Mt 21:45–46; 22:15; Mk 3:6; 12:13; Lk 11:53–54; Jn 11:47, 53). 


This group comprised the high priest and his associates (Acts 5:17). They were aristocrats and were therefore people of wealth and rank.[14] Like the Pharisees, they acknowledged the supremacy of the Torah, but unlike them, they rejected all the additional interpretations of the law.[15]  Moreover, they did not believe in the resurrection of the dead, eternal life, angels, or spirits (Mt 22:23; Mk 12:18; Acts 23:8). They conspired with the Pharisees to oppose Jesus (Mt 16:1).


It is likely that the Herodian party was formed out of allegiance to Herod the Great when he became King of Judea in 37 bc.[16] It was active during the time of Jesus, when Herod Antipas was tetrarch over Galilee (Lk 23:6–7). There is little to glean, either from the Bible or from other historical sources, concerning the views of its adherents, other than the fact that they opposed Jesus and joined forces with the other parties to do so (Mt 22:16; Mk 3:6).


This radical party was active from about ad 6, when Judah the Galilean called for Jewish resistance against the Romans after they had ordered a census in Judah. The Zealots advocated non-payment of taxes, opposition to the emperor and sole allegiance to God. For many of its members, violence was a justifiable means of securing the release of the nation from foreign domination. Simon, one of Jesus’ twelve disciples, belonged to this party (Acts 1:13). In ad 66, the Zealots took control of Jerusalem, leading to a fierce struggle with the Romans and the eventual downfall of Judah and Jerusalem in ad 70.[17]

Q13 What was Jesus’ attitude towards these groups?

Jesus told His disciples, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees” (Mt 16:6); “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod” (Mk 8:15). From His words, we detect a lack of support for the parties. Furthermore, His reaction to those people who tried to make Him king by force—those who wanted Him to lead them to revolution and to restore the kingdom of Israel—was to distance Himself (Jn 6:15). He pointed out, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here” (Jn 18:36).

Q14 When did He start His ministry? Was anyone doing the work before Him?

Jesus did not start His work until about the age of thirty (Lk 3:23). God sent John the Baptist ahead of Him, to prepare the way by preaching a message of repentance (Mt 3:1–3). John told the people, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Mt 3:11).

Q15 Why did He have to be baptized?

Jesus was baptized, not for repentance, because He was without sin (2 Cor 5:21; 1 Pet 2:22; 1 Jn 3:5),  but to “fulfill all righteousness” (Mt 3:15)—that is, to do what God required of Him, as well as to set an example for us. The Bible records: “Then Jesus, when He had been baptized, came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’ ” (Mt 3:16–17). John the Baptist witnessed this event and testified, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him…And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of  God” (Jn 1:32, 34). He also proclaimed, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn 1:29).

Q16 What happened after His baptism?

Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert where He fasted for forty days and nights (Mt 4:1–2) and was tempted by the devil (Mt 4:3–11). However, He was able to emerge victorious. Hence, the Bible offers these words of encouragement: “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb 4:15).

Q17 What message did Jesus preach?

Jesus began His ministry, proclaiming, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mk 1:15). His work was the fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (Lk 4:18–19; cf. Isa 61:1, 2). Importantly, He told people to find salvation through Him, and Him alone: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn 14:6).

Q18 What is the gospel?

The gospel is the good news that concerns everyone in the world. It tells the story of Jesus Christ:  

• His birth: “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Lk 2:11).

• His death: “For I [i.e. Paul] delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried…” (1 Cor 15:3–4; cf. Rom 5:8).

• His resurrection: “…who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification” (Rom 4:25).

• His ascension to heaven: “Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9).

• His promise to come again: “So Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation” (Heb 9:28). 

Importantly, the gospel tells us the way of salvation through Jesus. The apostle Peter sums it up in this way: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). Whoever believes in the gospel and obeys its message will be saved (Mk 16:16; 1 Cor 15:1–2).

Q19 How many disciples did Jesus choose, and who were they?

Jesus chose twelve disciples: Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James, Thaddaeus, Simon and Judas (Mt 10:2–4). Besides them, He had other disciples, including the seventy whom He sent out two by two to various cities, where they cast out demons, healed the sick and preached the gospel of the kingdom (Lk 10:1).

Q20 What was His attitude towards the people, and how did He help them?

Jesus’ mission was to seek out and save lost souls (Lk 19:10). To them, He was gentle, kind and compassionate. But to the religious leaders who were proud, self-righteous and legalistic, He was severe (Mt 23; Mk 12:38–40; Lk 11:37–54).

Jesus took pity on the people and performed countless miracles to alleviate their physical and spiritual afflictions: He healed the sick, cast out demons and brought the dead back to life. Because of these miracles, many believed in Him.

During His ministry, Jesus brought countless blessings to the people:

• Peace (Mk 5:34; Lk 7:50; Jn 14:27; 16:33)

• Freedom (Lk 13:16; Jn 8:36)

• Light (Mt 9:29–30; Jn 8:12; 9:5, 11; 12:46)

• Life (Lk 8:49–56; Jn 5:40; 10:10, 28; 11:17–44)

• Satisfaction (Mt 5:6; 14:20; Jn 6:27–28, 35)

• Joy (Lk 10:17; 19:37; Jn 20:20)

Today, we can take heart for Jesus also cares for us: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28).

Q21 How long did His ministry last, and how did He die?

He preached for three years. At the end of this period, He was betrayed by one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, who delivered Him up to the authorities. He was subsequently mocked, spat upon, flogged and made to wear a crown of thorns. Finally, He was nailed to a cross. He suffered in this way, not because He lacked the power to resist (Mt 26:53–54), but because He was willing to lay down His life for us. In doing so, He became our sin offering and ransom (Isa 53:10; Mk 10:45; Jn 18:11; 1 Tim 2:5–6; 1 Jn 4:10).

Q22 Did Jesus die only for the Jews?

Jesus died not only for the Jews, but for everyone in the world (1 Jn 2:2), bearing our sins on the cross (1 Pet 2:24) and becoming a curse for our sake (Gal 3:13–14). The prophet Isaiah says, “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” (Isa 53:4–5). From these words, we understand that Jesus’ death is relevant to the whole of mankind, and we must acknowledge Him as our Saviour.

Q23 What did His death accomplish? 

Through His death on the cross, Jesus removed our sins: “...To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood” (Rev 1:5). This was the righteous requirement of God (Heb 9:22). The outcome is that we have been brought near to God (Eph 2:13): we have entered the Holy of Holies to have a direct relationship with Him (Heb 10:19). Moreover, we have been justified and delivered from His wrath (Rom 5:9).

Q24 What impact did His death have on the devil?

The impact of Jesus’ death on the devil is highlighted by the prophetic words spoken by God to the serpent in the garden of Eden: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Gen 3:15). These words indicated the future struggle between the devil and Jesus: Jesus would be captured and handed over to the power of darkness (Lk 22:47–53), but He would strike a fatal blow at Satan through His death. Hence, the writer of Hebrews says, “...Through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Heb 2:14–15). By submitting to the cross, Jesus triumphed over the devil and redeemed mankind.

Q25 What do we know of Jesus’ final moments?

The Book of John records, “So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit” (Jn 19:30). A soldier then pierced His side with a spear, causing a flow of blood and water (Jn 19:34).

Q26 What happened after He died?

Three days after Jesus died and was buried, He resurrected and emerged from the tomb (Mt 28). This happened in fulfilment of His own words: “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day” (Lk 9:22; cf. Mt 16:21; 17:22–23; Mk 8:31; Lk 18:31–33).

Upon His resurrection, Jesus took on a spiritual body, meaning He was no longer constrained by time and space. However, He could still be touched and was able to eat and converse with the disciples (Lk 24:39–43). The Gospels record:

• “Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them ‘Peace be with you’ ” (Jn 20:19).

• “And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, ‘Peace to you!’ ” (Jn 20:26).

• “Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight” (Lk 24:31).

Q27 How did He resurrect?

Jesus resurrected because God raised Him up (Acts 2:32; 3:15; 1 Cor 6:14). Jesus had earlier said, “No one takes it [i.e. His life] from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again...” (Jn 10:18). He also said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (Jn 11:25). So, we see that even death could not keep its grip on Jesus (Acts 2:24); rather, He abolished it and revealed eternal life (2 Tim 1:10).

Q28 What significance does His resurrection have?

Jesus’ resurrection was a crucial part of God’s salvation plan and is a key element of the gospel. It is therefore a truth that all Christians should uphold (1 Cor 15:1–4). If He had not resurrected, our faith would be in vain, and we would be destined to perish without hope (1 Cor 15:17–19). As it is, we have been blessed with a double hope: the confidence of our spiritual resurrection through water baptism (Rom 6:4) and the anticipation of the resurrection of our bodies when Jesus comes again (Jn 6:40).

On account of Jesus’ resurrection, God has “begotten us again to a living hope” (1 Pet 1:3); we are justified (Rom 4:25); we are raised with Jesus and given spiritual life (Rom 8:10–11; Col 2:12–13); we “sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:6); God “will also raise us up by His power” (1 Cor 6:14).

Q29 Where did Jesus go after His resurrection?

After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples and many other believers (1 Cor 15:4–8). He used the Scriptures to explain the things concerning Himself and the kingdom of God (Lk 24:27, 45; Acts 1:3). After forty days, He was taken up to heaven to be seated at the right hand of God (Acts 1:9; Rom 8:34; Heb 9:24). The Book of Hebrews says, “But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for them” (Heb 7:24–25). Jesus is now our High Priest in heaven (Heb 4:14).

Q30 Will He come again?

Jesus promises, “Behold, I am coming quickly!” (Rev 22:7; cf. 22:12, 20). When He arrives in the clouds, every eye will see Him (Rev 1:7). The writer of Hebrews says, “...To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation” (Heb 9:28). This is the wonderful hope of every believer (1 Pet 1:13).


© 2012 True Jesus Church.


[1]      Strong’s reference no. G2424.

[2]      Strong’s reference no. G5547.

[3]      Strong’s reference no. H8432.

[4]      Strong’s reference no. H6005.

[5]      “Christmas”, Encyclopædia Britannica Online, 2009.

[6]      Martindale, C.C., “Christmas”, The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol 3 (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908).  New Advent:

[7]      The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Part 2 (Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994).

[8]      Ibid.

[9]      The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Part 3 (Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994).

[10]   Unger, Merrill F., The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary (USA: The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, 1988).

[11]   Encyclopaedia Britannica, Macropaedia, vol 15 (USA: Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., 1980).

[12]   Also called the “Pentateuch”.

[13]   Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia, eds. Charles F. Pfeiffer, Howard F. Vos & John Rea (Chicago: Moody Press, 1983).

[14]   Unger, Merrill F., The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1988).

[15]   Ibid.

[16]   Ibid.

[17]   Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia, eds. Charles F. Pfeiffer, Howard F. Vos & John Rea (Chicago: Moody Press, 1983).

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