Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Dominic. Dominic Wonders, “Is Jesus Christ real?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Dominic!
Teacher…prophet…philosopher…healer…preacher…miracle worker…these are just a few of the words and phrases often used to describe a man who was born over 2,000 years ago. Who was this man who is arguably the most influential person who ever lived?
Historians call him Jesus of Nazareth. His followers, known as Christians, call him Jesus Christ. To them, he's also known as the Messiah, Lord, Savior, Son of God, and God Himself in the flesh — a part of the Trinity along with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.
Jesus' life and teachings form a compelling story more famous than any other in history. In fact, his life had such an impact that it changed the world forever. The way we measure time itself is defined by his birth.
You're probably already familiar with the "B.C." and "A.D." system of dates. This international standard for designating years is based upon Jesus' birth. "B.C." stands for "before Christ." All dates "B.C." date backward from Jesus' birth.
"A.D." stands for anno domini, which is Latin for "in the year of the Lord." This is a reference to the birth of Jesus, so that A.D. 2018 means "in the year of the Lord 2018."
Historians and scholars have studied the life of Jesus in great detail over the last two centuries. Many of them now believe he was born between 6 B.C. and 4 B.C. in the town of Bethlehem.
Jesus grew up in Nazareth, a small village in Galilee, where he learned the trade of carpentry from his father. Not much else is known about Jesus' early years, other than that he was raised Jewish and had an extensive knowledge of the Jewish Scriptures.
As an adult, Jesus left Nazareth and was baptized by a prophet known as John the Baptist. He then began a public ministry that consisted of public teaching and preaching about the coming Kingdom of God.
Jesus' teachings on morality, forgiveness, and love remain powerful and influential today. The Gospels also describe many miracles Jesus performed, including healing the blind, walking on water, and raising a dead man named Lazarus from the grave.
Eventually, Jewish religious leaders accused Jesus of blasphemy, or claiming to be God. At their urging, Jesus was arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to death by Roman governor Pontius Pilate.
Jesus was crucified (hung on a wooden cross) by Roman soldiers in Jerusalem. Scholars believe he died between A.D. 30 and A.D. 33.
For Christians, Jesus' story doesn't end there, though. In fact, Christians would say that this Wonder of the Day should instead be titled "Who IS Jesus?"
Why? According to the Gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after he died on the cross. He spent time with his followers (called disciples) before ascending to Heaven, where he lives today.
Christians believe that Jesus came to Earth to show people how to live as God intended. They believe he died as a sacrifice for their sins and rose again to defeat death, so that all who would believe and have faith in Jesus would be saved by God's grace and one day enjoy eternal life in Heaven.
Today, it's estimated that about a third of the world's population — more than two billion people — profess faith in Jesus Christ, making Christianity the world's most widely-practiced religion. His birth is celebrated each year on Christmas Day and his resurrection from the dead is celebrated on Easter.