Jesus is believed to have been born of a Virgin mother named Mary betrothed to the carpenter Joseph, an upright man of God, (of the former house of King David). He was born among poor shepherds in Bethlehem (the original village of David). His birthday is celebrated as Christmas. December 25 th is a mere pious guess.
After thirty years of ordinary life in Nazareth, where he was known simply as “the son of the carpenter Joseph”, he left his family and village. He went round talking to friends and to ordinary people about the coming of “the kingdom of God ”,i.e. of truth, love, equality, freedom, peace; a new era where God will come to the help of the poor and of the oppressed, to give them, and through them to all humanity, a new kind of life, a world of greater brotherly and sisterly love, a sense of justice, and of union with God as Father. In fact, “the Kingdom” can be defined more truly as God already “savingly active in the universe”. He did this for two or three years, teaching often through parables (stories) and healing the sick, the blind, the dumb, the deaf, the lame, raising the dead, working miracles, wonderful signs or works of compassion. Everywhere “he went about doing good and curing all” (Acts 10, 38). All he asked for was faith. He often asked: “Do you believe that I can do this?” The moment he got the answer “Yes, Lord” he healed them. Thus we read in Luke 4.40: “At sunset all those who had friends suffering from diseases of one kind or another brought them to him, and laying his hands on each he cured them.” Sometimes he rebuked them for their lack of faith, while working miracles. Thus, one evening when crossing over in a boat a gale began to blow and the waves “were breaking into the boat so that it was swamped.”
“But he was in the stern, his head on the cushion, asleep. They woke him and said to him, ‘Master do you not care? We are going down!’ And he woke up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Quiet now! Be calm!’ And the wind dropped, and all was calm again. Then he said to them, ‘Why are you so frightened? How is it that you have no faith?’ They were filled with awe and said to one another, ‘Who can this be? Even the wind and sea obey him’” (Mk. 4, 35-41).
Among his disciples whom he called brothers and sisters, were the apostles. After a night in solitary prayer, he chose twelve men – most of them simple people, like fishermen. These twelve were “sent” by him to join in his mission of love, hence they are called “apostles”, that is “sent”. He appointed Peter to the “Rock” of faith within this group of disciples. He was to be the head of this community which later grew and came to be called by the early Christians, “the Church”.
Jesus was thought to disturb the existing order. Some of those who belonged to the sect of the pious “Pharesees” opposed his teaching because it deviated from the ancient traditions. But especially some of the sect of the Sadducees (mostly priests), who held strictly to the Law of Moses only, became his bitter enemies and they were afraid that the movement of Jesus would upset the political order. Judas, a disciple of Jesus himself delivered his Guru into their hands. Through the malice or perhaps through avidya – nonknowledge or ignorance (only God can judge) of the religious leaders, the Pharisees, Jesus was crucified, i.e. nailed on the Cross between two criminals. The day of his death is called Good Friday. All this happened at Easter, the Jewish Feast of the Passover (in remembrance of their deliverance from slavery).
On the third day after the Crucifixion, (Easter Sunday) the tomb was found to be empty. The Master was believed to have been raised from the dead, as he had said he would. This was his “Resurrection”; and he was seen in his glorified body by various witnesses. After forty days, - after the full period of intiation – he “ascended” ( taken up bodily) into heaven. This is known as “Ascension Day”, when he was symbolically enthroned as the universal, cosmic Lord. Ten days later, he sent his Holy Sprit as he had promised, on the Apostles gathered together, praying with Mary, his mother. This was Pentecost Day- the “fiftieth” day, coinciding with a Jewish feast. The “Spirit” is a biblical expression for the power of God, (literally the “Breath”) of the invisible one and only God who inspires and strengthens his messengers.