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Who is Jesus?

A Jewish radical? A messianic figure from history? The 'son' of God? Who did he claim to be? And was he a liar, a lunatic - or did he speak the truth?

Teacher and Healer

Jesus was born into an ordinary carpenter's family in Israel over 2000 years ago. As an adult he began a powerful ministry of teaching and healing. He had a deep relationship with God as his father and invited all people to come to God afresh. His message was the good news of God's love and the coming of God's kingdom. The invitation was to follow him, to love God wholeheartedly and love one another. His actions and miracles backed up his words and ordinary people flocked to hear him.

The religious leaders of the day didn't like what was happening. Their authority being usurped by this upstart, as Jesus challenged the very nature of their rôle and the religious system that flowed from it. When Jesus claimed to be able to forgive sins, they began to look for a way to silence him. After all, only God can forgive sins...

Many agree that Jesus was a great teacher. Even contemporary historians mention his miraculous deeds. But this claim to forgive sin suggests there was much more to Jesus than that.

Saviour or Martyr?

Throughout the accounts of Jesus' life he went out of his way to reach those who were broken, abused, marginalised and outcast. These were people who knew their failings and their needs. They found a life-changing hope in Jesus, and his forgiveness offered them a new start that was rooted in God's love for them.

But the more popular Jesus became, the greater his challenge to the religious authorities. It culminated in his betrayal, arrest, show trial and execution.

But at his death, the curtain in the temple (symbolising the separation between God and sinful people) was torn in two from top to bottom. It seemed as if his message that ordinary people could know God for themselves was true after all!

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