What is Christianity? A diverse, 2000 year old religion followed by almost one third of the world’s population! Based on the life, teachings, death and resurrection of a first century Jew known as Jesus, believed to be the messiah/savior by his followers, called “Christians”
Symbols of Christianity The Cross -symbolizing Christ’s sacrifice The fish - Early Christians used the fish as a secret symbol to mark meeting places and tombs, or to distinguish friends from foes.
Who Was Jesus? Born, lived, and died a Jew in first century Roman occupied Palestine. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, near Jerusalem. He learned carpentry from his father and studied the writings of Jewish prophets. Around age 30, took on a mission of preaching, teaching, and healing
Who Was Jesus? Jesus had a following of 12 primary disciples and countless multitudes attracted by his miracles and words of wisdom. They were all seen as a political threat to the Roman Empire.
Preaching Jesus preached a message of love and renewal. People began to follow him and his message of a loving, benevolent, forgiving God. Jesus created excitement by performing miracles of healing; defending the poor and oppressed.
Rome’s Reaction The Roman Empire ruled over Palestine. Jesus' popularity- crowds alarmed authorities who feared political uprisings Jesus was arrested, tried, and sentenced to death. Put to death through torturous crucifixion (a Roman punishment).
According to the New Testament, after crucifixion: Jesus rose from the dead Appeared for 40 days Ascended into heaven Followers believe Resurrection and Ascension reveal that Jesus is the Messiah These are matters of faith and cannot be explained any other way. Death and Resurrection
Paul of Tarsus Originally known as Saul, born in Tarsus, in Asia Minor (Present day Turkey) At first he actively opposed teaching that Jesus was the Messiah Paul had a conversion on his way to Damascus and became Christian Saul 43:00 Roman Empire PBS Season 1 Episode 3
Paul of Tarsus If not for his work, Christianity might have remained a branch of Judaism. Paul believed God sent him to convert non-Jews, or Gentiles
Converting the Gentiles Paul helped make Christianity broader religion and attracted many new followers Paul’s epistles, or letters, to those churches later became part of the New Testament
Most knowledge of Jesus comes from the Gospels, the first four books of the Christian Bible, also known as the New Testament The New Testament and the Old Testament (books from the Torah) make up today’s entire Christian Bible. The Bible-Christian Holy Book
Threat leads to Persecution The Roman Empire was mostly polytheistic and Roman emperors were seen Gods. Christians were persecuted for their belief in one God and the denial of the emperor as a God. Large-scale persecution by Romans grew as rulers saw Christianity as a threat to their loyalty to the Empire and the emperor.
Results of Persecution Christians killed by Roman officials were seen as martyrs -people who choose to die rather than deny a strongly held belief, especially a religious belief. Martyrs were revered which also helped Christianity spread and gain popularity.
Imperial Approval The spread of Christianity was accelerated by Roman Emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity. 313 CE, Constantine made Christianity legal within empire-Edict of Milan Polytheism gradually disappeared from the Empire.
Constantine Constantine’s mark on Christianity: Made December 25 th the birthday of Jesus Christ (Christmas). It had been the birthday of the pagan Sun god. Observance of Sunday as the day of rest. Instituted celebrating Easter and Lent based on pagan springtime celebrations. What is this symbol?
Christian Rituals During Eucharist, people eat bread, drink wine in memory of Jesus' death and resurrection With baptism, people are admitted to the faith *Water used to purify.
Christian Holy Days Christmas- commemorates the birth of Christ. Easter- celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion.