One of the biggest factors that separates Christianity from all other religions is their belief in Jesus. While some religious and historical groups recognize that Jesus existed, only Christians believe that he was the son of God, a part of the Holy Trinity and that he died for our sins and was resurrected.
While there are many lists available online and in print that claim to detail facts about Jesus, most of them look at his life only from a religious perspective rather than a historical one, making the lists useless to all but the Christians. As Wikipedia so eloquently states about so-called Jesus facts, “…the historian interprets the past while the theologian interprets tradition.”
In order to believe any of the evidence of Jesus’ life, however, you must first acknowledge the Bible from either a theological or historical perspective.
What year was Jesus born?
The year of Jesus’ birth is more conjecture than fact, but most theologians and historians agree that he was born between 6 and 4 BC. Although there is no concrete proof, Christians the world over celebrate Jesus’ birth on December 25th.
The Bible mentions that Jesus was born during Herod’s reign, and it is generally accepted that he died in 4 BC. While the Bible associates his birth with the visit of the Magi, which would place the date at 4 BC, many historians believe Jesus was up to two years old when that event took place. The gospels also mention Syria’s first census as taking place when Jesus was born, but that event is believed to have happened in 6 BC.
What was the timeline of Jesus’ ministry?
Historians have used many pieces of evidence to determine the start of Jesus’ ministry, from the death of John the Baptist to information about the Temple in Jerusalem, and all of them place it at somewhere between 27 to 29 AD. How long his ministry lasted is up for debate, but most place it between one to three years or more.
What was the date of Jesus’ death?
Because of the detailed information available about the crucifixion, scientists have stepped in to answer this question using a diverse set of calculations. Using the visibility and stage of the moon, Isaac Newton believed the date was Friday, April 23, 34 AD. An assortment of other scientists believed that Newton’s calculation had a minor flaw and set the date as April 3, 33 AD.
Did Jesus have siblings?
Yes….and no. The gospels of Matthew and Mark report that Jesus did have brothers and sisters, and the canonical gospels go so far as to name four of them — James, Joseph, Judas and Simon. However, theologians staunchly hold to the belief of an immaculate conception and insist that Mary remained an eternal virgin. Some historians believe that Jesus’ siblings may have been the product of an earlier marriage by Joseph, or they could simply be his cousins.
The historical facts about Jesus and his life are clearly estimates gleaned by piecing together many different writings. They may or may not be completely accurate, but are generally close enough to give you a view of the timeline of Jesus and the events that happened during his life.