Jesus was born in Israel more than 2000 years ago when Rome controlled the vast majority of the known world, including Bethlehem; where he was born, and Nazareth; where he was raised. In his thirties Jesus began his public ministry of teaching and miracles. Over a three year period his reputation spread nation-wide.
An important aspect of the life of Jesus was that he became the fulfilment of more than 350 prophecies recorded in the Jewish scriptures (the Old Testament). This provides startling proof that God initiated and sustained the entire work of humanity's salvation. Key texts written around 700 BC point to Jesus divinity and sacrificial death for mankind.
A number of key self-perceptions are evident through Jesus teachings that provide insight into who he really was. Firstly, he referred to himself as 'Son of Man'; a direct quote from a vision of the prophet Daniel and recorded in the Jewish scriptures in Daniel 7:13-14. This is a remarkable self disclosure given that the text declares a status no regular person should have. Secondly, Jesus referred to himself as 'Son of God' in a unique sense, and this incensed the Jews John 19:6-8. Thirdly, Jesus saw himself as the coming 'Messiah', the great rescuer King who would come to restore all things John 4:24-26. The Jews were waiting for this King to deliver them from Roman authority but Jesus declared an unseen kingdom that would spread justice and deliverance to the world. He did this in many ways: declaring forgiveness of sins, healing the sick, raising the dead and relating with the marginalized in society.
After living a life that perfectly manifested what God was like, Jesus took upon himself the sin of the world by becoming the sacrifice for humanity. He was brutally tortured and crucified; a method of execution from which we get the word excruciating; 'Out of the Cross'. Jesus died in three hours. However, according to more than 500 witnesses, Jesus returned from the dead three days later. Over the next 40 days he journeyed in both the southern and northern provinces of Israel. This was conclusive proof that Jesus' claims were true and that God had accepted his sacrifice for humanity's sin. As a result of the resurrection the number of his followers increased dramatically. Only seven weeks after the crucifixion in that same city of Jerusalem some 3000 new followers were added to the church in a single day. The religious leaders responded by trying to stomp out this new movement. Many of these people chose to die rather than deny their belief that Jesus was truly God in the flesh.
Jesus declared that he only is the way, truth and life and that no-one receives access to the Father except through him. He identified himself as the light of the world, the bread of life, and the Great I AM- a reference to God Himself. Being inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul and John confirmed his unique identity in remarkable ways. Jesus declared that he is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. He saw it as his mission to seek and save the lost.
The lost become found when they trust that his sacrifice is enough to rescue them from themselves. The Found Ones live a life of access to the Father and filling with the Holy Spirit who empowers them to minister to a hurting world and leads them into all truth.