The early stage of Christianity since the birth of Jesus Christ to the third century of Common Era was the most critical period of its survival and growth. The incarnation of Jesus Christ and the credibility of the New Testament have been subjects for debate among the…
This paper tends to discuss the significant landmarks in the growth of early Christianity from biblical and historical perspective. It will also consider some of the contrasting views that question the reliability of the biblical description of historical facts.
The birth of Jesus Christ could be counted as the beginning of Christianity. The event itself is one of the major controversial subjects among the critics of Bible. However, according to the leading opinion, it might have happened around 4 B.C when August Cesar was the Roman emperor and Herod the Great was the king of Judea. According to the Bible, Virgin Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit when she was engaged to marry Joseph. It happened for the fulfillment of prophesy which had predicted that a virgin would give birth to the Messiah who would redeem the world from its tribulations. (Mt: 1: 21-23).
As St. Luke narrates, Augustus Cesar ordered a census program according to which people had to register their names in their homelands. Since Joseph was the descendant of David he traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem with his pregnant wife and while they were in Bethlehem she gave birth to the child, Jesus. (Luke: 2:1-7).
King Herod came to know about the birth of the divine child who would become the king of Jews; and planned to kill him. Therefore, Joseph with his wife and son escaped to Egypt and after the death of Herod resettled in Nazareth.
The birth of Jesus happened as a subsequent event of the birth of John the Baptist. According to the gospel, the mission of John the Baptist was to prepare people for the advent of Messiah. He criticized the hypocrisy of Jews and asked them repent in order to welcome the Word of God. He baptized his followers in the river Jordan as a symbol of the new order. According to the gospel, Jesus himself received baptism from John, before starting his mission and fasted forty days and nights in desert. (Luke: 4). The Gospel also states ...
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