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Jesus Christ… Who does not know him? He is one of the most famous men who ever lived. Intrigue and mystery surround his life right from his birth to his death. Jesus has been such an important figure that his influence divided the history of the Western world into before and after Christ (BC and AD).

Jesus is also perhaps the most studied historical figure. For thousands of years, the complete historicity of the Gospels and what they narrated about the life of Christ was taken for granted. However, in 18th century, his life began to be analyzed from a historical-critical-philological point of view.

There are multiple theories on his life. Many historians and common people agree to disagree with these theories. But the fact remains. When you dig deep, you see that very little is known about his actual life.

Let us look at a few lesser known facts about Jesus of Nazareth.

1. Name

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Traditionally, ancient Jews were known by a single name. When the situation arose, it was customary to add the father’s name or the name of the place of origin. This usually came after the single name. During the course of his life, Jesus was known by multiple names. Jesus was the name originally given to him. He was known as Jesus – Son of Joseph. He was also called Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus the Nazarene.

After his death, Jesus was called Jesus Christ. The word ‘Christ’ was not a part of his name. After his death, this title was given to him. The word ‘Christ’ is derived from the Greek word ‘Christos’. This in turn is the translation of the Hebrew term ‘Messiah’ which stands for ‘the anointed one’. This title was given as his followers believed that he was the anointed son of King David. Writings like the Act of the Apostles show that some early authors were aware of the word ‘Christ’ being a title. However later on, the name and title were combined and used together as Jesus Christ. In fact, at times Jesus is also referred as just Christ.

2. Baptism

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The baptism of Jesus of Nazareth I’d another chapter surrounded by intrigue. The story goes that Jesus goes to John and asks to be baptized. John is astonished that Jesus who is sinless is asking to be baptized. He feels he should be baptized by Jesus instead. He was 30 years old when he was baptized.

Jesus’s baptism is a sign of the beginning of his ministry on earth. When Jesus was baptized and came out of the water, a heavenly voice sounded, giving approval. His baptism is a lovely portrayal of the beautiful union of the Father, Son and Spirit.

3. Siblings

Writers of the Gospel have often mentioned Jesus’s siblings. There have been heated debates over this considering that Jesus’s mother Mary was a virgin. Still, there are mentions of four brothers named James, Joseph, Simon and Judas. His sisters are also mentioned though without names.

One argument states that they are children from Joseph’s previous marriage. The other argument states that they were all cousins from Mary’s side.

4. Looks

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There is not much information in the Bible regarding how Jesus looked. There is some reference to his looks. His hair is said to be white as snow or wool, eyes as fire’s flame and feet like bronze. Some of the oldest artistic representations of Jesus Christ are dated back to over two centuries post his death.

It is interesting that there is no consensus over his looks. Different cultures from across the world have often depicted Jesus as one of their own.

5. Preference to Solitude

Jesus held a public ministry. He used to travel from place to place to teach and heal people. He also is known to have always accepted invitations to people’s homes. He used to spend some time quietly in prayer and solitude to recharge himself. He believed that only prayer and solitude with God would help to take care of oneself. The Bible is filled with stories of how Jesus would prefer solitude over people in multiple instances. He chose to be alone in the wilderness for 40 days after his baptism in preparation for his public ministry. He also chose to be in solitude in times of distress, to get over grief.

6. Time of Death

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Jesus’s third trial began at 8 am and the crucifixion took place at the third hour. As per the Jewish way of counting, this would correspond to around 9 am in the morning. The Gospels state that it was on a Friday and was in conjunction with the Passover annual feast.

The Bible also states that while Jesus was on the cross, the land was immersed in complete darkness till 3 pm in the afternoon. This darkness lasted till he died.

7. Burial

Jesus was buried after he died on the Cross. According to the four canonical gospels, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for Jesus’s body on the evening of his crucifixion. Pilate obliged and Joseph wrapped the body in a linen cloth and put the body in a rock tomb.

The Gospel of Mark states that Joseph does only the minimum. He does not wash or anoint the body. The Gospel of Matthew refers to Joseph as a rich disciple of Jesus. Post burial the authorities are said to have secured the tomb with a seal. The Gospel of Luke describes Joseph as a member of Sanhedrin and not a disciple. The Gospel of John refers to Joseph as a disciple who was assisted in the burial by Nicodemus. Nicodemus is said to have brought a mixture of spices and included it in the burial cloth as per traditional Jewish customs.

Closing Words

Undoubtedly, the figure of Christ will continue to mark the lives of many people for generations, it will be a source of inspiration and model for some and of doubt for others.