The Significance of Jesus

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A presentation given to the members of the Christian Muslim Forum in 2010 by Revd Canon Dr Frances Ward (now Dean of St Edmundsbury Cathedral)

These are brief extracts, the full talk can be read here: Jesus

1. What do Christians believe God was revealing about God in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ?

Central to a Christian understanding of the significance of the life of Jesus Christ is the Incarnation – that God entered fully into human life to give humanity a new, abundant life.

2. What do Christians believe that God was revealing about God in the death of Jesus Christ?

Central to this is the doctrine of the Atonement: and there are a number of different ways in which theatonement can be understood: the word is usually broken down into at-one-ment: that through the death of Jesus, God and Human became at-one again.

3. What do Christians believe that God was revealing about God in the Resurrectionof Jesus Christ?

4. How do we know about Jesus?

Jesus had such an impact upon those around him, that accounts of his life – first oral, and then written down – began. The New Testament was put together by the 2nd Century. It’s made up of The Gospels – Mark the earliest; Matthew and Luke draw on Mark and other sources – including oral songsand liturgies for worship; John later, more theologically reflective. Luke also wrote Acts – the story of Paul, and the founding of the churches around the known world

5. So what is God revealing about God in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus?

That God values humility and forgiveness – the scandal of the cross – above power and majesty – a differentkingdom, into which the poor and unclean are welcome first. That God’s nature is self-sacrificial love: that putting the needs of others above self – is the way of eternal life.

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