Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah (Hebrew), or the Christ (Greek). Both words mean "the Anointed One." The title appears with the name Jesus in the very first verse of both Mark and Matthew. Being in the form of God, he became man, willingly coming to earth to die a horrible death. This was not in vain, for he rose from the dead to go to Heaven in a body designed to last forever. In rising - or being raised - from death he proved that he was indeed the Son of God.
Having lived a life without sin, he entered a ministry as a teacher and healer after having reached an age of 30 years old. His early message echoed that of a cousin of his, John, the son of Zechariah. Their message was simple: Repent! God's Kingdom is near. Most of Jesus' ministry came after John had been incarcerated as a political prisoner by the titular "king" of Judea. Jesus would later meet a similar fate.
Ministering mostly in the province of Galilee, near the great lake by that same name, it was in his visits to Jerusalem that he fell out of favor with the leaders of Judaism. Daring to speak freely, without the commentaries that tied the people to tradition, Jesus would make plenty of enemies. Charged with the crime of blasphemy, he stayed out of Jerusalem until he was ready to die.
At the time of the Jewish festival of Passover, in April, AD 33, against the objections of his disciples, the Teacher boldly faced his accusers. After a nighttime trial, he was condemned to die. Since the religious court did not have the right to kill him, he was brought before both the Roman and Jewish political authorities. With the threat of a riot at hand, the political leader, Pontius Pilate, agreed to send Jesus to be killed on a cross - an upright stake with a cross bar to hold the victim off the ground.
Just as Jesus had predicted, though, his body did not stay in the grave. On the first day past the Sabbath, he arose to fulfill the festival of First Fruits. After doubting the story, his disciples saw the evidence, and then were visited by their risen Master. Forty days later, Jesus rose visibly into the clouds. He would appear to a young disciple named Stephen just before that man died from stoning. Then, ironically, he would appear to the zealous Pharisee who had overseen the stoning of Stephen . That man was named Saul (later called Paul) and would become a leading teacher of believers for a generation throughout the northern shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
Over a generation later, Jesus would appear to John, one of his closest friends on earth, to reveal a vision of the consummation of the Age. John would also write a personal account of his Master's life as he remembered the ministry of spectacular miracles performed in and around Jerusalem.