Through Judaism, we learnt that the foundation of Abrahamic faiths was laid. It is from the same foundation, Christianity and Islam – two of the largest religions in the world today – originated.
Let’s go back to around the time of the beginning of the Christian calendar. Jesus was born (somewhere between 6 BC and 4 BC; the information is not clear) in Judea (ancient kingdom of Judah) which was under the Roman Empire at that time.
Herod the Great was the Roman king at the time of Jesus’ birth. By the time Jesus would die, Herod’s son Antipas would have become the king of the empire. Jews lived a miserable life and were perpetually oppressed as there was no religious freedom as such.
Jesus was born in the family of a Jew peasant. As he grew up, he turned into a preacher and gathered a substantial following – most of them were poor, oppressed people. He would also perform miracles and heal people (Note that miracles were fairly common those days).
As the tales of Jesus’ miracles spread, Pontius Pilate, the Prefect, decided to send Jesus to Antipas to be tried. There were many charges, including that of blasphemy as many Jews believed that he was trying to portray himself as the messiah of Jews. But, it was the Romans who crucified Jesus after the trial.
But, the prophets can’t die so easily, can they? So, as the story goes, Jesus resurrected. That does not mean he stayed forever.
The important question is, how did Christianity become a world religion? And the answer lies in the fact that unlike Jews who considered themselves as God’s chosen people, Christianity opened itself to the world after the death of Jesus. A lot of credit goes to Saul of Tarsus, who became Paul the Apostle and who travelled across the Roman Empire and spread Christianity by bringing a number of reforms in the way religion, particularly Judaism, was practised.
Books on Christianity: