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Jesus Christ - Interesting Facts Behind the Bible Stories

As every Sunday school kid knows, Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, died on the cross, and three days later rose from the dead. But what else do we know about Jesus the Christ?

Just up ahead, check out interesting facts, trivia, and footnotes to history about Jesus' life and death, and resurrection:

• Jesus was his name. but Christ was his title bestowed upon him - meaning "messiah" or savior. Jesus was commonly known as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus the Nazarene, as people at the time were often identified from the place where they grew up.

• "Tekton" is the traditional translation ifor "carpenter", Jesus' earthly profession in the original Greek. But modern Biblical scholars say the word more likely translates to general craftsman, or a neighborhood "Mr. Fix It."

• Biblical scholars say that Jesus was probably not interested in forming a new religion, but rejuvenating the old one (which might explain the sudden loss of Christ-like composure when this happened).

• What did Jesus really look like? With no description made available in the New Testament, all we have are depictions from religious icons and artworks, anthropologic evidence, and Hollywood movies:

faces of jesus
TOP: Jesus' face on the Shroud of Turin; and a depiction in a medieval painting at the Hagia Sophia;
BOTTOM: the Hollywood version of Jesus as portrayed by actor Robert Powell in "Jesus of Nazareth" (1977).
At right, a hyperrealistic portrait by Dutch artist Bas Uterwijk
depicting Jesus with typical Mideastern features.

• Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. According to the New Testament, one piece of silver was an average day's wage, so Judas earned about 4 weeks' salary for his treacherous deed.

• Praying in the Garden of Gethsemane before his crucifixion, Jesus was under such incredible stress that his sweat became like “giant drops of blood falling to the ground”. The modern medical term for this is hematohidrosis.

• Public crucifixion was one of the most gruesome death sentences handed out by the Romans. It was generally reserved for slaves or those who challenged Roman authority.

• INRI are the letters often depicted on top of the cross during the crucifixion, an abbreviation for “Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum”, which is the Latin translation for “Jesus Of Nazareth, King Of The Jews”. According to Biblical accounts, the sign was affixed to the cross by snickering Roman guards.


Star of Bethlehem
World's largest: Christ the King, Swiebozin, Poland.

• Was Christ actually born on December 25th?. Ask a modern astronomer and they will pinpoint June 17 as the probable date. That's when a rare conjunction of Jupiter and Venus in ancient times formed to create the biblical Star of Bethlehem.

You can credit St. Francis of Assisi for the first nativity scene, which was originally staged in 1233 in an Italian cave. By the late Middle Ages, the tradition of the Nativity scene had spread to every town and city in Europe.

• Today, Christianity remains the world's largest religion with over 2.4 billion followers, or about a third of the world's population.

• One of the world's fastest growing Christian populations is in Communist China. It's predicted that the country will overtake the United States as the world's most Christian nation within the next decade.

• Contrary to popular belief, the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro is not the tallest in the world. That title goes to Christ the King Statue in Świebodzin, Poland. Standing 172 feet tall and weighing 440 tons, it was completed in 2010.

More about Jesus around the Web:

Historical Jesus - Wikipedia

Easter Science: 6 Facts About Jesus

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