1. What message does the statement of Andre Ampere who found Jesus as the Saviour, gives us?
According to Andre Ampere “My biggest discovery is that Jesus of Nazareth is my Saviour.” This meant that for him Jesus is the only Saviour. That he welcomed Jesus as his Saviour and bore witness to Him until his death. That he lived a life of Faith in Jesus Christ.
2. Give three quotations from the Bible where it is unequivocally stated that Jesus is the Son of God?
Mt 16: 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
Mt 3: 17 “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.”
Jn 10: 25 (write from Bible).
3. What is the meaning of the statement that Jesus is the Saviour of the world?
The salvation that Jesus offers is the total liberation. And it is basically a spiritual liberation from sin. The salvation which Jesus brought not only sets us free from sin but makes us also participants of Divine Life. The salvation that Jesus offers is not restricted to a particular time, place or race. It is for the whole human race. So Jesus is also called the redeemer of the world (Lk 2: 10-11).
4. How can those who had no opportunity to know Jesus Christ be saved?
Those does not have a chance to know the Saviour Jesus Christ is also saved by their good deeds.
5. How does Jesus become my Saviour? Explain.
Based on the Scripture passages like Mt 16: 13-17, we understand that it is not enough to know Jesus is our Saviour, with our intelligent, but we should experience Him in our heart. He should become the Saviour for us personally. For that we believe in Jesus, obey His Words and proclaim Him as our Saviour. Then and there Jesus, the Saviour of the world becomes Saviour of each one of us.
1. How could the historical knowledge about Jesus Christ help us?
Every Christian should know the historical facts about the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. First, the knowledge about Jesus, the historical person will strengthen our faith. Second, it helps to clear the doubts of others by entering into dialogue and convince them of the truth about Jesus.
2. What did Socrates say about Jesus who was expected to be born as Saviour of the world?
The Greek philosopher, Socrates who lived in the 4th century BCE, wrote thus, “Wait, and expect, the coming of man who knows everything. He will teach us how to behave before God and men.” This statement of Socrates expresses the expectation for the Saviour of the world. (Ricciotti, Life of Jesus Christ)
3. What is the name which indicates the historicity of Jesus?
Jesus is from Nazareth and therefore he is known as “Jesus the Nazarene” (Jn 19: 19).
4. Why do you say that the saving events which are reported in the Gospels are fulfilled in Jesus? How far they testify to the historicity of Jesus?
The four Gospels are books written on Jesus. They give us vivid images of Jesus’ life and teaching. The descriptions the evangelists give us are significant because they directly saw Him, heard Him and lived with Him. The historical events, persons and place mentioned in the Gospels are great testimonies about the historicity of Jesus.
For example at the time of the birth of Jesus, the Roman Emperor Agustus Caesar ordered a census to be taken throughout the Roman Empire (Lk 2: 17). During the reign of Pilate, the Roman Governor, Jesus was condemned to death and crucified and died. It is explained in St. Like, Chapter 23: 13-56. Besides, the places where Jesus was born, lived and died exist to this day. The territory consists of these places is called Holy Land. The disciples of Jesus testified to the death of Jesus and were convinced of His resurrection from the dead. Hence, Jesus became the centre of their lives. So they preached to the world about Jesus whom they experienced.
Within a very short time the words and teachings of Jesus spread throughout the world. For many years, the Gospel message was spread through preaching. Gradually the Gospel was spread through writings. Four Gospels written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit are mutually complementary (Lk 1; 1-3; Jn 21: 24 etc). All these show that the evangelists had written only those important facts that had taken place in the life of Jesus. Thus the contents of the Gospels are based on historical facts. Those who seek truth cannot deny the historicity of Christ, the Son of God, whom we find in the Gospels.
5. The profession of faith of the early church community is a strong proof for the historicity of Jesus. Explain.
The life of the early Christian community is a strong proof to show that Christ was a historical person. A new community whose members believed in Jesus crucified and risen from the dead began to flourish immediately. Already in the 1st century they were called Christians. It was in Antioch that for the first time believers in Christ were called “Christians” (Acts 11: 26).
The faithful believed the personal testimonies given by St. Peter, the head of the Apostles and St. Stephen, the martyr. Saul who was zealously persecuting Christians became Paul, a zealous missionary for Christ. His conversion increased the faith of the early Church. They proclaimed Jesus and His activities. The number of the faithful increased day by day. The proclamation of faith of the early Christians is a strong proof for the historicity of Jesus.
The early Church continuously spread all over the world. This presence of the Christians is a great testimony of the historicity of Jesus.
1. What are the traits of Jesus’ personality that are revealed in the four Gospels?
- The Beloved Son of the Father.
- Jesus the Absolute Redeemer.
- Jesus the Friend of Sinners.
- Jesus, a Strong Witness to Truth.
- Jesus who fought against the Forces of Evil.
- Jesus, the Friend of the Poor.
- Jesus Meek and Humble of Heart.
- Forgiving Jesus.
- The Merciful Jesus.
2. What do you mean as you say; Jesus is an out and out liberator?
The very purpose of the incarnation of Jesus was to offer total redemption (liberation) of the world. So He started His mission by announcing the Good News of integral liberation. Hence, Jesus announce His mission in the Synagogue, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Lk 4: 18-19).
Human personality has three different spheres: bodily, mental and spiritual. On the physiological level, our human body is a wonderful gift of God. Its shape, colour, size, height etc. influence the personality developments. Yet personality does not remain on these factors. The second sphere includes in-born talents perfected by dint of practice. The third sphere is entirely based on human values. This is the spiritual realm of the personality. These three aspects are closely interrelated: whatever affects the mind affects the body and soul and vice versa! When a person commits sin it disturbs the soul, the mind and the body of the person. The purpose of incarnation of the Son of God is to free man from this disintegrating disturbance. The freedom and redemption offered by Jesus is complete and wholesome. He offers Salvation through forgiveness of sins. The path Jesus pursued was different and difficult – the way of the Cross! While the world resorts to crime and violence to settle problems, taunting the Cross as mere folly and scandal, Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross fetched us Salvation and freedom from the clutches of sin. Today, each and every person who accepts Jesus as the Saviour stands redeemed (liberated).
3. Jesus is the new face who stood firm against all kinds of evil forces. Explain.
Jesus condemned sin and evil forces. In His fight against sin and evil He did not yield to the temptations of the world. He taught us that those who did not submit to the forces of sin would succeed in life and enjoy lasting peace of mind.
Jesus lived at a time when social evils such as violence, exploitation, etc. were rampant in the society. Even in Jerusalem, which was the hub of Jewish religious life, one could find all kinds of nefarious forces quite active. They made the temple itself a centre of trade and used it to exploit people who came to worship and offer prayers. We read in the Gospel of Luke the event of Jesus driving out business people from the temple (Lk 19: 45-48). Jesus was caustically critical of those who abused power and position. They were misinterpreting the laws and forcibly implicating the people for selfish ends. Jesus taught that laws and regulations were to serve people and their welfare (Mt 23: 1-36; Lk 11: 39-47; Mk 12: 38-40). Jesus said, “You impose on people burdens hard to carry but yourself do not lift one finger to touch them.”
Jesus spoke against all kinds of evil forces and exposed the bogus attitude of the so called lawyers (Lk 20: 45-47). Jesus wanted to ensure dignity for the downtrodden and weaker sections on the society. We shall not forget that Jesus seldom denounced the sinners while fighting against the evil forces. Jesus taught us to love the enemies, to do good to those who hate us and to bless those who curse us (Lk 6: 27-36; Mt 5: 38-42).
4. How can we follow Jesus in the practice of the virtues like meekness and humility?
Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Mt 11: 29). These words demonstrate two important aspects of Jesus’ personality – his gentleness and his humility! Jesus wants His followers to imbible the same. In the words of Isaiah, Jesus is the Lamb of God: “Like a lamg that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth” (Is 53: 7). Jesus is a sublime model for us to be followed. He kept His poise during the trial and on His difficult journey to Calvary. Jesus washing the feet of His disciples is an exceptional example of humility. He told His disciples, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, and you also ought to wash one another’s feet” (Jn 13: 14). He taught us to follow the path of humble service, “If anyone would be first, he must be the last of all and servant of all” (Mk 9: 35). When Jesus noticed the invited guests at a feast claiming the prominent places of honour He reminded, “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Lk 14: 7-11). These will remain as perennial teachings and examples of Jesus to the world. We too ought to practice the virtues of gentleness and humility after the model of Jesus. Humility is the queen of virtues and he who digs deepest builds the safest (cf. Mt 6: 41).
5. Everyone is impressed by Jesus’ act of mercy. Explain.
“Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy” (Mt 5: 7). This is the virtue that understands passion with compassion. The Gospels depict Jesus showing great sympathy and mercifulness to the sinners, the poor, the sick, the persecuted and the helpless. The Gospel of John (Jn 8) narrates the story of the woman caught up in adultery and the kind manner Jesus treated the matter. It really touches our hearts when we see Jesus moved to tears with Martha and Mary at the death of Lazarus. Jesus’ sensibility and empathetic attitude to those who were suffering have attracted many people to Him. Jesus is the towering example of sympathy! We also read the example of Jesus feeding the hungry, healing the sick, pardoning the sinners and consoling the suffering. Jesus is the Good Samaritan who came to rescue the wounded (Lk 10: 29-37). We have the example of the compassionate Jesus in John 8: 1, and pardoning the sinful woman in Luke 7: 36-50. Here we can see as the epitome of mercifulness in Jesus. Jesus tells us to be merciful just as our heavenly Father is merciful (Lk 6: 36).
1. What do you understand by the word, personality?
Personality is the specific and dynamic traits within the individual that determine one’s character, behaviour, thoughts, emotions, culture, etc. It is the sum total of thoughts, feelings, behaviour, believes, culture, etc. which influences and draws attention of another. So the term personality signals the totality of human person, his physical, social and spiritual make-up.
2. Growth or maturity in Christian personality is possible when a person assimilates the vision, out-look and life-style of Christ. Explain.
Modern science views man as a complex structure of physiological, psychological and spiritual forces held together by a central chord called personality. The vision of man is incomplete without the dimension of the soul which expresses itself in conscience, reason, will, emotion, etc. The three dimensions mentioned above seldom function in isolation, they inter-play. A model personality would be a person who is led by the ultimate goal, based on spiritual values. A God-ward movement is in-built in man. It brings spiritual liberation to the individual and integral well-being to society. In the personality of Jesus we have a model whose appeal and relevance will never be dimmed by time. Jesus has been the perfect model and inspiration for people because he is “true God from God.” Jesus grew up into mature personality, became strong and the “wisdom and the favour of God was upon him” (Lk 2: 40). Jesus is the perfect man (Jn 14: 9). He was like anyone of us in all things, except sin. Hence maturity in Christian personality is possible when a person assimilates the vision, out-look and life-style of Christ.
3. Growth in self-knowledge is the pre-requisite to the enlightened identity. Why?
Awareness is an eye-opener and a wake-up call. Self-awareness is the knowledge of oneself. Self-awareness is the key to personality development. It demands knowledge of one’s purpose in life and the means to realise the same. Christian self-awareness is the consciousness of oneself in the light of the teachings of Jesus. This can be achieved through the power of the Word of God and the teachings of the Church. Just as nobody can make his life fruitful without self-awareness, nobody can grow-up as a true and mature Christian without the knowledge of what it means to be a Christian and without being aware of the vey purpose of life and the means to realise the same.
4. The good examples of saints help us to grow in Christian personality. How?
Saints are people who lived their lives heroically, practicing virtues and dedicating their lives fully to the cause of Christ. They enrich the Church and inspire the faithful. These saints present before us a world with a difference. They followed a difficult and challenging life, unwavering even when they had to risk their lives. They remained faithful to their calling with total dedication. Hence the good examples of saints help us to grow in Christian personality.
5. Why do you say that a genuine Christian is another Christ?
A true follower of Christ can be called as another Christ. The presence and association with good people matter much in character formation. One who has developed a Christian psyche will be a blessing and an asset to the society. He promotes common good of the same society and stands high as a beacon for others.