(Editor’s Note: Jesus’ conception, birth, maturation, ministerial preparation, miracles, teachings, crucifixion and death are summarized in this panegyric —an exalted written oration of praise— and is not intended to refute His resurrection, an event which would occur three days after death.)

Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Son of God, prophesied Messiah sent as incarnate Man to sacrifice Himself for all of humanity, died on a Roman cross by the hands of the Jews.

He was 33.

As the 28th descendant of Israelite King David, Jesus was supernaturally conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit at the time His virgin mother Mary (daughter of Heli) was betrothed to Joseph (son of Jacob).

The Baby Jesus was born in a Bethlehem stable and during the early years of His life, resided in Egypt with His parents to escape King Herod’s infanticidal rage.

Following the death of King Herod, Father Joseph was Angelically-directed in a dream to relocate his family and settle at Nazareth –– hence the “Nazarene” designation, the city where Jesus grew up.

Maturity Beyond Years

Not much is known about Jesus’ childhood —except that His intelligence and maturity were beyond His years, Jerusalem Temple teachers reported, recalling an incident which happened 18 years before the start of His ministry.

When Jesus was 12-years-old, Father Joseph and Mother Mary took Him to Jerusalem to celebrate in that years’ Feast of the Passover. At the conclusion of the celebration, Jesus’ parents mistakenly returned home without Him, assuming that He was among their relatives and friends.

Once the frantic parents discovered after a day’s journey that Jesus was not with the caravan, they returned to Jerusalem and anxiously searched for their Son everywhere.

Unbeknownst to Joseph and Mary, the young Jesus was safe and sound at the Jerusalem Temple Courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them probative questions.

Everyone who heard Jesus speak, debate and discourse with the Mosaic Law Teachers back then was amazed at His keen understanding and answers He gave them.

Jesus was perplexed that Mother Mary and Father Joseph searched for Him everywhere else but didn’t think to look for Him first at the Jerusalem Temple, where He had been for three days.

Ministerial Preparation

Eighteen years transpired until news about Jesus would surface again, during the time John —whose Mother Elizabeth was related to Jesus’ Mother Mary— preached and baptized penitent people in the Jordan River.

While John (called the Baptist) was immersing converts in the water one afternoon, he looked up and saw from afar the Nazarene walking toward him.

“Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,” John declared, exhorting everyone who was in earshot to acknowledge the Messiahship of his cousin Jesus.

Jesus came closer to the river’s edge and asked John to baptize Him. Yet his cousin was initially reluctant to do so. But when the fiery-eyed prophet finally complied, a most amazing thing happened, those who were witnessing the scene testified.

As he had done before with many other converts, John lowered Jesus in the Jordan River and raised Him up again. But unlike the others, something inexplicably occurred after Jesus’ baptism.

Immediately, heaven tore open and the Holy Spirit appeared in the form of a gentle white dove, fluttered His wings and hovered over Jesus’ head.

“This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased,” the Voice of the Lord God Almighty was reported to have said.

While bystanders were still enthralled at what they had just witnessed, Jesus was observed walking toward the Judean Desert, a sun-beating, sweat-producing and sand-blasting windy wasteland renown for its intense heat and wild animals.

Facing the elements wasn’t the only challenge the 30-year-old Jesus faced. Fasting and praying in the wilderness also came with temptations, sources close to the Nazarene would learn and publicly disclose later.

Banished from Heaven as Lucifer aeons ago for conspiring to be like the Lord God Almighty, Satan gleefully tested his Nemesis, Jesus.

But the Nazarene emerged from His Judean Desert fast still with His Godlike (yet incarnate-man) character intact, withstanding all which Satan threw at Him.

Jesus Christ of Nazareth, who like Moses, the Servant of the Lord, Joshua son of Nun and Elijah the Tishbite did before Him, successfully completed His 40-day fast. Now He was ready to embark on His predestined and preordained three-year ministry.

The Miracle-Worker

Jesus performed His first miracle during a wedding feast in Cana, the banquet master and guests attested.

Amazingly the miracle-worker transformed 180 gallons of water into exquisitely-tasting vintage wine.

During the next few weeks, Jesus became quite popular, healing all kinds of people from their ailments, sicknesses and diseases.

Jesus didn’t work alone, though. During the early period of His ministry, the Nazarene eventually recruited 12 disciples to follow Him, teaching them about theology and spiritual matters as well as having them assist Him in ministry.

Credited for expelling demons from their human hosts, Jesus also resurrected three people from the dead on three separate occasions.

The teenage daughter of Jairus, president of Capernaum’s influential Synagogue Elders Association, was the first person Jesus revived.

At the time this dead-raising miracle was but a rumor because Jesus imposed a gag order on Jairus and his wife. But when people witnessed Jesus dramatically resurrect a young Nain man and then Lazarus of Bethany, doubters were finally convinced that Jesus revived Jairus’ daughter as well.

Jesus’ acts of helping the sick, curing the ailing and healing the brokenhearted were not done for His own carnal self-aggrandizement, but to aid common people and demonstrate to others that He truly was God’s Son.

Possessing the power even to control and manipulate the forces of nature, Jesus stopped a storm, speedwalked on water at night and invoked the power instantly to move the disciple-filled fishing boat from the middle of the Sea of Galilee about four miles to the Gennesaret shore.

Jesus also caused a four-drachma coin to inexplicably appear in the mouth of the first fish which disciple Simon Peter was instructed beforehand to catch in the Sea of Galilee.

But one of the miracles of miracles people witnessed and experienced during His three-year ministry involved food!

On two separate occasions, Jesus fed a multitude from just paltry provisions. Five thousand men were fed at a Bethsaida mountainside from five barley loaves and two tiny fish. Weeks later Jesus duplicated this miraculous feat. From just seven loaves and a few small fish, 4,000 men ate on a mountainous hill near the Sea of Galilee.

The 9,000 total men who partook during these two miraculous feedings are conservative estimates. Given the ratio of women and children —compared to that of men— who congregate at public gatherings, the estimated crowds for those two days could have been two to three times more, some surmise.

The Teacher

But Jesus was more than just a miracle-worker, His followers reminded The Testament Spectator, referring to the Rabbi’s regularly teaching in parables, lessons or short stories intended to illustrate profound moral and spiritual truths.

Self-educated and conversant in Mosaic Law, Jesus frequently challenged Jewish religious tenets, rules and regulations during His teachings and preachings.

Jesus the Rabbi taught that the nature of people’s hearts, what they think, how they act and treat others, is more significant to the Lord God than just obeying Mosaic Law.

Jesus’ revolutionary, quite different, higher-standard theology demanded a higher morality from the people. Heretofore religious teachers had not expected their flock ––nor themselves for that matter–– to meet such a standard.

Many times and on many occasions Jesus’ critics, skeptics and detractors alike attacked Him. Not only did they attempt to intimidate, manipulate and dominate Him, but they also tried to discredit His ministry and undermine His message.

But they were unsuccessful. In some cases Jesus made them look quite stupid with His clever comebacks to some of the foolish and fallacious questions they would ask.

Even during the last week of Jesus’ life, the Pharisees, Herodians and Sadducees, who were admittedly astonished at His profound teachings, still attempted to entrap the Nazarene time and time and time again.

But Jesus’ perceptivity, knowledge of scripture, education in Mosaic Law, and mental sharpness prevented the three groups from diminishing Him.

To some, Jesus must have been quite enigmatic; a perfect Man who maintained His perfection in an imperfect world, not succumbing to its corrupting influence; a powerful Man who wielded His power judiciously, never flaunting it; a solitary Man who knew just when to withdraw Himself from the masses and pray privately, in part to tap into His power source and in part to prevent others from manipulating and using Him.

Jesus was a humble, gentle, yet strong and intellectual Man; an emotional and empathetic Man –– never hesitant to weep publicly.

Arrested, Tried, Crucified

Hailed “King of the Jews” by followers and assailed a religious and political agitator by Jewish religious leaders, Jesus frequently forewarned His followers that He would be a martyr. But they refused to believe that would happen to Jesus.

The end came as Jesus so foretold when the Nazarene allowed Himself to be taken into custody at the Garden of Gethsemane, where He said He could have put at His disposal more than 12 legions (72,000) of Angels.

Following Jesus’ arrest, religious officials accused and charged Him of subverting the nation, opposing taxes and declaring Himself “Christ the King.”

Although Pontius Pilate initially ruled that he “found no basis for a charge against Him,” the Judean Governor, facing intense mob pressure instigated by determined zealous Jewish clerics, reluctantly sentenced Jesus to death by crucifixion.

Even though Jesus was mocked, insulted, beaten, spit upon, flogged, tortured then crucified, separation from His Father was His most painful moment because He took the sin of the world upon Himself.

At death, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Son of God, Messiah, incarnate Man and loving Son of Joseph the carpenter, was survived by Mother Mary; Aunt Mary; four half-brothers —James, Joses, Simon and Judas; several half-sisters; 11 disciples, many friends and innumerable followers.

—By Ronald F. Owens, Jr.

The Testament Spectator 

(This panegyric appears on page 39 of The Testament Spectator, a 48-page, 125-story 1999 Bible newspaper which reports about the life, times and teachings of Jesus the Christ. Click/touch on this <https://ronaldfowensjr.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Jesus.pdf> link. You can download The Testament Spectator PDF at no cost. Direct printer to print pages back-to-back [on 11×17, or tabloid size paper] and staple, so you can read The Testament Spectator like you’re reading a newspaper.)