Jesus of Nazareth is the central figure in Christianity. According to Time Magazine, he is the most influential person in all of history. However, much of his life is shrouded in mystery.
The most detailed accounts of Jesus comes from the Bible. In John 21:25, John tells us this:
And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.
We know that the gospels don't give us the entire picture of Jesus. Through the lens of the Bible, we only know a fraction of Jesus' life. But that fraction of the story has given hope and faith to the 2.3 billion Christians around the world. For the people of the Christian faith, the Bible contains the most beautiful story ever told about how Jesus died on the cross to save all of humanity.
Between the well-known parables, Biblical verses, historical records, and other historically reliable sources, we composed a list of the thirty most interesting facts about Jesus Christ.
30 Facts About Jesus Christ
1. Jesus was a Common Name in His Time
When Jesus walked the earth in the first century, he held an extremely common name. The name "Jesus" was the equivalent of "John Doe" in his time. It was clear that he did not stand out based on his name.
According to this definition by MIT:
Yahshua = Yah + shuah. Yah is short for Yahweh, and shuah is from Yeshua which means "to save, save alive, rescue."
This means that even though his name was common, it still held deep spiritual significance. It literally translates to God rescues.
2. Jesus was Believed to be 5 Foot, 5 Inches
Scholars believe that Jesus was about 5 foot 5 inches (1.7 meters) tall.
This was the average height based on the skeletal remains of men around the first-century. He most likely had brown eyes, black hair, and olive-brown skin. Historical records showed that most people kept their hair and beards well-combed and short around that time. This was to keep out the lice (which was problematic then).
3. Jesus (Most Likely) Wasn't Born on December 25
Most Christians around the world come together on December 25th every year to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. But when was Jesus really born?.
Early Christians began observing the birth of Jesus' birth around this time because it was an alternative to the pagan festivals happening at this time.
According to our guide When Jesus Was Really Born, According to the Bible:
There is a great debate around the topic of the date of Christ’s birth. Between calendars changing, questionable record-keeping, and lost records, it's hard to get pinpoint specific dates. Some have used Scripture to follow the stars and others have used historical records combined with Biblical accounts and cultural traditions to narrow it down. The most widely accepted month is September (the general assumption is in the middle of the month) and the year is most commonly estimated to be around 3 B.C.
4. Jesus Appeared First to Mary Magdalene After His Resurrection
According to the gospels of Mark & John, Mary Magdalene was the first person to see Jesus after his resurrection. In fact, she thought he was a gardener when she first saw him standing there (John 20:14-17):
At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
Mary Magdalene was involved in his ministry from beginning to his eventual death. She is mentioned more in the Bible than some Apostles.
5. Jesus Had Several (Half) Siblings
Jesus had at least four brothers and two sisters. According to Matthew 13:55–56:
Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?
6. Jesus was Considered a Radical in His Day
Jesus was not a conventional man. He was considered to be radical by many religious leaders in his day. This is because he talked with sinners. According to Mark 2:16-17:
When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Jesus even talked to women. In his day, Jewish men did not speak to women in public.
Eventually, the Pharisees clamored for his death because:
- Jesus claimed to be one with God the Father
- The miracles he performed
- The threat he posed to their system
- The people he socialized with
- The lack of respect he had for their traditions
7. Jesus was a Jew
Jesus was Jewish. Because of this, he most likely had Jewish features of that time, such as:
- Olive skin tone
- Brown eyes
- Black hair
He argued for his followers not to evangelize the Samaritans or gentiles. He focused his ministry saving the lost sheep of Israel.
8. Jesus Died by Crucifixion
As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watching over him there. Above his head they placed the written charge against him: this is Jesus, the king of the jews.
Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” In the same way, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” In the same way, the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
9. Crucifixions were Common in Rome
A crucifixion is a form of capital punishment where the victim is tied or nailed to a wooden beam to hang. The victim usually hangs there for a couple of days, where they die from exhaustion and asphyxiation.
This was a popular practice in Roman-occupied Holy Land. In 4 B.C., Roman general Varus crucified 2,000 Jews. There were also mass crucifixions in the first century A.D.
10. "Christ" is a Title
Usually, you see Jesus referred to as "Jesus of Nazareth" or "Jesus, son of Joseph". But the followers of Jesus believed him to be the Jewish messiah. He became known as "Jesus Christ", which means "Jesus the Anointed" or "Jesus the Messiah".
11. Jesus Was a Carpenter
Scripture referenced Jesus as a carpenter. His father Joseph was also a carpenter and likely taught him the trade. Being a carpenter was essentially a laborer or builder.
12. Jesus Started His Ministry Around 30 Years Old
According to Numbers 4:3, a man must be over thirty to be a priest:
From thirty years old and upward even until fifty years old, all that enter into the host, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation.
Jesus started his ministry around thirty, according to Luke 3:23:
And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,
13. Jesus' Ministry was About 3.5 Years Long
Based on John's gospel, we know Jesus attended at least three Passover feasts in his ministry. In John 2:13:
And the Jews' Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
In John 6:4:
And the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.
And lastly, during the time of his crucifixion in John 11:55:
And the Jews' Passover was nigh at hand: and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the Passover, to purify themselves.
Based on this information, most scholars believe that Jesus' ministry lasted about 3.5 years.
14. Jesus Spoke Multiple Languages
Jews spoke Aramaic primarily in first-century Palestine.
Jews would also need to learn Hebrew to study the Torah.
It was likely that he spoke Greek to communicate with Pontius Pilate. Romans used Greek to interact with the Hellenistic Jews.
15. Jesus' First Miracle Was at a Wedding
In John 2:1-11, we see Jesus turning water into wine at Cana in Galilee:
On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”
His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink, but you have saved the best till now.”
What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him.
16. Jesus Taught with Parables
Jesus taught using stories called parables. He would use these stories to illustrate a larger point about the Kingdom of God. His disciples asked why he taught in parables in Matthew 13:17:
The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”
He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. This is why I speak to them in parables:
“Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’
But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
17. Jesus Fasted for 40 Days
Jesus went into the wilderness and fasted for forty days and nights, according to Matthew 4:1-3:
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Only 3 people fasted for 40 days in the Bible: Jesus, Moses, and Elijah.
18. Jesus Called God "Father"
Jesus' prayers showed a deep connection with God. When he prayed to God, he called Him Abba - or daddy. In John 10:25-30, Jesus reveals his relationship with God:
Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
19. Jesus Brought Three People Back From the Dead
In the Bible, Jesus brought back three people. In Nain, he brings back the widow's son in Luke 7:11-17:
Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.
They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.
He brings back Jairus' daughter in Luke 8:51-56:
When he arrived at the house of Jairus, he did not let anyone go in with him except Peter, John and James, and the child’s father and mother. Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. “Stop wailing,” Jesus said. “She is not dead but asleep.” They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But he took her by the hand and said, “My child, get up!” Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up. Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. Her parents were astonished, but he ordered them not to tell anyone what had happened.
In John 11, he brings back Lazarus:
Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
20. Jesus was Betrayed By Judas Iscariot
Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. In Matthew 26:14-16:
Then one of the Twelve — the one called Judas Iscariot — went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
21. Jesus Sweated Blood Before His Death
Jesus experienced hematohidrosis, a rare condition of sweating blood while praying in the garden of Gethsemane. In Luke 22:42-44:
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
22. Mary was at Jesus' Death
Simeon, who was visited by the Holy Spirit, prophesized to Mary, the mother of Jesus (Luke 2:34–35):
Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
The prophecy came true when Mary saw her son get crucified on the cross in John 19:25-27:
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
23. Jesus' Tomb was Highly Secure
The Romans were aware that Jesus claimed he would return in three days. They put three layers of protection:
- A boulder: The stone would be either a disk-shape or a cork. It would have been extremely difficult to move.
- A guard: Pilate demanded that a guard would guard the front of the tomb.
- A Roman seal: A Roman seal signifies the tomb belongs to Rome. It is a warning to people that whoever breaks the seal would be likely crucified as well.
24. Witnesses Saw Jesus After His Resurrection
Jesus was resurrected on the third day after his crucifixion at Calvary. In John 20:
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her. On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” Now Thomas (also known as Didymus ), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.
25. Jesus Left His Burial Linens
When Peter went into the empty tomb, he found the linen and cloth that wrapped Jesus' body. We can see this in John 20:6–8:
Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally, the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.
Stealing Jesus’ body would require taking the linens and cloth. Removing it would take a significant amount of time.
26. Jesus' Burial Site Was Prophesized
When Jesus died, a rich man offered up his burial plot. In Isaiah 53:9, Isaiah predicted that Jesus would be killed as criminal and rest in the tomb of the wealthy:
He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
27. A Sign Was Placed on Jesus' Cross
In Matthew 27:36, they set up a sign that explained the charges against Jesus:
And sitting down they watched him there; And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
28. One Miracle Was Recorded in All Four Gospels
There are over 40 miracles recorded in the gospels. But the common miracle listed across all four gospels is the feeding of the 5,000 people (Matthew 14:13–21; Mark 6:31–44; Luke 9:12–17; John 6:1–14).
“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
“Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were leftover. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.
29. The Path to Jesus' Crucifixion is Call "Via Dolorosa"
The path Jesus walked to be crucified is called "Via Dolorosa", which translates to "Way of Grief" or "Way of Suffering".
Jesus walked down this old Jerusalem road while carrying his crucifixion cross.
30. Pontius Pilate Sentenced Jesus to Be Crucified
The crowd shouted for the death of Jesus. In Luke 23:23-25, Pontius Pilate sentenced Jesus to death:
But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. So Pilate decided to grant their demand. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.
In his short life and ministry, Jesus Christ has changed the trajectory of the world. For Christians, Jesus is the symbol of hope, love, and compassion. He is the foundation of the Christian church and the Christian belief.
The life of Jesus, the aspects of Jesus, the parables of Jesus, and Jesus’ existence will be hotly discussed and debated for the rest of history. We hope that this guide has illuminated your understanding of the character and life of Jesus Christ. May you find victory through Jesus.