Badass Preacher: While He was pretty much nonviolent, the time He trashed the moneychangers' stalls in the temple certainly qualifies.
Berserk Button: Don't treat His Father's house like a marketplace. Or alternatively, don't use it as a cover for cons and scamming the poor and downtrodden.
Bigger Than Jesus: Strangely enough, Jesus Himself used this trope, at least in the eyes of the Jewish priesthood at the time. From Luke Chapter 11:
Jesus: The Queen of the South will rise at the judgement with the people of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom; and now one greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgement with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and now one greater than Jonah is here.
Catch Phrase: Often starts His sentences with "Verily I say unto you" ("I tell you the truth" in modern translations).
Celibate Hero: Some people think that Jesus was married, but that His wife was not mentioned in The Bible (there are also a lot of speculations about why this is). Other people see this idea as heresy.
Child Prodigy: At about 12, Jewish boys were expected to start joining in religious discussions. At 12, Jesus was teaching at these discussions, and astonishing everyone with His understanding and answers.
Cloud Cuckoolander: When asked if an adulterer should be stoned, Jesus wrote or drew something in the dirt with his finger instead of answering, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Depending on the Writer: A lot of people forget that one of the first things Jesus does in the Gospels is preach an "eye for an eye" system of law enforcement. This is, in fact, the origin of the phrase. It's quite out of line with how He's depicted at other points in the Gospels.
Jesus: You have heard that it was said "Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth." But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
The Determinator: The man once faced down an angry mob that wanted to throw Him over a cliff, silenced them with a look and walked right through without a scratch. Heck, even death itself couldn't stop Him.
Dark Shepherd: Then, there's His warnings of eternal damnation in Hell if one doesn't repent of their sins. He's more gentle about it, though.
Healing Hands: He healed a lot of people, usually by laying hands on them.
The Hero: Of the New Testament. Specifically, a Guile Hero who used cleverness rather than violence.
Heroic Sacrifice / Someone Has to Die: Jesus had to die and suffer punishment for mankind's sins in order to make it possible for people to be saved and not have to suffer punishment for their own sins.
I Have Many Names: Jesus son of Joseph, Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus Christ, note "Christ" is a descriptive title from the Greek word christos,, a translation of the Hebrew word mashiah meaning "anointed one", not His surname)., the Son of Man, Jesus Son of David...
Internal Reformist: Of Judaism and the law of Moses. A contested issue among His disciples, Paul argued for worldwide evangelization while Peter interpreted it as restricted to Jews. In any case, Jesus updated Yahweh's message.
Jesus Was Way Cool: Many people see Him as this. He was definitely seen as this by His contemporaries.
Jews Love to Argue: Jesus was Jewish, of course, and much of the action in the Gospels involves Him arguing with other Jews (the Pharisees or His own disciples) about the correct interpretation of the Laws of Moses.
Kung-Fu Jesus: Despite forcibly kicking shady merchants out of the temple on more than one occasion, this is mostly averted. In fact, the people turned against Him because He wasn't this; they expected their Messiah to lead a revolt against Rome.
Lineage Comes from the Father: Subverted. Jesus is both the legal and biological heir of David. Legally through Joseph, but it turns out that the genealogy in Luke is actually Mary's, (though this is never explicitly stated) tracing her back to David. In addition, there are a few women so well-respected that Matthew felt the need to mention them: Tamar, Bath-sheba, Rahab and Ruth.
When the guy known for using His powers for good turns and curses a fig tree in a fit of anger, causing it to wither and die, you know something serious is about to go down. Sure enough, Jesus went to His death a few days later.
Ditto with the merchants in the temple. He goes absolutely berserk when He sees them.
The Paragon: He told His disciples, "Love one another as I have loved you."
The Power of Love: One of Jesus' most remembered teachings is to love God and to love your neighbor. Jesus emphasizes love as the most powerful thing in the universe. (Faith and Hope being the two runners-up.)
Psychic Nosebleed: Jesus is praying at the Mount of Olives just before His arrest, and His sweat appears like drops of blood (Luke 22:44). This is actually a documented medical phenomenon in some cases of extreme stress, likely brought on by His knowledge of what's about to go down.
Race Lift: Jesus was a Middle Eastern. He was born in Palestine, the Middle East, but, at least in Western art, he's almost universally depicted as a white person.
Self Restraint: He went along with being sentenced to death. He even remarked at the time that, if He really wanted to, He could summon four legions of angels to bust Him out.
He declined to even open his mouth in his own defense while on trial. This likely has at least something to do with his track record of mopping the floor with the Pharisees' other arguments—if he'd made an active effort to rebut their accusations, it might have complicated the Heroic Sacrifice.
Short-Lived Big Impact: He preached actively for only three years and died at age 33, and here we are 2,000 years later still talking about Him. Not to mention the little matter of the religion He started currently having over three billion followers worldwide.
There's also the time where the Pharisees asked if it was legal to pay taxes to Rome, hoping they could get Jesus arrested for his answer; Jesus outsmarted them with a simple answer of "if it belongs to Rome, give it to them."
Take That: It's hard to read His words and not think He's talking about someone today, but He was more talking about the people of his time, their hypocrisy and blindness to injustice. But, since He's omniscient, He very well could be talking about people today, so this can be Double Subverted. Or, simply, his message is one that can speak to all people across time.
The Unreveal: To settle a dispute, Jesus wrote something in the ground that apparently blew them away and made everyone stop fighting. This is the only recorded instance of Jesus ever writing anything. But none of the books ever tell us what He wrote, maybe because we couldn't understand it?
The incident in question is recorded in John 8, when the people brought the woman who was caught in adultery in yet another attempt to trap Jesus by His own words. Commentators have suggested that what Jesus wrote on the ground was the accusers' own sins, as a way of calling them out for hypocrisy.
Verbal Tic: In the book of John, "I tell you the truth" or "Truly, truly I say to you."
With Us or Against Us: As far as He is concerned, neutrality in Him doesn't exist. Either one accepts Him or rejects Him.
Wrongfully Attributed: Jesus' birth is often believed to be the original reason people celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December. In reality pagans already held winter rituals and festivities centuries before Jesus' birth. The Church, not knowing when his birthday actually was, chose to celebrate it on this date so that Christmas could replace these festivals. Jesus probably wasn't actually born in winter, either; among other evidence, the shepherds wouldn't have been in their fields in December. Some astronomers suggested his real birthday was the 17th of June. Of course, given the sheer number of pagan (and Jewish) festivals, it would be hard to come up with a date that had not been used by some religion before...
Joseph shows up in that episode when Jesus was 12 and He was in the Temple showing off his knowledge to the rabbis. Mary and Joseph were both mentioned here. After this, not much is known. Most sources say Jesus was an adult when Joseph died.
Impoverished Patrician: Although he is from the lineage of King David, he earns a modest and meager living as a carpenter. And his social status is essentially "a nobody." (Or, if you like, the Average Joe.)
My Girl Is Not a Slut: Averted. After finding out that Mary was pregnant, he decided to (quietly) divorce her rather than make a big deal about it and have her be humiliated. That was really decent of him, considering the time and place he was in, he probably saved Mary's life (though he did come back for her).
The Virgin Mary
"Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb!"
Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Became Queen of the world according to some Christian traditions. Her "Assumption" had been floating around for centuries, but it wasn't until 1950 that the Catholic church accepted this as doctrine, replacing the original accepted theory that she went into eternal sleep or "Dormition."
Beauty Equals Goodness: Although her appearance is not mentioned or commented on at all (not even in passing), Catholics always describe her as being extraordinarily beautiful.
Divine Race Lift: And that she conforms to whatever the ideal of feminine beauty is in the describer's culture.
Played straight at the time of Jesus' birth; there's a reason she got her title. Possibly averted afterward, depending on whether you translate references to Jesus' "brothers and sisters" as literal or metaphorical.
The Chick: The most feminine figure in Christianity.
The Chosen One: Chosen by God out of many different young women to be the mother of Jesus.
The High Queen: To those who believe that she became Queen of Heaven and Queen of the World at the end of her earthly existence.
Humble Heroine: Despite the point that Mary's decision to become pregnant with the Messiah would make her a very important figure to many, Mary's few recorded actions after her son's birth reflected her son's importance. Many Christians honor her greatly, as her son did, because of that very humility.
Incorruptible Pure Pureness: The Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception states that she had to be pure from the very beginning in order to be a suitable mother for Jesus, and so she was spared from Original Sin.
Jewish Mother: Well, literally but the trope varies by the gospel.
In Mark (the one written for a Jewish audience) she up and tells Jesus that what he's doing is crazy, along with his brothers and sisters. Jesus handily ignores her though, telling her that his real family is whoever hears God's message and listens to it.
Virgin Power: In that she becomes pregnant and gives birth while still a virgin. To Catholics (who believe that she remained a virgin her whole life), she also has powers of intercession for such things as healing.
Peter, Andrew, James the brother of John, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the Lesser, Thaddeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the Betrayer. Matthias was later brought into the group as Judas' replacement. Peter, John, and Judas have their own sections below.
Flat Earth Atheist: Thomas has this reputation if the phrase "doubting Thomas" is anything to go by, but it's fairly unjustified. All the Apostles had trouble accepting Jesus' resurrection without physical proof; Thomas was just singled out because he arrived late. In addition, Jesus readily offered said proof and they immediately believed upon seeing it.
Literal-Minded: The Apostles were often clueless about the things Jesus taught. They thought that Jesus was coming to restore the monarchy that David started even after Jesus rose from the dead. It wasn't until after Jesus sent the Holy Spirit that the Apostles understood everything.
One Steve Limit: Averted with two Jameses, the two Judases, and also with a second John (the first being John the Baptist). Played straight with Simons, as Jesus named one "Peter"—but even then, yet another Simon was involved in the crucifixion.
Cruel and Unusual Death: He was crucified. Upside down. Also counts as a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming, as he specifically requested to be crucified upside down; he felt he didn't deserve to die the same way as his lord. This is why one of the symbols of Christian fealty is an upside-down cross, and not a Satanic Anti-Christian symbol.
During two accounts of Jesus's arrest scene, Peter cuts off a soldier's ear with his sword (and one of these accounts makes it clear that, yes, Jesus healed it). This is just one of the many times Peter opens his mouth and inserts his foot.
Also, the time when Jesus tells Peter that anything he asks by faith will be granted. The first thing Peter asks for? That Jesus doesn't have to die. Jesus immediately rebukes it, repeating that his death is preordained.
Meaningful Rename: Jesus gave Simon the name Peter, which means "rock," to symbolize Peter's solid faith. Catholics also take Jesus' pronouncement "On this rock I will build my church" to mean that Peter became the first Pope.
One Steve Limit: Enforced. Since there was another Simon among the twelve, Jesus gave him the Peter nickname instead.
Red Baron: Jesus gave him the name Peter, which is from the Greek word for "stone," petros (cephas is an Aramaic word meaning the same thing). How cool must that have been to have Jesus call you "Rocky"? (Though, to be fair, Jesus was also quick to point out when he wasn't living up to the name.)
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Initially, Peter was the Hot-Blooded foil to Jesus's calm demeanor, but post-Pentecost, he got better and became Paul's foil.
Take Up My Sword: According to Roman Catholic dogma, Jesus left Peter in charge of the movement he started.
John the Apostle
"He who does not know love does not know God because God is love."
"What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and filled,' without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead."
The younger brother of Jesus, who eventually took up leadership of Jesus's movement with Peter and John after Jesus's death and ascension.
One Steve Limit: He shares a name with one of Jesus' apostles. Averted if you believe the two are the same person.
Reasonable Authority Figure: Was this for the Jewish-Christians and the Christian movement during the Apostolic Age. When ideological fights between Peter and the Apostle Paul began breaking out, James was the one to settle things.
The Magnificent: Earned the title "The Just" by being so true to both the Law of Moses and Jesus's teachings that even non-Christians recognized him as a righteous man.
Anti-Villain: Depicted as a mostly fair ruler who was caught between killing an innocent man or setting him free and risking the people's rebellion.
Batman Gambit: When carrying out the tradition of freeing one prisoner on the Passover, he had the other choice be the criminal Barabbas in hopes that people would pick Christ over him. It didn't work.
Historical Villain Downgrade: When compared to the primary evidence we do have. By all contemporary accounts Pilate was a rude, undiplomatic, chauvinistic, and authoritarian colonial Prefect who went out of his way to rub the Jews down with his Cultural Posturing before getting recalled when it got too much even for Tiberius Caesar. Granted, as far as Roman officials went (especially in uncooperative regions) this was not unusual and we don't have much reason to believe he was overly corrupt, bloodthirsty, or venal; just that he was not exactly passive.
Historical Villain Upgrade: He's often depicted as the man directly responsible for ordering the death of Jesus. Actually, in the Gospels themselves, he only does so reluctantly because he has no choice.
Though the validity of those is questionable in and of itself, given what scant historical records say about him and the position of Prefect. See Historical Villain Downgrade.
"Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone."
Dramatically Missing the Point: See quote. They followed the ceremonies of the law to a T, but they completely over looked the more important spirit of the law.
God Never Said That: God gave a number of general rules, but by Jesus' time, these had been analyzed and quantified into strict rules by the Pharisees. When the Pharisees tried to call Jesus on his "rule-breaking," He often explained that they had over-analyzed the letter of the law and missed the spirit completely. For example, the Pharisees said He violated the Sabbath's ban on work by healing someone; He explained that while the Sabbath is a day of rest, it's never against God's law to help a person or show mercy on them (see Matthew 12).
Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: "If you had known what these words mean, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the innocent."
Hypocrite: They followed the ceremonies of the law to a T, but they completely over looked the more important spirit of the law. Their religion was more to make them look good in front of men than out of any real love for God. For example, they got mad at the disciples for eating with unwashed hands, but they themselves plotted murder and stole from people.
Loophole Abuse: Sort of; they had to make up a new rule to do it. They had a tradition that if something was declared "Qorban" or "devoted to God," it was not to be used for secular use, and they would use that as a excuse not to use whatever it was to help their parents.
Morton's Fork: One of their preferred strategies for trying to entrap Jesus: Should we execute this woman for adultery (defying the law of Rome), or not (defying the law of Moses)? Should we pay taxes to Rome (a very unpopular idea) or not (Caesar would like to have a word with you)? (In each case, Jesus Took a Third Option.)
Obstructive Bureaucrat: Jesus called them out not only for being holier-than-thou, but for putting unnecessary restrictions on the average folk.
Token Good Teammate: Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimethea. Early in Christ's ministry, Nicodemus came to him in secret to ask about his doctrine. He also assisted in burying Christ, while Joseph gave his own pre-bought tomb for Jesus to be buried in.
Cross Cultural Kerfuffle: Should kids in Hispanic America (especially in Puerto Rico) get their presents from Santa or the Magi? The eternal debate!
The Magi are often pictured in Arabic headgear despite not actually being Arabs.
Then again, what people might call "Arabic Headgear" is generally common less because of ethnic identification and more because it's one of the best things to use in a desert.
The Determinator: Artaban spent *his whole life* trying to deliver his present to Jesus.
My New Gift Is Lame: While gold and frankincense are valuable and holy gifts, myrrh was used in burials and thus was unusually morbid to give to a newborn. It's implied it may have been as a Call Forward to Christ's eventual death to atone all sins.
Five-Token Band: Many depictions actually make them three different races to symbolize the entire world coming together in awe of Christ.
Word of Dante: The Scripture doesn't say that there were three Magi exactly; that's a later tradition that probably came from them bringing three gifts. They're also often depicted in Nativity scenes, even though the Bible records them arriving at "the house", not a stable, suggesting they arrived well after Jesus was born.