Yeshua, supposed son of a carpenter (or joiner) named Joseph and a young woman (possibly a virgin) named Mary, born in Nazareth (or Bethlehem) in Roman Judea, some time between 8 BC/BCE and 6 AD/CEnote . He excelled in Torah study, became a rabbi, and began preaching in Judea aged around thirty. His message was mainly of love, peace, mercy, kindness, charity, forgiveness, and compassion (all of which were considered signs of weakness in Ancient Rome, to one degree or another). He also gave some trenchant criticisms of the religious Powers that Be on the subject of their corrupt practices, and he is said to have performed many miracles. Accused of defying Mosaic law and challenging the authority of Rome, he was sentenced to crucifixion by Roman procurator Pontius Pilatus and executed in Jerusalem around 30 AD/CE.
The Four Gospels say He was arrested and, despite being innocent of any wrongdoing, crucified after being betrayed by Judas Iscariot (Yehudah of Kerioth/Yehudah the Sicarius), but returned Back from the Dead 3 days later. He appeared before his Disciples (minus Judas, who was dead by that point) and many others before ascending to Heaven. The New Testament is mostly about Him, His life, His sayings, and His deeds, and is the second part of the Bible. It concludes by prophesying He will return a second time to defeat Satan once and for all and set up His kingdom on Earth.
While Jesus' existence has been historically confirmed, there are numerous views and speculations about Jesus' nature and deeds. Jesus is probably best known as the founder of Christianity. Most Christians believe that Jesus Christ (from Christos, "anointed", from the Hebrew word Mashiach, "Messiah") is no less than the Son of God as well as being the incarnation of God on earth.note Needless to say, this makes Jesus the Big Good of the Christian faith.
Muslims acknowledge Jesus (whose name they translate as Isa) as the second-greatest prophet after Muhammad himself. However, they dismiss the idea that any human can be the Son of God or an aspect of God, but do believe that Jesus was born of a virgin mother and will someday return to Earth. They also believe that Jesus did not die on the cross, as God intervened to prevent it, carrying Jesus's physical body to Heaven. Jewish teachings vary on whether they acknowledge Jesus or not (and of course the Jewish version of the Bible— the Tanakh— doesn't include the New Testament at all), but almost all would argue that, despite any good qualities, he's not the Messiah. Gnostic teachings maintain that Jesus was a spiritual being sent to teach us how to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, but these are considered unorthodox by most Christians. And even people who don't fit into any of the above religions may still believe Jesus Was Way Cool.
In any case, there's one more important thing to note: Christ is not Jesus' last name, but His title designating His role as Messiah and Savior. It comes from the Greek Christos, meaning "anointed", in turn a translation of Māîăḥ. This is why phrases like "The Passion of the Christ" make sense. Note that this also means that referring to Jesus as "Christ" or "Jesus Christ", rather than just "Jesus", constitutes an implied claim that Jesus was, in fact, the Messiah, and thus should be avoided when you're trying to draw a distinction between the Christian view and the "historical" secular view of Jesus. Those who wish to refer to Jesus in a secular or historical way can refer to him as simply Jesus, as he's pretty well known, or Jesus of Nazarethnote if you want to be specific ("Jesús" is a fairly common male name in Spain and Latin America, and to be honest the word "Jesus" is the result of a game of interlingual telephone for "Yeshua"—a name that appears in the Old Testament, where it is translated "Joshua"note ). Yehoshua in itself is hebrew for "Jehovah salvage" or "Jehovah is salvation" which is pretty appropriate.
Trope Namer for:
- Bigger Than Jesus
- Crystal Dragon Jesus
- Clone Jesus
- Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory
- Hijacked by Jesus
- Hippie Jesus
- If Jesus, Then Aliens
- Jesus Taboo
- Jesus: The Early Years
- Jesus Was Crazy
- Jesus Was Way Cool
- Kung-Fu Jesus
- Looks Like Jesus
- No Such Thing as Space Jesus
- No Such Thing as Wizard Jesus
- Pals with Jesus
- Real Men Love Jesus
Also directly inspired the following tropes:
- All-Loving Hero
- Away in a Manger
- Crucified Hero Shot
- Go and Sin No More
- Good Samaritan
- Good Shepherd
- A House Divided
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness
- "Last Supper" Steal
- Messianic Archetype
- Never Accepted in His Hometown
- The Paragon
- Passion Play
- Pietà Plagiarism
- Second Coming
- Turn the Other Cheek
- Walk on Water
Works about Him:
Anime and Manga
- Gustave Doré's illustrations (of The Bible, Paradise Lost, and the Paradiso) keep a pretty standardized picture of Jesus throughout, with the beard, long hair, a mostly naturalistic Holy Halo, and gestures of teaching/benediction featuring throughout his many works, even those where Jesus hasn't incarnated yet.
- The Conversion of Saul depicts Jesus shooting a beam of light down from the Heavens towards Saul.
- The Doni Tondo shows the (quite muscular) infant Jesus being handed over between Joseph and Mary.
- The Risen Christ is a sculpture of Jesus casually holding the cross while relaxing in his glorified body.
- His Pieta depicts Jesus' unblemished course held in the arms of his youthful mother.
- The Disputation of the Sacrament depicts Christ enthroned, with God the Father above him and the dove of the Holy Spirit descending into the Eucharist, communicating the doctrines of the Trinity and the Real Presence.
- The Transfiguration shows Jesus surrounded by light and floating above his followers.
- Sistine Chapel:
- The altar painting sees Christ making the Last Judgement while shrouded by light.
- One of the walls of the Chapel is dedicated to six portraits telling the life of Christ, from his nativity through his temptation, ministry, death, and resurrection.
- Leonardo da Vinci:
- The Last Supper depicts Christ amidst his confused Apostles.
- The Christ Child in The Virgin of the Rocks sports a circular, hollow halo and makes a sign of benediction towards the infant John the Baptist, who is bowing in adoration of his cousin.
- From the Manger to the Cross (1912), one of the first feature films ever made.
- The Gospel According to St. Matthew, in which Jesus is depicted as more of an angry rabble-rouser.
- The Gospel of John
- Jesus (1979)
- The King of Kings, a silent film by the director of The Ten Commandments.
- King of Kings, a 1961 Epic Movie narrated by Orson Welles.
- The Gospel According to St. Matthew, a 1964 Italian film with the dialogue ripped straight from Matthew.
- The Greatest Story Ever Told, an 1965 Epic Movie with starring Max von Sydow.
- Monty Python's Life of Brian gives him a bit part in the beginning, and features a man whose life parallels his to an extent.
- The Nativity Story
- The Last Temptation of Christ, a novel and film which paint Jesus as a flawed man whose life goes differently at the Crucifixion.
- Parable, an allegorical short film featuring Jesus as a circus clown.
- The Passion of the Christ, a film centered around the Eucharist, the Virgin Mary, and graphic torture.
- Risen, a mystery story about two Centurions investigating the Resurrection.
- Son of God, a Compilation Movie adapted from the History Channel's The Bible.
- The Visual Bible: Matthew
- Last Days In The Desert, where Ewan McGregor plays Jesus during his temptations in the desert.
- The Young Messiah
- The Bible, of course.
- The Four Gospels are specifically about Jesus' life, death, and resurrection.
- He makes a cameo in Acts of the Apostles, appearing to Saul (Paul) on the road to Damascus.
- The Book of Revelation, which depicts a vision of Jesus' Second Coming.
- Outside of these books considered canonical by most churches (the Orthodox church has always been a bit iffy on Revelation), there's numerous works of apocrypha where his authority is used to affirm whatever religious or philosophical notion contained therein, primarily amongst the Gnostics.
- The Qur'an. As explained above in the introduction, Jesus is considered a great prophet of Islam, second only to The Prophet Muhammad himself. His life and teachings constitute a significant part of the Qu'ran.
- The Book of Mormon, climaxing with his post-resurrection visit to the American continent.
- The Divine Comedy explores the aftermath of Christ's descent into Hell and Dante sees Him within the Godhead at the end of the poem.
- Paradise Lost imagines his role in casting the rebellious angels out of Heaven and into Hell.
- Ben-Hur, the novel and films, features Jesus as a supporting character.
- Lamb: The Gospel According To Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, a very Affectionate Parody.
- The Man Born to Be King, twelve radio plays depicting Jesus's story in highly modern language.
- Jesus (1999)
- Jesus Christ: Vampire Hunter
- Jesus of Nazareth, a 1977 television mini-series.
- Some episodes of The History Channel's The Bible.
- Some episodes of NBC's AD: The Bible Continues, a follow-up series to the above.
- Black Jesus, a Divine Race Lift in present day Compton, Played for Laughs.
- Some episodes of American Gods
- Jesus Christ Superstar, a 1970 rock opera and Broadway musical focusing on Judas and Christ.
- Godspell, a 1971 musical based on the parables of Jesus.
- Hero, a modernized 2003 rock opera telling of the Gospel.
- The Miracle Maker, a stop-motion film told through the eyes of a Jewish Ill Girl.
- The Star, a computer animated film about his birth story told from the perspective of various animals.
- Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey, Nestor helps Jesus' parents, Mary and Joseph, get to Bethlehem. Jesus has a small appearance as a newborn baby towards the end.
- The Little Drummer Boy, a stop-motion television special based on the Christmas carol of the same name. Like Nestor The Long Eared Christmas Donkey, Jesus appears towards the end as a newborn baby.
For more tropes that describe Jesus, try the character page for The Four Gospels.
Not to be confused with the manga Jesus, about a hitman-turned-teacher.