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Useful Notes / Jesus
aka: Jesus Christ

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"I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
John 8:12 (KJV)

Yehoshua of Nazareth (also known as Yehoshua bar Yosef), now better known in most of the world today as "Jesus", was a Jewish preacher who lived in the Roman province of Judea from ~8 BCE/BC to ~30 CE/AD.note  Worshipped by Christians as God incarnate in a man and revered by Muslims as one of the most important and penultimate prophet of their faith, Jesus is a strong contender for the title of "most influential person in history".

The commonly accepted version of events holds that Jesus was born in either Nazareth or Bethlehem as the son of a woodworker named Yosef (Joseph) and a young woman (believed by Christians and Muslims to have been a virgin) named Mariam (Mary). He excelled in Torah study, became a rabbi, and began preaching in Galilee aged around thirty. His message was a reformist perspective on Judaism, emphasizing principles of peace, mercy, charity, and compassion (most of which were considered signs of weakness in Ancient Rome, to one degree or another), and took particular efforts to appeal to Judea's downtrodden and oppressed. He is said to have gathered an inner circle of 12 trusted Disciples during this period who helped spread the message, most notably Yohanan (John) the Apostle and Yehudah (Judas) Iscariot. note 

Tradition holds that Jesus became a popular yet highly divisive figure, mainly due to outspoken criticism of both Roman oppression and corruption within the Jewish priesthood. Furthermore, anecdotes told by followers claim that Jesus was capable of performing miracles such as raising the dead, transfiguring water into wine, and multiplying food to feed the hungry. This eventually led to accusations both of defying Mosaic law and challenging the authority of Rome, and around 30 CE/AD Jesus was arrested, put on trial, and found guilty (tradition further holds that the conviction was unjust, and that Jesus was captured after being betrayed by Judas Iscariot). He was executed via crucifixion shortly afterwards, on the orders of Roman procurator Pontius Pilatus (Pontius Pilate).

From here on, records verge into religious tradition. The Four Gospels hold that three days after the execution, Jesus returned to life,note  appearing before the remaining eleven Disciples (minus Judas, who had killed himself out of shame and regret) and their followers to deliver some final lessons and prophecies before ascending to Heaven. Spurred on by unshakable faith, the Disciples and their followers spread and preserved Jesus' teachings in secret for centuries, even in the face of systemic persecution by the Roman Empire, until eventually the faith became so widespread that its Nicaean confession was declared the Roman Empire's state religion in 380 CE/AD.

Some claim it is probable that Jesus as a historical figure never existed - or that if he did, then the historical Jesus has virtually nothing in common with how Jesus is depicted in the gospel accounts - a fringe theory called the "Christ Myth Theory." According to this theory, Jesus is a purely mythical figure whose invention is often attributed to Paul of Tarsus. Virtually all scholars of antiquity reject this theory, regarding it as relying on false, fallacious, or unfounded arguments.

There are numerous views and speculations about Jesus' nature and deeds. He is probably best known as the founder and central figure of Christianity. Christian doctrine holds that Jesus Christnote  is both the human Son of God and the divine incarnation of God on Earth.note  The New Testament is mostly about Jesus: about Jesus' life, sayings, and deeds; and for Christians is the second part of the Bible. It concludes by prophesying Jesus will return a second time to defeat evil and death once and for all and set up the Kingdom of Heavensnote  on Earth. 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, to the extent where Jesus' name is mentioned in the Qu'ran more times than Muhammad's.note  Muslims also regard Jesus as the direct precursor to Muhammad, heightening the importance in the faith, and like Christians, believe that Jesus was the Messiah, was born of a virgin mother and will someday return to Earth. However, they dismiss the idea that any human can be the Son of God or an aspect of God; they also believe that Jesus did not die on the cross, as God intervened to prevent it, carrying Jesus' physical body to Heaven.

The mysterious Gnostic sects diverged significantly from the above, mainly due to their radical departures from traditional teachings of the Bible. They maintain that Jesus was a divine being sent by the "true God" ("Monad") to teach humanity how to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence and free themselves from the tyranny of the "false God" ("Yaldabaoth", or "The Demiurge"). Naturally, these views are considered anywhere from unorthodox to outright blasphemous by most Christians, Muslims, and Jews; the latter due to Gnostic scripture often conflating the God of the Torah / the Old Testament / the Quran with this evil "false God".

Even people who don't fit into any of the above religions may still believe Jesus Was Way Cool — many Buddhists, for example, believe Jesus was a "Bodhisattva", an enlightened beingnote  who abstains from Nirvana to help other humans reach it, while some Hindus believe Jesus was an avatar of Vishnu.

Jewish teachings, meanwhile, have varied considerably across the centuries and denominations on how they view Jesus (positively or negatively) - and obviously, the Tanakhnote  does not include the Christian New Testament. Regardless, one thing all Jews agree onnote  is that God is one and only one: which means there are no other gods and no one else can be divine, nor can He have offspring (like a lot of other ancient gods did). Most of them also agree that you should not attribute any descriptions to God, especially not human ones. All three points explicitly include Jesus; whom most Christians just as explicitly see as at the same time the son of God, an aspect of God, and God in human form. All of this is quite apart from and despite any traits that may or may not qualify Jesus as one who might hold the title Messiahnote , or as a prophet.

That said, most secular historians agree that Jesus' end goal wasn't to create a brand new religion or even a distinct branch of Judaism, but rather to break away from an increasingly literal view of the Tanakh and try to offer a more nuanced reading that better captured the intended meanings behind the scripture at a time when an important part of Judea's religious oligarchy had become horrendously corrupt and eager to use a legalistic approach to serve their own ends - much like earlier prophets had been sent to tell people to turn around when they strayed from the spirit of the law into Exact Words. While these efforts were harshly rebuked during Jesus' lifetime, the adoption as core principles first of Christianity and later of Islam, two of the most widespread and influential religions on the planetnote , make those teachings one of the world's biggest examples of being Vindicated by History.

In any case, there's one more thing to note:
While I Have Many Names most certainly appliesnote , none of them is a surname. As mentioned above, Christ is not Jesus' last name, but designates a role as Messiah and Savior. It comes from the Hebrew Māšīyaḥ, meaning "anointed", a Jewish religious title referring to both historical figures considered "saviors" of the Jewish people and the prophesied ultimate savior of their people (Christianity being founded on the belief that Jesus is this savior, and will fulfill the prophecy upon returning to Earth). To be very strictly accurate, the Greek Christos, in turn is neither a name nor a title, but a declaration of faith: it's not merely a one-on-one Greek translation of the Hebrew Māšīyaḥ (as many people think), but means "He who I believe is the Messiah". So someone calling Jesus by that is declaring themselves a Christian in the process. 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 (unless you want to implicitly declare yourself Christian) when you're drawing a distinction between the Christian and the secular or "historical" views of Jesus.
Some also use Yeshua, a shortened version of Jesus' name in Aramaic before passing through a thousand-year game of inter-lingual telephone. Yeshua is a shortened form of "Yehoshua" (commonly romanized as "Joshua"note ), which is Hebrew for "God is salvation" - fairly appropriate given the life Jesus lived and what it inspired. Shortening it to "Yeshua" is also making a point, though, albeit a different one: it will grate native Hebrew speakers (and/or Jews who care about names if not about Jesus) as being a wrong way to transliterate the Hebrew name "Yehoshua", and Christians as being imposed upon the name "Jesus". So if you use that, you're pointedly declaring yourself to be very secular indeed... or a Messianic Jew, who also use this name; albeit for yet different reasons again.

Those who wish to refer to Jesus in a secular or historical way and avoid implying anything can simply use the name Jesus, which has come to be widely known; or Jesus of Nazarethnote  if you want to be specific ("Jesús" is a fairly common name in Spain and its former colonies).
This way, you won't have the problem until you run into a pronoun, which some styles of writing capitalise for Jesus (implying the same declaration of the writer's Christianity as saying "Jesus Christ" would).

Trope Namer for:

Also directly inspired the following tropes:

And, indirectly:

Works about Him:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Steel Ball Run, in which He appears as a recurring character, with the remnants of His corporeal body serving as the Part's MacGuffin.
  • My Last Day, a short Anime depicting the Passion.
  • Saint Young Men, pals with Buddha.
  • In Record of Ragnarok, Jesus appears as a spectator in the Ragnarok tournament. Unlike most depictions of Jesus, this version of Him seems to be a normal human, lacking in any of the divine powers He is known for. He is a member of the Four Sages, alongside Socrates, Confucius, and the Buddha, with Him and the former two cheering on Buddha as he participates in the sixth round of the tournament.

  • Michelangelo Buonarroti:
    • The Conversion of Saul depicts Jesus shooting a beam of light down from the Heavens towards Saul.
    • The Doni Tondo shows the infant Jesus being handed over between Joseph and Mary.
    • Pieta depicts Jesus' corpse held in the arms of the Virgin Mary.
    • The Risen Christ is a sculpture of Jesus casually holding the cross after coming Back from the Dead.
  • Gustave Doré's illustrations (of The Bible, Paradise Lost, and the Paradiso) keep a pretty standardized picture of Jesus throughout: with beard, long hair, a mostly naturalistic Holy Halo, and gestures of teaching/benediction featuring throughout Dore's many works, even those where Jesus hasn't incarnated yet.
  • Andrea Mantegna's Descent into Limbo depicting Christ descending into the realm of the dead on Holy Saturday to get them out is an example of Renaissance art - and also an example of a Background Halo by perspective, lighting, and lines in the picture.
  • Bartolomé Esteban Murillo's Conversion of Saint Paul depicts three things: the future apostle Paul and his travelling companions to Damascus in the middle of the picture, his vision of Jesus Christ shrouded in blinding light above, and a small dog curiously and somewhat sceptically looking at all of the events as an Audience Surrogate in the lower corner.
  • Rembrandt:
    • In his Portrait of Christ, Rembrandt wanted to get as close as possible to what Jesus "actually" looked like. Since he knew that Jesus was "average-looking for that time and place", Rembrandt asked an average-looking person from the region to sit for him.
    • The Woman Taken in Adultery depicts the trope namer scene for Go and Sin No More.
  • Raphael:
    • Disputation of the Holy Sacrament depicts Christ enthroned; with God the Father above, the Holy Spirit descending into the Eucharist below, and the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist to the right and leftnote  - as a picture communicating the doctrines of both the Trinity and the Real Presence.
    • The subject of Transfiguration is combined: with an episode from the Gospels (the healing of a possessed boy) in the lower part of the painting, and Jesus surrounded by light shown in the sky above the scene.
  • Leonardo da Vinci:
    • The Last Supper depicts Christ amidst the 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.
  • 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 the nativity through Jesus' temptation, ministry, death, and resurrection.
  • Let's just say that "strong contender for the most influential person in history" does definitely extend to "strong contender for the most influential person on art" - all through the history of art since Jesus' time. See the image links tab for some examples from different styles and times (and of course the other wiki for thousands more).

    Comic Books 
  • Jesus is a recurring character in Ghost Rider, always there to help Johnny Blaze through some of his toughest spots. Interestingly, he is never referred to by name because Johnny can't bring himself to admit who he is.

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm: an average-looking distant cousin of Harry's named Joshua very occasionally appears to Harry as an obscure mentor figure. He's kind, wise, and quite dry-witted (it is speculated that Thor and Loki were a bad influence on him, though some wonder if it wasn't the other way around), and Harry is unsurprisingly floored when he realises who he is.
    Harry: Jesus fucking Christ!
  • The Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "Smurfed Behind: The Passion Of The Smurfs", where the time-traveling Smurfs appear during the final week of Jesus' life before His crucifixion.
  • Mentioned in A History of Magic as being an Anomaly-a human who awakened their magical powers without the intervention of the Incubators-and therefore was considered a threat to said Incubators, as an Anomaly powerful enough could cause a Mass Super-Empowering Event. It's why they arranged for him to be crucified. It was believed that Mary Magdalene contracte to become a Puella Magi with resurrecting him as her wish, but Kyubey discovered that 2B had covered up that she had been an Anomaly as well.



  • Messiah by George Frederic Handel, an oratorio in three sections, depicting the prophesy of the coming Messiah, the Passion, and Resurrection, respectively. The page quote gets its own chorus, with Melismatic Vocals out the wazoo, as was common in Handel's time.
  • The Seven Last Words of Christ, an orchestral suite (later arranged into a string quartet, and then an oratorio) by Joseph Haydn, is a musical depiction of the seven last utterances of Jesus before His death on the cross.

     Mythology and Religion 
  • The Bible, of course.
    • The Four Gospels are specifically about Jesus' life, death, and resurrection.
    • In Acts of the Apostles, he appears 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.



  • 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.

     Web Comics 
  • Shortpacked!: In an attempt to stir up some controversy and make more profit, Galasso decides to resurrect Jesus and have him work at the titular store.
    Galasso: I brought back the historical Jesus Christ.
    Ethan: [Spit Take]

     Western Animation 
  • The Miracle Maker, a stop-motion film told through the eyes of a Delicate and Sickly Jewish 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 Night the Animals Talked : Another retelling of the Nativity told from the perspective of various animals. Baby Jesus’ face isn’t shown as it’s only alluded by a bright light coming from the manger.
  • 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.
  • The Small One: His birth is alluded to at the end of the film as the donkey know as The Small One is purchased by Joseph to cary his pregnant wife to Bethlehem.
  • The 2011 animated film The Lion of Judah is set during the final days of Jesus' life on Earth and ends with his resurrection moments before Mary Magdalene, Salome, and Mary get notified by an angel that Jesus has risen. It's mainly focused on a baby lamb named "Judah", whose mission is to "Set people free" by rescuing animals (such as lambs and doves) from being killed. After Jesus dies on the cross, the temple where Judah is close to being killed suddenly cracks during an earthquake and sets him free. Judah is determined to finally meet Jesus despite dying on the cross. The animals attempt to lure Judah away from Jesus' tomb, but he is determined to see him and decides to wait three days. On the morning of his resurrection, he finally meets Judah and reunites with the main animal characters before leaving Earth. note  This film is also the most kid-friendly re-telling of Jesus' crucifixion and ends on a much happier note compared to other adaptations (notably The Last Temptation of Christ, The Passion of the Christ, and Jesus Christ Superstar) alongside the removal of blood leading up to his death (such as cutting away to the animals reactions to Jesus getting whipping and nailed on the cross).

For more tropes that describe Jesus, try the character page for The Four Gospels.
See also the Useful Notes pages for Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Gnosticism.

Not to be confused with the manga Jesus, about a hitman-turned-teacher.

Alternative Title(s): Christ, Jesus Christ