(2.) A Jewish Christian surnamed Justus (Col. 4:11).
Je’sus, the proper, as Christ is the official, name of our Lord. To distinguish him from others so called, he is spoken of as “Jesus of Nazareth” (John 18:7), and “Jesus the son of Joseph” (John 6:42).
This is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua, which was originally Hoshea (Num. 13:8, 16), but changed by Moses into Jehoshua (Num. 13:16; 1 Chr. 7:27), or Joshua. After the Exile it assumed the form Jeshua, whence the Greek form Jesus. It was given to our Lord to denote the object of his mission, to save (Matt. 1:21).
The life of Jesus on earth may be divided into two great periods, (1) that of his private life, till he was about thirty years of age; and (2) that of his public life, which lasted about three years.
In the “fulness of time” he was born at Bethlehem, in the reign of the emperor Augustus, of Mary, who was betrothed to Joseph, a carpenter (Matt. 1:1; Luke 3:23; comp. John 7:42). His birth was announced to the shepherds (Luke 2:8–20). Wise men from the east came to Bethlehem to see him who was born “King of the Jews,” bringing gifts with them (Matt. 2:1–12). Herod’s cruel jealousy led to Joseph’s flight into Egypt with Mary and the infant Jesus, where they tarried till the death of this king (Matt. 2:13–23), when they returned and settled in Nazareth, in Lower Galilee (2:23; comp. Luke 4:16; John 1:46, etc.). At the age of twelve years he went up to Jerusalem to the Passover with his parents. There, in the temple, “in the midst of the doctors,” all that heard him were “astonished at his understanding and answers” (Luke 2:41, etc.).
Eighteen years pass, of which we have no record beyond this, that he returned to Nazareth and “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52).
He entered on his public ministry when he was about thirty years of age. It is generally reckoned to have extended to about three years. “Each of these years had peculiar features of its own. (1.) The first year may be called the year of obscurity, both because the records of it which we possess are very scanty, and because he seems during it to have been only slowly emerging into public notice. It was spent for the most part in Judea. (2.) The second year was the year of public favour, during which the country had become thoroughly aware of him; his activity was incessant, and his frame rang through the length and breadth of the land. It was almost wholly passed in Galilee. (3.) The third was the year of opposition, when the public favour ebbed away. His enemies multiplied and assailed him with more and more pertinacity, and at last he fell a victim to their hatred. The first six months of this final year were passed in Galilee, and the last six in other parts of the land.”, Stalker’s Life of Jesus Christ, p. 45.
The only reliable sources of information regarding the life of Christ on earth are the Gospels, which present in historical detail the words and the work of Christ in so many different aspects. (See CHRIST.)