Jesus and the Gospels
In the early part of the first century c.e., a man named Jesus emerged from the small village of Nazareth in Galilee. This Jesus of Nazareth was a teacher and a miracle worker, and many were drawn to follow him. He began his ministry by proclaiming the nearness of God’s kingdom to his Jewish brothers and sisters, and those who became his followers understood him to be the long-awaited Jewish messiah. In order to learn more about the Jesus Movement, it is customary to start with the Gospels of the New Testament. Some of the important characters in John’s Gospel—most notably, Nicodemus, the Samaritan woman, and the mysterious “disciple whom Jesus loved”—are absent from the synoptic gospels. Jesus taught the importance of compassion and demonstrated empathy, concern, and kindness throughout his ministry. Jesus also demanded compassion from his followers, and commended those who demonstrated this quality.
The Christian Theological Tradition, 4th ed.