The Ten Commandments

Why did people first believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah?

In his lifetime, Jesus of Nazareth (c. 6 B.C.–C. A.D. 30) was believed to be the Messiah for many reasons. These reasons are explained in detail in the New Testament, particularly in the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

First, Jesus was thought to have been miraculously conceived by Mary, a virgin. In Luke 2:8–20, an angel is described as having spoken to shepherds tending their fields, telling them that “in this night in the city of David, a Savior is born unto you … a Messiah, the Lord,” and goes on to say that the sign (of the Messiah) is that they will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. Also in Luke (2:36–38), a prophetess arrives and proclaims Mary’s baby to be the “child to all who were looking for the liberation of the Jews.”

Further, Jesus proclaimed himself to be the Son of God (as described, for example, in John 5:17–23). He demonstrated extraordinary healing powers, used parables to teach moral and spiritual ways, and carried a message of God’s redeeming love. All of this was convincing enough that many—mostly the common people—became disciples, or followers, of Christ during his lifetime.


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