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What is Christianity?



What is Christianity?
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.13

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    charismatic, incarnation, moneychangers, savior, sinner, tyranny, sins, precocious, salvation, virgin, nativity, marketplace, outright, resurrection, controversial, best
     content words:    Jesus Christ, Roman Empire, Old Testament, When Jesus, Judas Iscariot, Many Christians, Other Bible, Jewish Bible, New Testament, Holy Communion


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What is Christianity?
By Colleen Messina
  

1     If you found a time machine, traveled back to the first century A.D., and landed in Judea, you might hear about a man who could reportedly walk on water. According to the locals, this man was either a great teacher or an outright rebel. Jesus Christ was the most controversial person in the Roman Empire! Christianity, the world's largest religion, is based on his teachings.
 
2     The story of Jesus' birth is the story of Christmas. According the Bible, the angel Gabriel appeared to a Jewish woman named Mary. Although she was a virgin, the angel told her that she was going to have a baby who would be the Messiah. This was startling news! Jews had hoped that a savior, or Messiah, would come to free them from Roman tyranny. The baby Jesus is traditionally shown with his parents, Mary and Joseph, in a stable full of animals. Angels hover brightly above. Shepherds stand close by. This "nativity scene" is often set up during Christmastime.
 
3     We don't know many details about Jesus' life. We don't even know what he looked like. Christians believe that Jesus was a precocious young man who thought of God as his Father. He became a carpenter, but his wisdom exceeded his years. He even explained the Old Testament scriptures to the wise men of the temple when he was only 12! When Jesus turned 30, he gathered a band of disciples, and he began preaching, teaching, and healing. He left no writings behind except symbols in the sand, but his disciples loved him so much that they left their homes to follow him.
 
4     Jesus had a riveting message. He taught that people needed to repent, or ask for forgiveness for their sins. He taught about love and the Kingdom of God. However, he didn't always teach quietly. Sometimes, he shouted. Sometimes, he did surprising things, even in the holiest place in Jerusalem.

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