Jesus was born in Bethlehem, a few miles away from Jerusalem, the capital city of Israel. He grew up with Mary and Joseph as his parents, working as a carpenter in Joseph's workshop. When he was about 30 years old he gathered together a team of friends who became known as his disciples and travelled around Israel, telling people about God's love and doing amazing things - like making sick people better!

The political and religious leaders didn't really like him, and tried to get rid of him. They made bad things up about him, gave him an unfair trial, and had him executed like a common criminal.

He died in his early thirties, less than ten miles from where he was born... but that was not the end of the story!

Jesus - The special one

In many ways, Jesus was just like any other Jewish person born a long time ago. He ate and drank, got tired after a hard day's work, was sometimes tempted to do bad things (though he never gave in!) and slept like a log even in a boat on rough seas.

But in many other ways he was different. Angels sang when he was born and his mum was clear that his real father was God, not Joseph! Hundreds of sick people were made well - even a few dead people were brought back to life. Most people swam in the sea but Jesus showed he could walk on top of it!

His teaching was amazingly wise and millions of people are still following it 2,000 years later! He claimed to be the only way to discover what God was like.

Many of his friends thought he was so special they believed that not only was he a very wonderful human being... but actually God himself!

Jesus - What he said

Jesus was sometimes called 'Rabbi', which means teacher, because of the way he spoke about things which were important to people. He taught like someone who knew his subject well and really believed in what he was saying. Jesus often used 'parables', which are stories with a meaning, to get his message across. He could be funny, blunt and surprising - he was a brilliant communicator.

He often took 'the kingdom of God' as his theme. Jesus told those who would listen, that God wants what he says to affect every area of our lives. Our families, our attitudes, our priorities... nothing in our lives should be outside what God wants for us.

Jesus saved some of his strongest teaching for those who he felt were pretending - he hated it when people only wanted to look good to others! He saved some of his kindest words for those who were sad, sick and rejected.

His teaching still affects millions of people all over the world.

Jesus - At the end of his life

Two very important events took place at the end of Jesus's life. He died as a criminal when he was executed by the Roman authorities... and three days later came back to life!

Christians celebrate these two events at Easter - Good Friday when he died, and Easter Sunday when he came back to life. Jesus's death had a special purpose - he gave his life to show us how much God loves us.

Jesus died with two thieves, and was buried in a tomb borrowed from somebody else. His family and friends were very sad.

But, after three days of being dead, he came back to life again! Many people saw him alive - he was a real person, not a ghost. And he is still alive today! Making a difference in the lives of all those who love and trust him; those who have asked Jesus to become their friend.

Becoming a friend of Jesus!

Jesus is still changing people today - 2000 years after he lived on earth. His message of love and hope still gets people excited today, just as it did when he first told people how much God loves them. He had close friends when he was here - people like Peter, James and John - and many people have become friends with him since.

You can find out more about becoming a friend of Jesus by reading the Bible, going to church and talking to someone who is a friend of Jesus. Perhaps you could pray, which just means talking to Jesus, asking to be his friend, saying you are sorry for the wrong things you have done. Tell him you want to be his friend now and always.

Don't worry about the fact that you can't see him! You can't see the air you breathe but it is real. In fact, Jesus is more real than anyone, or anything, else.

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