Yesterday, we learned about God’s greatest creation – angels and humans – and how we lost the chance to go to Heaven. But, remember, God was going to send us a savior. Today, on this third day, we will learn about Our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Come O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit, O Lord, and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.
+ Amen +
God wanted us to be with Him in eternal joy in Heaven. But the devil tempted our first parents and we all lost Sanctifying Grace and inherited Original Sin, meaning we could not go to Heaven.
To free us from sin and reopen the gates of Heaven, God sent to the world His Own beloved Son, Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the second person of the Holy Trinity. He put aside His divinity and chose to become human like us so that He could save us.
Jesus’ Early Life
Over 2000 years ago, there was a young and holy virgin named Mary. All of us are born with Original Sin, but Mary was the only person born without Original Sin and we call this belief the Immaculate Conception.
One of God’s angels, St. Gabriel, visited Mary and told her that she was chosen to become the Mother of God. Mary responded, “Let it be done to me according to thy word.” Then, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary became pregnant with Jesus Christ. This happened on Annunciation Day (March 25th).
Nine months later, Jesus was born in a tiny village called Bethlehem on Christmas Day (December 25th).
The husband of Mary was St. Joseph and so Joseph became the guardian and foster father of Jesus.
When Jesus was still a baby, 3 Magi from the East visited Him and gave Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The gold represented Him being king, the frankincense represented Him being a priest, and the myrrh represented His death.
At the same time, King Herod wanted to kill baby Jesus, so Joseph took Mary and Jesus and escaped to Egypt. Sadly, King Herod killed many children in order to find Jesus. We remember the death of these children on the Feast of the Holy Innocents (December 28th).
After Herod died, Joseph brought his family back to Israel and moved to Nazareth in Galilee. Joseph was a carpenter and so Jesus worked as a carpenter as well when He grew up. Jesus stayed there with His parents until He was about 30 years old.
At 30 years old, Jesus began His ministry. He proclaimed the coming of the Kingdom of God and our salvation, healed many people through wondrous miracles and lived the perfect virtuous life.
During His ministry, He raised people from the dead, made the blind see, the deaf hear, the mute speak and the crippled whole. He also exorcised demons out of people who were possessed.
There were many people who followed Him and many others who needed His help. So, of the disciples that followed Him, He chose for Himself twelve and made them Apostles to help Him.
Jesus’ Passion and Death
Jesus had come into the world to save us. After spending 3 years teaching, healing and living the perfect virtuous life, at 33 years old, He knew His hour to save us had finally arrived.
And to save us, Jesus had to die for us.
On Holy Thursday, Jesus and the 12 Apostles celebrated the Last Supper in Jerusalem. That night, they departed to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. Standing a short distance away, Jesus began to pray and He suffered such intense agony that He sweated blood.
At the same time, Judas Iscariot, one of the 12 Apostles, betrayed Jesus to the Jewish authorities. When Jesus finished praying, He was arrested by the authorities and was beaten, spat upon and thrown into jail.
The mother of Jesus, Mary, came to know about this and went to Jerusalem to find her son.
The next day, on Good Friday, Jesus was taken to Pontius Pilate, the governor of Judea. Though Pontius Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent, He still had Him scourged at the pillar. This was not enough for the Jewish authorities, so Pontius Pilate then condemned Jesus to die by crucifixion.
Before the crucifixion, the Roman soldiers put a crown of thorns on His head and mocked Him. Then, they made Him carry a heavy cross to a place called Golgatha. On the way there, a man named Simon of Cyrene helped Him carry His heavy cross; and Mary was there also following close by grieving for her son.
Finally, when they reached Golgatha, they placed Jesus on the Cross and hammered nails into His hands and His feet to hold Him onto the Cross. They lifted the Cross up until it stood straight up and they let Him hang there for all to see and mock.
It was 12 pm in the afternoon. Mary, His dear mother, had seen His trial and the carrying of the cross, and suffered most dreadfully as she saw her beloved Son die slowly on the Cross.
At 3 pm, Jesus knew He was about to die and He saw there before Him His mother and His disciple, John. He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son.” Then He said to the disciple “Behold your mother.”
Then Jesus gave up His spirit and died.
Why did Jesus have to die to save us?
When Adam and Eve sinned, they sinned against our perfectly good God, meaning that the punishment for sin was eternal death. God is perfectly just, so His justice had to be carried out.
But, God is also perfectly merciful, and He did not want us to die. He loved us and wanted us to be with Him in Heaven.
So, instead of us paying for our sin, He sent His own beloved Son, Jesus, to pay for our sin. This is why Jesus had to die to save us.
Jesus loved us so much that He came into the world, went to the Cross and died just so He could bring us home to Heaven.
And because Jesus is perfect and perfectly innocent, when He died, His death settled God’s justice for all of humanity and reopened the gates of Heaven so that we too could go to Heaven.
What we must remember
- Sin is so evil that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, had to suffer and die to save us. We must try to avoid sin all our lives.
- Jesus Christ suffered and died for us because He wanted to save us. And He wanted to save us because He loved us so much. We must love Jesus in return.
- Jesus died to save all of humanity, including those who insulted and killed Him. Just as He forgave His enemies, we must also forgive our enemies.
- Simon of Cyrene helped Jesus carry His cross. We too must carry our crosses in life and follow Jesus.
- Jesus lived with Mother Mary for most of His life, and at the end of His life, He gave her to be our mother as well. We must always stay close to the heart of our Mother, Mary.
But, Jesus’s death is not the end. A great miracle occurred, and we will learn about that tomorrow.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why was Mary immaculately conceived when the rest of us are born with Original Sin? Because God wanted a perfectly pure person to give birth to His Son.1
- Why didn’t God just forgive our sins? Why did death have to be the solution? Because God is perfectly just and will not go against His nature. Justice must be served and the punishment of sin was death. Further, God did not need to save us, but He wanted to save us because of how much He loved us. Since God knew that the punishment was death, He chose to die Himself than have us die. This both the mercy and justice of God was made known. At the same time, it was better this way because if God had just pardoned us, then we would not learn how evil sin was, we would not learn how much God loved us, we would not in turn love God and we would not be motivated to become saints.