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Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

A Short Course on Christianity

by Rev. Fr. Joseph T. Hilinski
Interfaith Director, The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland


Christianity is a religion of historical revelation. In our history, God acts and makes himself known. In this Jesus he has made himself known. From the original gathering of Jews who affirmed him to be the anointed one, Messiah or in Greek the Christ, has come the religion for almost one out of every three people on the earth. The title of Christ, the Greek version of Messiah, is weighted with importance as the special agent of God in the Old Testament. It would be used to indicate a particular person who would come from God to be the one to restore God's kingdom to the world. Christians applied this title of Christ to Jesus of Nazareth with special reference to the manner of his suffering, death and resurrection and thereby move beyond the more customary Messiah who would be a ruler and leader of armies to defeat the occupying force of the Romans and restore the Kingdom of Israel. 

Jesus Christ is not a first and last name. Jesus Christ is short form of proclamation; Jesus is the Christ, Jesus is the anointed one sent by God for our salvation. To hear "Jesus Christ" as a word for disappointment or cursing or anger is one of the most offensive things for Christians, for us Jesus is the Christ and that is Good News not bad news!


In addition to the Redemption Jesus won on the cross for humanity, his relationship to all of humanity is understood under the teaching of the INCARNATION. Incarnation is not to be confused with reincarnation-which is part of the ongoing cycle of existence as understood in some of the Asian religions. Incarnation is the historical taking of a human existence by the Divine Being, living it out, dying in it and lifting up all human existence to a new mode of being. So in Jesus the divinity of the unseen God takes up the totality of a human existence so as to change and alter the apparent direction of human life from suffering and extinction to life eternal in God's love. This is the message that the Christian believes and wishes to share with the entire human race.

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