The short answer is that Jesus was a person who lived some 2000 years ago, who claimed to be one with God, which led to his rejection by the Jewish people and crucifixion by the Roman Empire. That answer would then go on to say that his followers claimed he rose from the dead and appeared to thousands of people before disappearing (in human form) from history.
Taking this historical perspective, this leads to another question… why should I bother to engage with the narratives of Jesus? For Christians:
- We believe that Jesus lived, died and rose again, and so we say 'who is Jesus?' not 'who was Jesus?'
- We believe that Jesus was more than just a profound teacher and miracle worker …
- We believe that Jesus was more than a social and religious revolutionary …
- We believe that Jesus reveals the heart of God for us because he is truly God and truly human.
That doesn’t mean that we are oblivious (or ignorant) to suffering in our own lives or in the lives of people around us. Suffering and pain are very real and very powerful. But what we believe is that through faith in who Jesus is and what he has done, God fills us with a freedom and hope that enables us to live complete, abundant lives, free from shame and guilt. In fact, that is what Jesus promised. He said “I have come that you may have life. Life in all its fullness.” (From the Bible, John 10:10)