Jesus is a name that everyone in Europe, America and Australia has heard about. Whether you come from a christian background or not, we get some associations with that name. Some of us associate with anger or contempt, others with yearning, wonder, trust, joy.
When we go in bookstores and look at alternative literature, we find all sorts of books about Jesus. It’s proclaimed he was a Buddhist, new-ager, the ancestor of the French Merovingians and an extraterrestrial. It’s pherhaps flattering many want to be assosiated with his name, and make him their own. At least it show how much influence he’s had. Though as credible history we find much garbage and wild speculations. It is striking how Jesus is fitting the author’s own philosophy, worldview and mood.
Sometimes we can see “revelations” in the newspaper about Jesus actually being born in year zero, that he didn’t lie in a wooden stable when born, and that there weren’t three wise men. But all this is old news; The Bible only talk about some sages. We’ve long known Jesus was born between 4 and 7 bc. The wrong calculation came from the Syrian monk Dionysius who miscalculated the year of birth.
Jesus, or Joshua as pherhaps would be more correct, was a jew who lived over 2,000 years ago. He came from a poor family, and died before he was forty years. He was crucified as criminals were within the Roman Empire at the time. There’re almost to wonder that his name still evokes such strong connotations today. Many people even today choose a faith in him to be the most important thing in their lives. So it’s natural to be curious as to why.
We know Jesus lived 2000 years ago, and has affected many people. But who was or is he really? Many agree that Jesus was a good man, profound philosopher or a good role model, but was he more? He spoke with an authority that broke radically with the traditions “You have heard … but I say to you …”. He included people that society would reject (prostitutes, thieves and other). So ok, he was a rebel. But there have been many rebels, so why honor the guy for more than two thousand years?
Jesus reinforced the message of love. We would all do well against our friends, but he demanded that we should love the “enemies, and do good to them that hate you.” Radical stuff. A little bit more to chew on, than the typical “eye-for-an-eye” we almost instinctively resort to in our own lives. He did not only up the moral demands, but the written accounts indicate he lived his life after this Codex as well. In a world where there are too many examples of double standards, not only from politicians or clergy, but also our own lives, I think he deserve plus point for living as he preached.
He didn’t only speak about loving your enemies, but himself forgave those who long tormented, mocked and eventually killed him. He not only encouraged christians to be ready to give up their life, he followed it to its extreme consequence. That’s pretty hefty, especially considering how easy he could have avoided the suffering and death. 
Jesus thus seem to have been a wise man who lived as he taught. But was he something more? Jesus himself claimed this. He claimed he alone was the way to God, that he could save people and give them eternal life, and even that he was God! The “problem” then is as C. S. Lewis pointed out; if we don’t believe Jesus is God, then he would have been am extreme liar, totally insane or a demon?! It’s odd to reconcile this alternatives with the fact he was a wise man With high integrity and moral standard. We oftem willingly create our “own” Jesus, but when we take what he said seriously, it seem like he was either a tragic or terrible individual – or the Lord he claimed to be!
Another strange phenomenon around Jesus is this: If he lied, why did he accept horrible torture and death? He can simply have been a megalomaniac, but why the disciples follow him in death several years after? They could only have renounced he was God instead of sufferingbestial executions. If, as some have speculated, the diciples somehow managed to remove the body of Jesus, then they knew it was not true that he rose again. Why then devote the rest of their life to spread the lie about him and then die for it?
* Jesus is a Greek shorthand for the Aramaic “Yehoshua” or “Joshua” and means “Javhe (God’s name) saves”
* The oldest sources we have about Jesus is from the book of Acts and the Gospels. Notable non-Christian testimony he comes from Flavius Josephus (Jewish historian 37-100) who wrote about a Jesus as a wise man who was crucified by Pontius Pilate, Cornelius Tacitus (55-115 historian) write the same and dates it to around AD 30. Suetonius (Roman historian wrote in 120 of “Chrestus” that created unrest and disturbed relations between Jews and Romans under Pilate his time as governor.
* Jesus was born about four years before the year zero and killed 33 year old .. Mary and Joseph had four sons and at least two daughters.
1] To be hung naked on a wooden cross, then suffocate when the body could no longer hold up, was a common method of execution in rome empire which at that time had dominion in Israel. This method was used in relation to what was regarded as more serious crimes, and this was a totally honorless way to die primarily used at non-Roman citizens. Crucifixion acted as a combination of humiliation, torture and execution at the same time.