Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and the Messiah, or saviour, of the Jews, as foretold in the Old Testament. He was the leader of one of several sects of Jews present at that time in history, and his death by crucifixion signified his supreme sacrifice to ensure their personal salvation and the redemption of all mankind. After his death, Christ was resurrected and is presently in Heaven at the right hand of God.
The historically divine attributes of Jesus are attested to in a series of four gospels, assembled from oral accounts and composed shortly after the crushing Roman defeat of a Jewish revolt several decades after his crucifixion.
Beyond these sources, no evidence is available to support the proposition that Jesus rose from the dead or performed any true miracles. Several independent sources, however, may support the view that there was a charismatic Jewish leader early in the first century CE, referred to in the Latinized form “Christus”.
With respect to modern claims of Jesus’ continued role in our salvation, no evidence for his continued existence has been discovered, and no miracles attributed to him can yet be verified by any objective, rational means.
Jesus was a man who lived 2000 years ago. The best modern archaeology and scholarship indicates that Jesus’ life was characterized by a volatile social, economic and political environment resulting from the subjugation of the Jews by Roman authorities and landowners. Jesus was the leader of one of several sects competing for the favour of Jewish believers during his time, and being called “King of the Jews” earned him the watchfulness and disfavour of local Roman officials. The eagerness of the Romans to suppress any possible threats to the Pax Romana earned Jesus his eventual crucifixion – a common method of dealing with socially disruptive individuals in the region.
Only claims of his supposed and unsupported resurrection from the dead elevated Jesus above the many lower-level social and religious charismatics who were common in Galilee and Judaea during his time. If Christianity hadn’t become the only Jewish sect that eventually allowed non-Jews to convert, it is doubtful that the life of Jesus would have gone on to influence Western civilization to the degree that it has.