Identifying the actual Jesus is both evasive and allusive. Still, many attempt to articulate his beliefs, teachings and personality.
I'm no exception.
I suspect Jesus was sired by a gentile and birthed by the Jewish woman identified in the gospels as Mary. His appearance alone would have been sufficient to make Jesus aware of his bi-ethnicity from an early age. Given the patriarchialism inherent to Judaism, Jesus would have encountered a sense of exclusion from his religious culture. Such was made evident when he embraced the bi-ethnic Samaritans by conversing with the woman at the well, noting the most righteous of the ten lepers was a Samaritan and crafting a parable that praised the good Samaritan at the expense of a Jewish Levite and priest.
In short, Jesus was compelled to be a free thinker by virtue of his genetic anomaly. What's more, he likely possessed a superior intellect and charismatic personality that are typical of most successful cult leaders.
If it were possible to bring Jesus back from the dead, I suppose he would be astonished at the phenomenal success of his religion over the past twenty centuries. He would be amused that anyone would deduce that he was God or believe he rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. He would be appalled that wars were fought in his name and, if the Temple cleansing event offers a valid indication of his temperament, outraged at the advent of televangelism, commercialization of Christian publishing and audacity of selling tickets to gospel music concerts.
Jesus, in my humble opinion, was a credible idealist whose teachings bear merit, at least in part. If it were possible to be a Christian atheist, I would be that person. I find impish enjoyment in applying the virtues taught by Jesus; particularly in the company of true believers whose self-centeredness defies their professed beliefs. (When I was a pastor I referred to this phenomenon as "practical atheism.")
There are some, however, who are not as accommodating. It is there belief that Jesus was an arrogant, self-serving, obnoxious jackass.
Who are these folks who deride the historical Jesus?
Consider that the term Christian is often described as meaning "Christ like" or "like Jesus." Professing Christians, then, effectively state that they are like Jesus. If one wonders what Jesus was like, observe the behavior of Christians. When a Christian behaves like a jackass, he or she is effectively stating, "Jesus was a jackass."
I disagree and hold the historical Jesus in much higher esteem.
— David Stone