I stopped looking for the historical Jesus years ago. Here is a list of all we “know” about Jesus from sources outside the Bible:

1. There was a man named Jesus.

2. Jesus had a brother named James.

3. A man named Jesus was crucified.

4. Jesus was later called “Christ” by his followers.

The rest of what we know about the historical Jesus comes from the devotional writings of his followers, most of whom never met him. When scholars say they are studying the historical Jesus, what they really mean is they are studying the historical background  of the literature of scripture. Looking for the historical Jesus by studying the Bible is like looking for the historical Achilles based on the writings of Homer.

This is not to say Jesus has been lost to us. Scripture is a witness, but it is witness to truths of the human condition, not a witness to history. Perhaps that is why the four gospel writers made no attempt to correct the discrepancies in their historical narratives. The historical Jesus must die for the living Christ to be born. The truth of the gospel is as stark as the verdict of history: if we do not find Christ in the face of our neighbor, we do not find Christ at all.