The focus of Christian Orthodoxy as far as Jesus is concerned has always been on the importance of specific events in his life and not on what he taught. Therefore a basic tenet of Christianity is that a Christian must affirm the historical veracity of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection because those events are the basis for the significance of Jesus. His importance lies in the fact that he experienced each of these essential elements in his physical life, thereby correcting the sin issue which had forced God to reject humanity.
There is a powerful and much more transformative way to focus on Jesus and to see the part that his death, burial, and resurrection played in his divine mission on earth. This new way places the emphasis on what Jesus taught about sin, God, humanity’s place in the divine plan, our relationship with one another, and how to live abundantly. In this view, what Jesus did, his lifestyle, his dealings with the people, and ultimately his submission to the indignity and suffering of death simply served to demonstrate his commitment to the life principles he taught. His resurrection becomes a symbol for the life changing transformation which is possible when one begins to internalize the ethics and instructions of Jesus.
Once you realize that the teachings of Jesus, his commandments, like the Golden Rule, are the crux of the Gospel, then you forget the notion that Jesus somehow changed things so God could accept some people back into fellowship. God was just fine before Jesus; mankind’s belief system was what needed changing.
Jesus said, in effect, that the old Judaic law system was a fraud. It never transformed the Jews for the better and effectively drove a wedge between God and man, at least in terms of human perception. The law turned every man into a divine reject and fostered all kinds of self righteous evil in the name of godliness. It was the rotten fruit of the Tree of Knowledge in spades. Living in accordance with this system was simply the perpetuation of the original sin, making sinfulness more abundant and apparent to the observant.
The law may have been there to bring us unto Christ, as Paul said in Galatians 3, but the church has never let go of the law as the vehicle for righteousness before God. All their emphasis on obedience and right rituals and doctrine show as much. They tout John 14:15, If ye love me keep my commandments, endlessly but never pay much attention to what Jesus actually taught and commanded, like the universal equality of sinfulness, the Golden Rule, humility, private not public prayer, non judgment, and self sacrifice.
Instead the church likes to see big sins in others, while ignoring their own of equal magnitude. They want to flaunt their righteousness at every opportunity by condemning and belittling those they call unfit. They relish the power of the law, which makes them the rulers over lesser humans. Humility and self sacrifice are soundly rejected in favor of pridefulness and self promotion. The real Jesus just gets in the way of this typical Christian mindset.