The New Testament Gospels offer two different pictures of Jesus: there is Jesus of Nazareth, and then there is Jesus Christ. The distinction between these two figures is most clear in terms of time period, either before or after Easter. Most people, particularly members of the Christian tradition, are more familiar with the post-Easter Jesus Christ, the divine savior who was crucified and resurrected. But pre-Easter, Jesus of Nazareth was a historical figure, a first-century Palestinian Jew. Christ is not Jesus' surname; it is a title given to him by those who believed him to be the christos, or Messiah.
LaBrenz '06, Jennifer, "The Gospel of Thomas and the Historical Jesus" (2006). Honors Projects. Paper 10.