I think enlightened souls are born at crucial moments in human history, for within them lives specific knowledge necessary for that period of human understanding, the world observes and still learns. How does one explain Plato, Bach, Buddha, Einstein, and thousands of others, what gives birth to such people?
In my own studies on religion, I´ve drawn a line observing the spiritual man, - the "enlightened man" - or the chosen man of the scriptures and this man according to his time: from Adam, to Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon,... Jesus. Jesus as evident epitome of this man, and no longer man, nor "enlightened" but simultaneously Son of God and Son of Man. Conditioned to human form and law, yet whose spiritual conciliation goes far beyond anything we´ve ever seen, cause and effect no longer governs.
So what does this mean for every other mortal?
From rebirth to resurrection, the legacy left by two of the "last", and in my eyes, most important spiritual figures that have imprinted their life and soul on this earth.
Siddhārtha Gautama and Jesus Christ.
What both achieved is done in defeat of the shadow of our imminent physical death and the suffering it implies.
The endless cylce of birth and death.
Samsara is governed by cause and effect, by karma and dharma. Karma is simply a lesson imparted by life that has not been learned hence leaves one in a state of ignorance, and dharma being a lesson already learned - produces knowledge. When one has the fruit of knowledge one may act firmly and with an extended parameter, when one has the fruit of ignorance one is left to wander limited terrain... Life will continue to try and teach us certain lessons over and over again until we uncover significance. Though both ignorance and knowledge produce suffering.
Freedom from suffering.
Buddha attained Nirvana freeing the physical body from physical bondage, cleansing the soul and liberating the body through this transparent self-soul.
Christ made free the spirit through the Spirit, in spiritual chronology the body by way of Buddha was already free, was no longer bound to Samsara. (Buddha lived about 500 years before Christ.) What this implies, "making the spirit free by the Spirit" is this: the law of spiritual cause and effect is undone. Humans may no longer assume to be superior to others by their actions, karma and dharma are tools instead of burden. The preamble is that man felt superior to others for practicing apparent exterior "holiness", "cleanliness", "impeccability" but was everything but- inwardly, this movement became automatic and shallow without honest intent and had only cultivated grounds for segregation. The body may live by physical cause and effect, but the Spirit becomes integrated to its true and simpler nature: Grace, Love. Through Grace man is made equal in the eyes of God and in the eyes of man.
Through Jesus´s example we may come to understand one of its pillars: Resurrection. How man passes from wandering and incessant rebirth, cessation of suffering, into resurrection. Christ died a mortal death to defeat Death, this "Death" with a capital D is the shadow I mentioned earlier. It is the illusion of Death while man is still alive, it is his proclivity to something he is not, it is his escape from life because his suffering is too great and he has not yet understood and been made free from suffering. Christ is said to have died "for our sins", the cross being the symbol of suffering, of human betrayal to the gift of life, to me an atrocious mirror of the worst we´re capable of doing to any other man or to ourselves. Even though we crucified a man who professed Love and goodness, he never wavered this Love, He gave it freely and equitably, thus exemplifying the first human reference to PERFECT Love, unconditioned Love, a Love only before known by God. Humanity had not been ready until this moment. This resurrection means to be born of God, and in God, and us to find this same life in Him and through Him.
This isn´t an invite to die for Love, that´s already been done, just a picture of the little or a lot we´re able to give towards Love or hate. In an extreme but subtle way one requires life the other death.
If one gets the depth, (s)/he may understand why Christians believe Christ is the way unto God. There are many many others, but none direct, others will require you overcoming your physical self which is physically impossible. When people are still fighting over ridiculous religious truth, I believe in freedom to learn and unity, everything works hand in hand with the other, to pave a path that may be solid from a personal and faithful conviction- where roots grow in a profound yet organic manner, to question and challenge human doctrine because it is full of error, to be empathic with this same doctrine for we are everything but perfect.
"Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's."
If our heart is true, we will not only find Truth, but live by it.