Jesus’ perspective of the future was not simply a byproduct of his divine nature, but was a result of being a student of the time period. Jesus’ three years of ministry were a culmination of cultural observation to understand the climate of the first century Jewish people (Gary, 2008). Jesus’ message of redemption was not just a call for eternal salvation (Jn. 3:16-18) in the presence of Yahweh, it was a call to a new way of living on earth for the Jewish people, and in turn the Gentiles. Much of this may have been because the political climate the Jews lived within was becoming more volatile, and God’s people were headed toward a deadly clash with the Romans who occupied them (Gary, 2008).
When Jesus began to proclaim his message of repentance because the Kingdom of God was near (Mt. 3:2), he proclaimed sanctuary to his people to remember their home was in His kingdom with all their treasures (Mt. 6:19-20), not in the glory of the Jewish nation they longed to restore. Jesus could see the rising tension between the Pharisees and the Romans as the Pharisees continuously spoke against Jews collaborating with the Romans (Gary, 2008). The cry of the Pharisees was of Jewish nationalism grounded in the Maccabean revolution of B.C. 167 that believed they could rise against Roman occupation as they did against the Seleucid Empire (DeSilva, 2004). Jesus understood there needed to be a shift in how the Jewish people saw themselves in order to survive the coming clash with the Romans.
Jesus’ message was one of love (Mt. 22:37-40), hope (Jn. 4:13-14), restoration (Mt. 6:33), and compassion (Jn. 16:33). It contrasted the message of the Romans and the established Jewish leaders in order to steer His people away from the impending destruction of the physical location they held more dearly than their own relationship with Yahweh (Gary, 2008).
Gary, J. E. (2008). The future according to Jesus: A Galilean model of foresight. Futures, 40(7), 630–642. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.futures.2007.12.004