V  3  Jesus – the message

The dominant master narrative concerning Jesus’ message states that Jesus was impressed by John the Baptist’s preaching

Jerusalem, Jewish family
Jerusalem, Jewish family

about repentance. In his own pronouncements, however, he proclaimed a loving God full of grace whose kingdom would soon be realised, bringing equal rights for all people; it could already be experienced in the community of the disciples.

These are my theses about Jesus’ message:

Jesus was a Jewish statesman; he was Prince Antipas’ governor and shaped Galilean politics. He viewed religion simply as a supplementary measure to safeguard economic and political developments.

Jesus imitated Emperor Augustus’ form of rule in his political work (imitation Augusti) and aimed to organise society around a monarchy.

Jesus aimed for a monarchy in Galilee headed by a Jewish monarch, a Messiah. This monarch, this Messiah, could only be the ruling Jewish prince; for Jesus, therefore, this was Antipas.


In the early 30s Jesus’ situation as governor at Prince Antipas’ court became more difficult. Then it came to an open conflict.

Yad Vashem, olive tree
Yad Vashem, olive tree

On 18 October 31 AD in Rome, the equestrian Sejanus, Emperor Tiberius’ delegate, was deposed and immediately executed on the emperor’s orders.

This happened because Sejanus had sought a familiar link to the imperial family and was suspected of aiming to succeed the emperor. This made Jesus’ position less safe, as his position in Galilee was similar to that of Sejanus in Rome.


The stories about Jesus’ appearances after the Resurrection in Matt. 28 show Jesus in the typical situation of a governor

Jerusalem, Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Jerusalem, Church of the Holy Sepulchre

at the morning audience. Jesus and the angels appear – like the governor – dressed in white linen; the people approach them with their concerns and wishes. Jesus shows both nearness and distance.

Raimund Schulz writes the following on the significance of the governor’s morning audience (Herrschaft und Regierung, p. 108f):

“To be surrounded every morning by a large crowd seeking advice and help – this too was a sign of (the governor’s) prestige and power. It gave the aristocratic ruler legitimacy … “