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.


III  4   Jesus and the ideal of monarchy

Jesus, Antipas’ friend and governor, wanted the king to have a strong position at the cost of the Jewish elite.

Caesarea Maritima, Roman theatre
Caesarea Maritima, Roman theatre

He favoured the imitatio Augusti, a monarchy based on the Augustan model of the ruling system.

Jesus built Tiberias, Antipas’ new capital city, as a model city for his ideal of monarchic rule in which the local elite participated in power representation, as in Rome, but not in the real exercise of power, and where the lower classes were socially secured and supported the system.