NT Wright in ‘Who was Jesus?’ makes a powerful but uncomfortable point. (quoted in some forge material)
“Twentieth-century Western Christians need to shed a few ideas…hmmmm?
When people downed their tools for a while and trudged up a hillside to hear this Jesus talking, we can be sure they weren’t going to hear someone tell them to be nice to each other; or that if they behaved themselves (or got their minds around the right theological scheme) there would be a rosy future waiting for them when they got to ‘heaven’, or that God had decided at last to do something about forgiving them for their sins. First-century Jews knew that they ought to be nice to each other…they believed that their God would look after them and give them new physical bodies in his renewed world…there was no sign that they were walking around gloomily wondering how their sins were ever going to be forgiven. They had the Temple and the sacrificial system.
If Jesus had only said what a lot of Western Christians seem to think he said, he would have been just a big yawn-maker”