What would it be worth giving one’s life for? What is worth the pain of crucifixion?
Would you have given your life, surrendering yourself to a painful, shameful death, because of a conviction that God would raise you to his right hand?
What if you had no such hope regarding the afterlife, but had a vision of the future, in which, even though many would kill and hate in your name, many more than otherwise would have would seek to love their neighbor as themselves? They would all fall short, of course, but many more would try than otherwise would have. Would you give your life, without hope of a personal reward, other than knowing that because you did so, the universe for the remainder of its history would be filled with more goodness?
What would Jesus do? What would he have done if he had known that the kingdom he announced was imminent would not dawn in the way he expected, but would nonetheless take hold in the hearts of human beings, and inspire goodness down the ages?