My Christian background taught me that the main message of Jesus was how to escape hell and get to heaven. Over the years, after studying and knowing Jesus and his words, I'm more in line with what N.T. Wright, in Simply Jesus, writes:
"It will not do to suppose that Jesus came to teach people `how to get to heaven.' That view has been immensely popular in Western Christianity for many generations, but it simply won't do. The whole point of Jesus's public career was not to tell people that God was in heaven and that, at death, they could leave "earth" behind and go to be with him there. It was to tell them that God was now taking charge, right here on `earth.'"
Wright is right. This is good news!