On the cultural and political setting in the first century, as Jesus came on the scene...
Some of the Jews, called Zealots, said, give us liberty or give us death. They hated Rome's ungodliness so much they would rather die than have to live with it. And they used the sword to advance the kingdom.
Others, the temple leaders, the Sadduccees, said Rome isn’t the enemy. They are our friend. So what if we have to have their statues up and we sprinkle incense to an emperor? Look at the roads, the baths, the running water, the tax revenue that goes through us to Rome. Eat drink and be merry!
Well, other Jews, the Essenes reacted strongly to that. Look how corrupt Israel has become. We’re starting over. And they headed for the desert to live separately and strictly, believing that their obedience would bring God’s blessing and King.
And finally there were the Pharisees who said, yes, our faithfulness will bring God’s Messiah, but we don’t have to do that in the desert; we can live in a sinful world and not be tainted by it. It’ll take a lot of strict rules, though. That is what will keep us faithful and bring in God’s kingdom.
None of these is correct as an overall view, but there are elements of truth in each. We should rather die than sin. We should celebrate cultural achievements. We should separate from corruption. We should regulate our lives by God's Word.
But above them all, we are to love God and His Christ, and love our neighbor as ourselves.