This approaches the question:
Why is theology of Christianity and the subplot of Judaism rife with tales of "sacrifice as payment for sin."
And if the following natural history version of Jesus' actions is true, the life story of Jesus is even more worthy of worship or admiration, depending on your emotional makeup. It makes his story a Million Year Marker story rather than a Three Thousand Year Marker story
-- our FIRST Million Years.
It means he understood the long term, natural history context and meaning of his actions, which would be consistent with his apparently high level of understanding. While others of his time might have been to this Mountaintop of Comprehension, He was the one among those who bade persons to follow him for three years of conversation and street theater, and He was the one who rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, knowing it sealed his fate.
We know that modern civilization was partly created by the struggles of oppressed persons for a more just world.
1) Our natural inheritance, if we are descended physically from ancient hominid forms, may include brain wiring that was naturally selected for the "Tit for tat" politics of our ancestors...a behavior pattern still seen in upright walking primates. We know that primates are capable of cruelty and even gorillas, who are considered fairly genial, might be more violent if constrained in uncomfortably dense population. Please do not make any of them suffer to test this.
2) The people of the Bible had become accustomed to periods of being dominated. The group rumor mill would be alert to averting the heavy hand of punishment, even if they did not respect the unfairness of the dominators. Like islanders who purportedly appeased the volcano Gods with virgins, or early Americans who sacrificed persons on pyramidal alters, the early people in the Bible might become accustomed to obtaining "least cost" transactions with the slave bosses. If the group were found to have greatly angered an earthly King, then, to avert severe repercussions, they might quickly offer to sacrifice some of their own, in the effort to save some of their own. This could be codified and remembered in Moses' animal sacrifice codes,
since many of the Hebrew rituals are done to remember wisdom that preserved the group.
Since the legend was that God had flooded the Black Sea shore areas (or the whole world if you insist-- not important for this idea)
THEN periodically the more savvy of humankind, using the best logic they knew, would expect the heavy boot of God to fall again periodically...since they had, after all, enjoyed the things of the flesh.
So, while Jesus might have been quite rational,
not buying the superstitions of his time. And having saved the lives of prostitutes under threat of stoning while counseling them to change their ways, Jesus might also have recognized that most persons did not understand that God would sooner forgive than punish them...it was the rules of matter an energy whose inexorable attrition of their minds and bodies would make them pay for the real sins. And he saw a socio-logical higher plane of existence which could enable us to escape from some of the disadvantages of our natural history wiring with its tit-for-tat ape robotics, and taught this sociology bravely, patiently and pretty well, say even some non-believers such as Franklin and Jefferson. Jesus may have recognized he was building a programming patch or footbridge to a much higher plane to which others could walk, crawl, wriggle, or even just wish themselves...that his
fulfilling the expectations of a Messiah while srongly emphasizing the need for departure from "tit for tat" politics would accomplish this.
It is highly possible this Jesus did not fully expect to be resurrected, noting he did express some reluctance in the Garden of Gethsemane. So it is possible that he made his sacrifice believing he had permanently given his life.
So some who celebrate his life and death do not feel ashamed in the face of skepticism to
assert that HE IS RISEN. The story is that good
-- so good the Universe would do well to ccommodate it in the Natural Laws we gradually discover.