And on the other hand, when Jesus encountered moral failures and social rejects, he had nothing but compassionate and forgiving words for them.
Again, I invite you to read, for yourself, any one of the gospels - especially one of the first three so-called "synoptic," or thematically similar gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke -- straight through, in one sitting, and then ask yourself: what image of Jesus emerges from that reading?
Do that - read a gospel straight through - and I'll bet you'll be surprised.
Because the picture of Jesus that emerges from such a reading is not as someone who was primarily a miracle worker or healer. It is not Jesus as primarily a teacher or preacher.
Rather, it is Jesus as someone who was primarily a provocateur: someone who deliberately, repeatedly, provoked the religious-status-q…