I am thoroughly enjoying Richard Bauckham's Jesus: A Very Short Introduction. So many of the historical Jesus books which have come out fail to deal with the totality of Jesus presented in the gospels. They literally whittle Him down in an attempt to make Him "palatable" to the authors or to their supposed readers.
Bauckham doesn't whittle down. He deals with Jesus as presented in these ancient, historical biographies we call the gospels.
One particular sentence grabbed me thoroughly in light of all of those who keep proclaiming, "Jesus sought out the outcast and poor and was non-judgemental." Well, that's not exactly true when reading the gospels. Those who portray Jesus in this fashion are actually being selective. Most of the biblical scholars I read in college and seminary portrayed Jesus in this fashion.
Therefore, it is refreshing to read Bauckham's statement:
While he [Jesus] characteristically takes the part of the poor and the weak, he unrelentingly condemns the persistently wicked.
Yep. If you read the gospels, you see Jesus doing exactly that. It's exactly what one would expect from one who proclaimed the kingdom of God: Law and Gospel. Good news for the oppressed and condemnation for those who persist in breaking God's will despite knowing it.