I love Matthew 21-23. If you haven’t read this, you need to. It’s incredible.
Jesus shows up in Jerusalem and heads to the temple. The first thing he does is kick out the people who are trading dishonestly. Then he heals a few folks before leaving town for a bit.
Next, he comes back to the temple and proceeds to make the self-righteous religious leaders look stupid, repeatedly. The way he does it is amazing. He doesn’t do anything miraculous. He just tells stories and answers their questions.
My favorite dis might be when Jesus utters the famous line “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.” He wasn’t just randomly teaching on taxes. The religious leaders had tried to trap him by asking if it was right to pay taxes to Caesar. If he said no, then he would have been in trouble with the Romans. If he said yes, then the people would have gotten upset because the Romans were an occupying military force.
So Jesus responds by asking for a coin, pointing out Caesar’s picture on the coin, and saying simply, “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
Afterwards, he just flat out starts listing the sins of the religious leaders, things like ignoring justice and mercy.
Jesus is loving. Jesus is good. Jesus is righteous. Jesus is merciful. But Jesus isn’t always nice.