What was the reason for this urgent and positive action [in Jesus's ministry], so different from the tone of the Baptist's message and typical Jewish reasoning? The answer was clear from what Jesus began to say and to do almost immediately. He not only taught, he healed; he not only preached, he blessed, consoled and transformed lives. Not only was there good news for the poor, but for everyone. He was "a friend of tax collectors and sinners," and of the sick and possessed, the smug and the sedate, the demented and the lonely, the impolite and the unattractive--everyone who was unacceptable and every kind of outcast came within the reach of his saving embrace.
It was no longer a matter of people repenting of their oppression of the poor, receiving a baptism of water as a sign of that repentance and a desire for a newness of heart. Now--in everything that Jesus was saying and doing--God's mercy was washing over the world for everyone, like the sweep of a cool spring rain over the hot, parched wilderness.
The Hidden Jesus: A New Life. Though many won't like the "liberalness" of the biography, parts of the book just soar with poetry. I was struck by this passage contrasting the message of John the Baptist--a message of repentance and imminent judgement--with the message of Jesus, a message of "good news" and forgiveness.