Nobody could accuse Jesus of pandering to an audience.
The prophetic task of proclaiming the Word of God was once described (apologies to journalist Finley Peter Dunne) as “comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.” Nobody could afflict the comfortable like Jesus. He could dish it out to the smug Pharisees, but he also turned up the heat on his own disciples. His famous Sermon on the Mount took some comfy “church people” assumptions and turned them upside down. Such as: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27,28).
Really, Jesus? Yes, really. Jesus not only taught that kind of love; he lived it. The first of his few statements from the cross of Calvary itself asked for mercy for his tormentors. You and I were born enemies of God, but he chose to love us in advance and arrange for a Savior even before we were born. You and I depend for our very souls’ salvation on God’s gift of forgiveness to the unworthy. God absolutely expects that we will show that same mercy to people who don’t deserve it. “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you” (Proverbs 25:21,22).
Nobody is a better rewarder than the Lord.