Gentleness (July 20, 2011)

The Character of Jesus

 

Turn to Philippians 2. [Read v5-8]

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

This passage speaks about the humility of Christ in laying aside the free exercise of his power. When Jesus is arrested what does he say to Peter? “Don’t you think I could call down angels and end this now? Of course I could. That’s not the plan! Jesus is dealing gently with the Romans who will destroy his body in the next few hours. He is the ultimate picture of power under control.

 

Turn to 2 Corinthians 10:1

I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!—

Paul calls the Philippian church to act like Christ in his humility and gentleness, but in 2 Corinthians he calls the church to be obedient because  Jesus is so gentle with them as they disobey him in their arrogance. Notice that he addresses both the meekness and gentleness of Jesus separately.

 

Turn to Matthew 12:20

“A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not quench,
until he brings justice to victory;
and in his name the Gentiles will hope.”

Matthew explains that Jesus was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah about the Messiah here. Jesus is shown to be the one bringing justice and victory, but at the same time he is shown to be the one gentle with a faltering, smoldering, stumbling follower. Weary Christian, tired Christian, aren’t you grateful that Jesus is more gentle with you than you are with other people? This reminds us of Ben’s sermon last week when he explained that our view of God dramatically impacts our obedience to God and our life before the face of God. How does this view of God’s treatment with you impact your view of him? The idea that Jesus is so tender with us that when we are depressed, and tired and angry and fearful he treats us gently in calling us to repentance and encouragement in himself. He doesn’t shout instructions to us and demand our allegiance.

 

 

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