The Personality Of Jesus (1)
7th January 2021
Our Lord Jesus Christ was infinitely gentle, patient, and merciful with sinners, the weak and abandoned, the lowly and impoverished; yet He was very severe, exacting, and just with those considered great and knowledgeable, the leaders of the people, and the proud and arrogant.
Consider His words to the Pharisees who, after Christ had healed a blind and mute man, accused Him of being in league with the devil:
“You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34)
When Jesus declared Himself “the light of the world” (John 8:12) the Pharisees, not believing in Him nor accepting His authority, argued with the Lord and justified themselves by claiming to be the children of God. To which Jesus responded:
“If God were your Father, you would love me: for I came forth and am come from God; for neither have I come of myself, but he sent me. Why do you not understand my speech? Even because you cannot hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father it is your will to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stands not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof.” (John 8:42-44)
While teaching in Jerusalem on the eve of His Sacred Passion, knowing what was about to befall Him, Jesus warned the chief priests and elders of the people:
“The kingdom of God shall be taken away from you, and given to a nation producing the fruits of it.” (Matthew 21:43)
A brief reading of the Gospels will show that there are many other instances in which Jesus was very exacting and very severe with His interlocutors.
On the other hand, we find that Jesus was infinitely compassionate, gentle and merciful with those who were weak, forsaken, oppressed, and bound by sin. Christ did not hesitate to dine with sinners, to rescue the woman caught in adultery, and to forgive the thief on the cross who had been a sinner all his life.
For Jesus did not come to “break a bruised reed or quench a smouldering wick.” (Matthew 12:20)
Regarding the whole world, the Scripture says: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
And for those who had lost their way, Jesus said: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.” (Luke 15:3-5)
Jesus is the Good Shepherd and He is tireless in seeking out His lost sheep.
Regarding those who work very hard and are weary, Jesus called: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
So we see that Jesus did not apply the same “measure” to all persons. He was infinitely gentle with some, and extremely strict with others. Why?
The Lord explains: “Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more.” (Luke 12:48)
Jesus wants to save everyone: the strong and the weak, the humble and the proud, the honest and the dishonest, the righteous and the unrighteous, the good and the evil, but He cannot apply the same “medicine” to all.
Each one needs only to open his or her heart to the Lord Jesus who must, as the all wise, all loving, and all powerful Son of God, administer the right medicine to each one, working tirelessly so that each soul might come to “believe in Him” (John 20:31), for faith in Christ is the door to eternal life.
And so the words of the Scripture ring more and more true, the more we realise the ways of the Lord, and the heights and depths of His wisdom:
“With the loyal thou dost show thyself loyal; with the blameless man thou dost show thyself blameless; with the pure thou dost show thyself pure; and with the crooked thou dost show thyself perverse. For thou dost deliver a humble people; but the haughty eyes thou dost bring down.
“Yea, thou dost light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness. Yea, by thee I can crush a troop; and by my God I can leap over a wall. This God—his way is perfect; the promise of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” (Psalm 18:25-30)