Second, look at the evidence we find for this in the Bible. For example:
Keep the idea of gentleness in mind as you listen to these OT prophecies about Jesus:
‘Here is my servant . . . my chosen one in whom I delight. I will put my Spirit on him . . . He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out.’ (Isaiah 42: 1 – 3)
Doesn’t this give a picture of Jesus gently healing the hurts of the people life has left bruised and battered?
Here’s another one, from Isaiah 40: 10 - 11:
‘See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power!
And how does he demonstrate his power? Awesome miracles? Does he blast his enemies?
No, none of this. See how Jesus shows his power:
‘He tends his flock like a shepherd: he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.’
Even if Isaiah hadn’t used the word ‘gently’, it’s got gentleness written all over it!
And did Jesus actually fulfil these prophecies?
If you were here two weeks ago you’ll be able to answer this! For those who missed it, Tim spoke about Jesus’ plans and how people continually interrupted him. He highlighted the quality of Jesus that showed through again and again: compassion. Is it possible to separate compassion and gentleness?
Consider three people who interrupted Jesus:
Example 1, from Luke 8: A man called Jairus who wanted Jesus to heal his daughter who was on the point of death.
When Jesus got there the girl was dead. Look at his words to the girl (v 54): ‘He took her by the hand and said, ‘My child, get up!’
Example 2, same chapter. Jesus was late to Jairus’ house because he was delayed by a woman. She’d had internal bleeding for 12 years and was desperate for a cure. Jesus was on an important mission, but he gives her time and heals her. Again, listen to his words to her (v 48): ‘Then he said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.’
Example 3, from Luke 5. A man with a nasty disease, possibly leprosy, falls at Jesus’ feet and says, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’ There were a variety of possible responses to this statement from such a person. Listen to the one Jesus chose (v 13): ‘Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. Be clean.’
Keep looking at those words. Say them any way you like. Which way sounds the most authentic? Isn’t it the way that carries the sense of compassion and gentleness?