Summary: This sermon looked at the gentleness of Christ in relation to the Fruit of the Spirit.
Fruit of the Spirit: Gentleness
It was almost a postcard perfect day, the blue skies, the gently sunshine and the children playing. The crowds had gathered around the young prophet from Galilee that they had heard so much about. The afternoon had begun with Jesus healing the sick who had been brought to him, and now the mob was content to sit and listen as he taught. It was then that the parents of the playing children herded their kids over to the feet of Jesus. This is a parent thing, what a great opportunity to have their children blessed by a man like Jesus, someone who obviously had a direct link to God. I’m not convinced that they knew that Jesus was God, but they must have been thinking, “What can it hurt?” And as they approached the master the apostles began running interference, sorry you can’t bring those kids up here it will disrupt the flow of Jesus’ teaching, this is important stuff don’t waste the master’s time.
But Jesus looked over and said “Whoa, hang on guys, don’t stop the kids coming to me, they are the ones who really know what’s going on. If you want to enter the kingdom of God you’re going to have to be just like this.” And then he stretched out his arms and the kids mobbed him. It says a little bit about the character of Jesus that children liked being around him, because kid’s are very astute judges of character. You ever notice the adults that children click with? Normally they aren’t dour grumpy people, “look there’s grumpy old man Smith, let’s go hang around with him.” We’ve all seen the pictures of Jesus with the little children, and for most of us that is how we are most comfortable with him. You ever notice how Jesus played with children and taught adults, but in the church today we teach children and play with adults? And so we enjoy knowing that we are in the hands of a kind gentle saviour.
(At this point we showed the clip of Jesus Clearning the temple from Jesus Christ Superstar. Starting with Jesus entering the temple)
It was almost as if he’d lost his mind. They were just going to the temple when everything seemed to fall apart. One minute he was talking to the guys, laughing over something that had happened on the way there and the next minute . . . chaos. He’s tipping over tables, trashing stalls and setting animals free. People didn’t know what to do or where to hide, before he was done the outer courts of the temple looked like a war zone. Cages were open, tables were broken, money was scattered across the ground and boy were people wild. He certainly knew how to push their buttons. He had come up the temple steps and when he saw the moneychangers and animal vendors in the outer court he lost it. He saw some rope on the ground and he picked it up and began braiding it into a whip, you could almost hear him counting under his breath. But he must not have counted long enough because when the whip was done so were the moneychangers and vendors. He went ballistic, absolutely ballistic.
Same Jesus, and yet there appears to be a contradiction in his behaviour. Especially if we try to put it into perspective using the scripture where Jesus described himself in Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. And we have no problem reconciling gentle with the Jesus who is balancing the toddler on his knee, but major problems with the Jesus running amok in the temple courtyard. And primarily that is because we don’t understand the word gentle, as used in the scriptures. Over the past two months we’ve been looking at the fruit of the spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22-23 But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law.
We’ve looked at how these are referred to in the singular that is they were the fruit of the spirit, not the fruits of the spirit. And because of that it is an all or nothing proposition. If you are controlled by the spirit you will exhibit these characteristics. It’s not going to be a pick and choice, buffet kind of thing. You can’t say, “Well I’d like a little love, a lot of joy, a bit of gentleness, but I think I’ll pass on the self control and patience.” Nope doesn’t work that way, the bible, God’s word says “When the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit.” Not he might or he may, but he will, not some of this fruit or most of this fruit but all of this fruit.