Summary: If we are meek, if we are gentle, then we are God controlled. We will have to be considerate to people, and we will also be considerate toward God.
Gentleness and meekness are basically the same. Why aren’t some people gentle? There are some who say things that set you on edge, & you’re convinced that they enjoy doing it? They come into your home & say, "Where did you find that wall-paper?" And it’s obvious that they’re not asking because they want to go out & buy some for themselves.
They’re the kind who come right out & ask, "Ooh, how much weight have you gained?" Or they say, "Boy, you sure look tired today." Deep down inside, we know that we don’t need comments like that. They’re all around us! And why are they like that? Is it because the fruit of gentleness is not there? Makes one think, doesn’t it?
Our story begins in the book of Mark 10: 13-16.
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 grim 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 savior—a meek savior.
Our scene now shifts to Matthew 21:12. READ
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 went ballistic, absolutely ballistic.
Same Jesus, and yet there appears to be a contradiction in his behavior. 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 and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, 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.”
I want you to notice something. Notice that these are referred to in the singular. They were the fruit of the spirit, not the fruits of the spirit. That’s because it’s an all or nothing proposition. If you are controlled by the spirit you will exhibit these characteristics.