Summary: Jesus demonstrated true gentleness, true strength under control
Homily Given at an "Alternative Church" setting at a mission in downtown Toronto
My son is a songwriter and music teacher. His entire life is music. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, sometimes. Recently he wrote a song comparing his view of a Type A personality to another view.
What is a Type A personality? It’s someone who is ambitious, rigidly organized, highly status-conscious, sensitive, impatient, take on more than they can handle, want other people to get to the point, anxious, proactive, and concerned with time management.
People with Type A personalities are often high-achieving "workaholics" who multi-task, push themselves with deadlines, and hate both delays and any lack of clarity.
I think my son knows a lot of people like this, and he sees in himself some of these traits at times. But, as I recall, his song contrasts folks like that, Type A personalities, against people who choose a gentle path.
And ultimately the song is a meditation on the value of gentleness, of mildness and consideration over harshness and roughness.
I’m proud of my son for many, many reasons, including his understanding that a life of consideration of others, of caring, of gentle reflection and love is better than being focus just on ourselves, caring only about our needs, our pleasures, our wants and needs.
Today’s Scripture speaks of the fruit of the Spirit, the qualities of our lives when we give our hearts to Jesus Christ and accept Him as Lord of our lives. And the focus today IS simply “gentleness”.
I think there’s no better way to understand ‘gentleness’ that as an important form of strength.
Someone once said that “Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength”.
That’s because gentleness, also talked about in Scripture as ‘meekness’ is great strength under control.
When you think of it, Jesus is the most potent example of gentleness. The Bible says that Jesus is the one Who created everything and the One who sustains everything by His sheer will.
He has unlimited strength and power, and an endless capacity to use it. If we ever thought of someone who was only human having those qualities, we would be scared.
In fact, some on this planet have acted like they had unlimited power.
You think of names like Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao Tse Tung. In human hands, even the idea of absolute power is and should be a terrifying thing. Humans always abuse power. You know the phrase: “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”.
Someone else said this: “The weak are the ones who are cruel. Gentleness can only ever be expected from the strong”.
In Jesus’ hands, absolute power is used for good. It is used selflessly. First of all, Jesus chooses to come to earth as a baby.
All His glory and authority and power and might and strength He squeezed into the tiny, helpless frame of a newborn baby. He used His power not for Himself, but to position Himself to help others.
Then, as Jesus grows, He knows He is God. He knows He could do anything. At any time He could leave here and resume His rightful position in heaven. But He doesn’t.
And even as He was tried and falsely convicted, and jeered at and spit upon, beaten, whipped, humiliated and ultimately murdered on the cruel cross, even while that was going on, He had the power to stop it.
The authority to call down the host of heaven to assist Him. But He didn’t.
Jesus used His power to restrain what anyone of us would have done in that case…defend Himself. He used it to die for our sins. He took upon Himself all of our sins, all of our judgment. He did this because He loves you. He loves you with an unlimited love.
Jesus was the best example of gentleness, of meekness, that this planet has ever seen up close.
May we consider the gentleness of Jesus in two ways. First, in that His gentleness and His love are why you and I have the hope of salvation today, if we believe that Jesus died on the cross.
Because Jesus is gentle and mild and because He uses His strength for our good, we have an amazing hope of abundant life now and eternal joy in His presence.
Secondly, may we always consider the example of Jesus gentleness in our dealings with others...with those we are closest to, as well as with strangers.
In this way we will always give dignity and respect to people, and in this way we will glorify God in heaven.