Saturday, December 29, 2007

Gentle Jesus

Two posts down I have the fragment of Handel's Messiah that includes some of my favorite verses, because they deal with the qualities of Jesus that I most like to think about, his gentleness, his tenderness, his kindness. I am aware of my condition as a broken, sinful person in a broken, sinful world, and I'm so thankful that Jesus looks on me with those emotions.

Psalm 23 already gives us the image of our Lord as a shepherd, caring for and protecting us. Isaiah 40:11 says, "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." The Messiah music expresses this in its piercingly sweet melody.

Then, Jesus' own invitation from Matthew 11:28-30, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." What a relief that is from the demands and expectations of the world.

Another comforting remark in the Gospel is in Matthew 12:20, quoting Isaiah 42:3, "A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out," which I take as an expression of mercy to weak, faulty people.

And I like Paul's exhortation to Christians in Philippians 4:9: "Let your gentleness be evident to all."

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