Who is this Jesus? #3 – the gentleness and fierceness of Christ

Following are the rough teacher’s notes from lesson 3 of a four-week Sunday School series titled, Who is this Jesus? See also the series preface, lesson 1, and lesson 2.

Who is this Jesus? lesson #3: the gentleness and fierceness of Christ
Clearnote Indy Adult Sunday School class
December 14, 2014


The Lord teaches us about gentleness
We partly understand it
We partly misunderstand it
We take the part that we understand and reject the parts of Scripture that seem to contradict.
End up with an effeminate Jesus-girl that is not who Jesus is

Two problems with this:
1. We’re in danger of rejecting our Savior as He has revealed Himself and worshipping an idol of our own creation (which cannot save); and
2. If we don’t understand our master’s work we will do a poor job of following in His steps.

Goal today: Understand how Jesus’ fierceness fits with His gentleness, and the implications it has for our walk of faith.

1. Gentleness

1.1. Christ was gentle

Matt 11:29 “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.”

Isaiah 42:1-3
“Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold;
My chosen one in whom My soul delights.
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the nations.
He will not cry out or raise His voice,
Nor make His voice heard in the street.
A bruised reed He will not break
And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish;

He will faithfully bring forth justice.”

Isaiah 53:7 “He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.”

Patient in teaching the disciples
Gentle with the crowds pressing around Him
Breach of decorum (immoral woman)

From the beginning God has been gentle with us
Skim Psalm 106
– Rebelled when they thought they were trapped against Red Sea (v7)
– Craved meat and put God to the test (vv 13-14)
– Became envious of Moses (v16)
– Made a golden calf (vv 19-22)
– Despised the pleasant land (vv 24-25)
– Joined themselves to Baal-Peor (v 28)
– Provoked Him to wrath at the waters of Meribah (v 32)
– Did not destroy the peoples (vv 34-36)
– Even sacrificed their sons and daughters to the demons (vv 37-39)
And… ***”We have sinned like our fathers…” (v 6)
The Lord has been gentle with us too!
Disciplining for our good
Teaching us
Calling us to repentance

Sidebar: Gentleness and authority
Christ’s gentleness is not due to impotence
He will come to judge, cast the wicked into hell
Gentleness of a patient and good Lord and Master

1.2. We should be gentle

The commands:
Matt 5:5 “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.”

Phil 4:5 “Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.”

The examples:
Num 12:3 “(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)”

1 Thess 2:7 “But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.”

Meekness, humility, and gentleness go together

1.3. The difficulty of gentleness

What’s difficult about gentleness?
(They don’t deserve it)
(Tired of forgiving them for the same thing again)
(Hard day at work)
(No one ever considers my plight (punish them for thoughtlessness))
(Doing the best I can, God’s just going to have to accept this)

Gentleness has to do with faith
With longsuffering patience
Trusting God for the fruit of our labor
Love of God and neighbor

2. Hardness

2.1. Christ was hard, and sometimes fierce

  • Money changers at the temple
  • Woes to the Pharisees (Matt 23:13-37)

Matt 15:15-16 “Peter said to Him, ‘Explain the parable to us.’
Jesus said, ‘Are you still lacking in understanding also?'”

Luke 24:17-27: the road to Emmaus
vv 25-26: “And He said to them, ‘O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?'”
Think of these men
Didn’t they need a little comfort?

“Get thee behind me, Satan!”

John 6:26-58: The true bread
Huge conflict
Just after feeding of the 5000
Crowds following Him
Wanting to make Him king by force
They seek a sign like the manna (vv 30-31)
Jesus is the true bread from heaven (vv 35, 38)
They don’t like this (who da He think He is?)
He is the better bread (vv 48-50)
This bread is His flesh (v51)
They balk!
Jesus doubles down (vv 52-57)
Jesus loses a bunch of followers (v 66)
Why didn’t He back off?
(If you are only seeking bread, you’ll perish)

John 8:31-59: The true sons of Abraham
Read vv 31-32
“…to those Jews who had believed in Him, ‘If you continue in My word…You will know the truth and the truth will make you free'” (v 32)
The offense of being called a slave (v33)
“Abraham is our father! (v 39)
No, you’re doing the deeds of your father (v 41)

What do these times of hardness and fierceness have in common?
(Exposing false professors while time to repent)

2.2. We should be hard, and sometimes fierce

The command:
Titus 1:12-13 “One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.’ This testimony is true. For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith”

Titus 2:15 “These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”

3. The relation between gentleness and severity

3.1. Gentleness and severity are distinct

  • Gentleness is for the humble, severity for the proud
    “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble”

3.2. Gentleness and severity are related

  • Christ’s severity on the proud flows from bowels of compassion
  • Calling them to repentance

2 Cor 10:1 “Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am meek when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent!”

Father lights into his son the most when his son was doing something that could have killed him. It’s his tenderness that moves him to this.

Someone sees a man running toward a cliff and screams, “STOP!” (The man is offended because you weren’t very gentle in how you spoke to him)

It’s not to hurt, but to heal

Fierceness often falls to those God places in a shepherding role (pastors, elders, fathers)
– Don’t be ashamed of hardness, even fierceness

4. Application

All around are those who are not obedient to Christ
– Professing Christians among our friends and relatives
Love them enough to fight for them
Speak the truth they need to hear
Hard words from a warm heart

All the prophets did this
Faithful servants following their Master
They’re rough with those who are hardhearted in their errors
Calling them back
Jesus to Pharisees: Woe to you
Our prayer: that he sees his danger and turns from it

Pr 22:3 “The prudent sees the evil and hides himself,
But the naive go on, and are punished for it”

Where is our hiding place but under our Rock of refuge?
How will men see the evil unless those who love them warn them of it?

If you begin to do this (hard words from a gentle heart of love) you will be accused of being
– loveless
– pharasaical
– unchristlike
If you are content to leave men in their sins – none of these accusations

We are men of peace
We want men at peace with the Savior

Our prayer: to have the fierceness and gentleness of Christ.

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