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The Gentleness of Jesus

This week I wanted to consider with you the gentleness of Jesus. Isaiah prophesied about this very thing: “Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice” (42:1-3).

You’ll notice that this passage touches upon two things: first our fragility, and second our Savior’s gentleness. Indeed, we are the “bruised reed” mentioned in these verses. We are bruised by sin, which weakens all our faculties. We are just like that tall, limp blade of grass blowing to and fro in the wind. Scripture often compares our plight to that of a flower that is thriving one moment and dead the next. Elsewhere, Scripture describes our weak condition by saying we are “dust” (Psalm 103:14). However, in that same verse, the psalmist also tells us that God knows we are weak and frail and fragile, and so therefore He is kind and gentle with us.  Isaiah is saying the same thing, for though we are a bruised reed, Jesus will not break us. He will not crush us. He will not stomp us out. He is gentle.

How does He show this gentleness to us? By being broken for us. By being crushed in our place. We are so delicate that we could never hope to take the harsh blow that God’s justice requires, so Jesus took it for us. Because of this, He is well aware of our sinful condition and how needy we are. Thus He sweetly invites us, saying, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” He will never give us more than we can bear.  He always takes our frailty into account when apportioning to us our lot.

Think upon the great and good gentleness of your Savior today, friends. As you feel overburdened, remember that Jesus has already taken the heaviest burden off you—your sin.  And now that He has done that, He continually, day by day, is sanctifying you and strengthening you by His grace. He is healing your bruised condition.  He is making you fit for Heaven. That is the other wonderful thing about this passage, something implicit that we might not pick up at first glance: that more than not breaking us, Jesus is restoring us. Hear the words of Matthew Henry: “He will not break the bruised reed, but will strengthen it, that it may become a cedar in the courts of our God. He will not quench the faintly burning wick, but blow it up into a flame.”

Jonathan Cruse