February 08, 2016
From the desk of A.J. Higgins
The Meekness and Gentleness of Christ
“I Paul, myself, beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ”
2 Corinthians 10:1
There are a number of double expressions used concerning the Lord Jesus. He is full of “grace and truth” (John 1:14); He is the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25), the Faithful and True and the Alpha and Omega (Rev 1) among others. Yet there is something unique and praise worthy about the description, “the meekness and gentleness of Christ,” which Paul employs as an appeal to the Corinthian saints.
Meekness is not a trait prized among men in general. To the carnal mind it suggests a stance necessitated by weakness; the only option open to those incapable of asserting themselves. But true meekness is power that is under control. It is a bowing to the will of God and a refusal to have a will of my own. Another has defined it as “being at home in the will of God.”
Was there ever power such as His? Was there ever One who had such a moral right to a will of His own? His meekness was not a result of weakness in any measure, but of His devotion to His Father’s will. This is exemplified for us in Matthew 11, a chapter which ends with the Lord Jesus speaking of Himself as being meek and lowly in heart, and inviting us to come and find rest for our souls. That chapter highlights what might appear to be a failed ministry. John has doubted (vv 1-14), the generation to which He came rejected Him and John (vv 16-19), the cities had been blind and insensitive to Him (vv 20-24); yet “at that time” He thanked God for the circumstances of His service and God’s wisdom in thus arranging it. He was absolutely content with the results of His service. That is meekness!
His gentleness balanced His meekness. There was no taint of self-righteous pride which might have attended a spirit of meekness. He did not look down on others and treat them with harshness or with a condescending air, as though they had not attained to His level of spiritual contentment. He was gentle to everyone. He did, at times, speak harshly to hypocrites, but it was love for their souls and a longing to shake them from their condition which so controlled Him.
But gentleness in all His ways marked His movements among men. Whether the leper or the widow, the publican or the prostitute, the prisoner or the poor, all knew and experienced the gentleness of His words, of His touch, and His tears.
Both meekness and gentleness speak of power under control; in the case of meekness, it is power controlled to do the will of another and not my own. In gentleness, it is power under control to seek another’s welfare and not my own. These two aspects of life, honoring God by doing His will, and seeking the welfare of another actually fulfill the law as described by the Lord Jesus Himself: “… love the Lord thy God with all thy heart … and thy neighbor as thyself” (Matt 22:37-39).
1. Cull from Scripture all the double titles of the Lord Jesus and see how the second balances the first or expands its meaning.
2. Consider the meekness and gentleness of Christ as seen at Calvary in His silence, sympathy toward His mother, and His concern for a thief.