A lot of people have a distorted picture of Jesus. They think of Him as “gentle Jesus, meek and mild.” It is not improper to use any of those words to describe our Lord. He could be and often was gentle. When the Pharisees were about to stone the woman caught in adultery, Jesus protected her, spoke to her with tenderness and love, and sent her on her way to live a new life.
Jesus was certainly meek, but not in the popular sense of the word. Biblical meekness means power under control like the power of a stallion who has been broken and trained. But the world often equates meekness with weakness, and this is the quality too often wrongfully attributed to our Lord. And His words were often mild. When others spoke harshly and rashly, He spoke tenderly and kindly.
So I do not find fault with those particular words used to describe the Master, but with the picture some are trying to create with their combination. Some use these words to paint a portrait of our Lord as timid, a never kick up any dust kind of guy. People who think Jesus fits this mold have never done any serious reading of the gospels. These perfect records of the life, work, and words of our Lord show Jesus as the God-Man who in the man portion of that expression was a real man’s man. He was everything God created man to be and more than any other man has ever become because the stain of sin never touched His body or His soul.
As we look at Monday, the second day of Holy Week, we clearly see a picture of the strength of Jesus in body, soul, and spirit. We see a clear portrait of the perfect Man Jesus was. But we also see here a portrait of God that a lot of people miss in the Bible or deny is a part of the character of the Almighty. We see here a glimpse of the holiness of God and His resultant wrath against sin.
Jesus perfectly displayed God’s character. In Him we see the love of God and the mercy of God. But in Christ, especially on this day of Holy Week, we also see the character of a Holy God offended by sin and the wrath that stirs within God’s heart because of iniquity and wickedness. This is not necessarily an enjoyable vignette to watch, but one that is sorely needed in our day and time. For we live in a world where many people believe that if there is a God that He is nothing more than a great big granddaddy in the sky who loves everybody and everything and what we do does not matter one whit to Him. That is the devil’s lie, and this Monday in the life of our Lord, the second day of Holy Week, exposes that lie for what it is.
Matthew 21:12–13 (NKJV) Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”
The problem here was not just that there was commerce in the temple courtyard but that many of those doing business there were selling their animals to use as sacrifices for prices that amounted to thievery. They were supported by dishonest priests who refused to allow any other animal than those sold in the temple courtyard to be used as an offering to God. Jesus cleansed the temple of greed, dishonesty, and fraud.
What if Jesus were to look into our temple? Oh wait a minute. He does look into our temple because our body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. So when the Lord looks within what does He find? Is there anything within us that displeases Him?
In these early days of Holy Week, let us join the Lord in His cleansing work in our own lives and purge heart and soul of any impurity within.
1 John 1:9 (NKJV) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
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