Jesus' Character Traits, Part I (CC-11)
I am now beginning a brief expose on the character traits of Jesus the Man. It will consist of four parts, starting with the present post. The purpose of this discussion is to help readers understand the extraordinary complexities of this man, and why his personality has been such a rich source of inspiration for people over twenty centuries. For this reason, the Diamond Soul character is modeled after Jesus' own.
Why Contemplate Christ's Character?
Who was the humble man portrayed in the Gospels as being born in a manger, working in a carpenter's shop, preaching for only three short years, then dying on the cross for no fault of his own? Who was he who held no office either in the temple or state, had no prestige of wealth, and yet all scribes and Pharisees were afraid of him? Who was he who had no reputation of learning yet was attracting daily crowds with his words of wisdom, love, and compassion? Who was this gentle wanderer who historians believe shocked the Roman Empire to its core and gave Europe and America a civilization unlike any other? Who was he who supplied us the keystones with which the Christian arch of faith would be built to span millennia?
Of course, we're talking about Jesus Christ, the Son of Man. No other historical figure has been analyzed, debated, exalted or debased, loved, or hated as much as Jesus of Nazareth. No other ideas, principles, and doctrines on God and Holy Spirit, soul, life and death, duty and destiny have the power of convictions like those laid down by him. So many people have embraced no philosophy of life as the Christian faith.
To best understand Christian ideas, we must know something of what Jesus was. We need to inquire about his moral traits, temper, disposition, genius, depth of his spirit, and manner of conduct. In other words, we ought to learn about his character. By character, we mean the sum of qualities by which Jesus distinguishes from other men. As Pastor C. E. Jefferson (1860-1937) said, "this is the logical beginning of study into the meaning of Christian religion." Because, let's remember that the significance of what a man says depends mostly on who he is. Two men may say precisely the same thing, but if one is known to be mean or a fool, his words make no impression on us. In contrast, if the other is known to be good or wise, we will give him close attention.
Jesus' Character Traits
Since the early 19th century and until now, Christian scholars on both sides of the Atlantic have been examining the Man of Galilee's life and character. There is a substantial body of scholarly work dedicated to the study of Jesus as a man, historical figure, and founder of Christianity. In looking at it, we decided to focus only on Christ's character as a man. Why? Because Jesus' secret in changing the old world was his own character, he offered people to imitate. In his teachings, he always encourages his followers to "Follow me, learn of me, abide in me!" It would seem that he offers all good things on the condition that we become like him.
"Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ" (Ephesians 4:15)
When we examine Jesus' life, we find out that his foremost concern is for the human heart's well-being and righteousness. It is out of the heart that wicked actions proceed that tear humanity apart. It is out of the heart that the Holy Spirit comes to restore the beauty and peace around us. As such, he gives himself the task of molding the hearts and minds of men.
Let's look at several traits of Jesus' character as presented by the Gospels themselves.
To be continued in the next post.
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