Jesus' Character Traits, Part III (CC-13)
This is the third post in the brief expose on the character traits of Jesus the Man. The purpose of this discussion is to help readers understand the extraordinary complexities of this extraordinary 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.
The Righteous Warrior
Now let's look at other attributes that Jesus the Righteous Warrior displayed during his first coming on earth: strength, firmness, courage, and patience.
What was the first impression that Jesus of Nazareth made upon his contemporaries? Was he perceived as insignificant and transitory, pale and ghastly, sickly and subdued, meek and weak? Of course not. On the contrary, the Gospels give us examples of Jesus acting as a leader, giving orders, dispatching people, and speaking with authority. In everything he does, he gives the impression of mastery, power, and leadership. His authority does not come from an earthly position of power because he holds none. His authority comes only from his inner strength and moral character. Jesus is a man of steely strength and unbound inner power. He drew men to him. Only a man of strength attracts large masses of other men. Jesus was hated by many. Only a man of great strength makes his enemies hate and fear him. Pilate, the representative of the mighty Roman Imperial power in Palestine, is afraid of Jesus and wants to get rid of him. So are the scribes and Pharisees of the Hebrew society of the time.
But if Jesus drove some men to hate him, he caused many more to love him. He kindled a devotion that is superior to anything that has ever been known. He started a fire that ran all over Judea, then encircled the Mediterranean Sea, then spread into the German forests, and then jumped over the English Channel. And nowadays, it has leaped over the oceans and is burning more brightly than ever before. Jesus called forth a kind of reverence that has never been granted to any other living man. He was so strong and mighty that when people thought of him, they thought of God.
As a warrior, Jesus’ strength was displayed in fighting the lonely fight and taking all the blows his enemies directed at him. Indeed, he died on the battlefield by hanging on the cross, and in going so, he won our salvation. Jesus came once with the promise he will come again. And when he comes again, he will destroy every enemy that he left undestroyed. Jesus is both the wandering teacher with a warrior soul of two millennia ago and the mighty fighter on the white horse armed for battle in Revelation of the ages to come.
“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness, he judges and makes war.”
JESUS' OUTWARD AUTHORITY COMES
FROM HIS HOLY INNER STRENGTH
When we think of Jesus, we usually assume tenderness, gentleness, and graciousness. Yet, the gentleness of nature cannot be considered a virtue unless accompanied by tenacity of will. Along with compassion, there must be firmness, and underneath graciousness, there must lie a resolve hard as steel. Men's weakness under the play of social forces and the spirit of the age is well understood and accepted. It is an ancient adage that evil companionships corrupt good morals. All men are more or less molded by the society in which they form a part. It is indeed only a strong character who dares run counter to the traditions and customs of the world in which he moves.
Yet when it comes to Jesus of Nazareth, we are in the presence of a man who nobody swerved or dominated. He was asked by his countrymen to lead them in the fight against the Roman occupation. Despite loving his homeland, Jesus refused. He did not take the advice of his own family members when they were contrary to his mission. For this, his brothers resented him. Jesus resisted the temptation of the mighty forces of darkness for forty days when he was tested in the wilderness. "Get thee behind me, Satan" was his final answer. An exemplary self-discipline accompanies Jesus' tenacity. When Jesus commits to going somewhere, he does it. When Jesus promises to cast out demons, he delivers. When Jesus tells his Father, "thy will be done, not mine," even at the peril of his life, he does it.
It is in the firmness of Jesus that we find an indispensable element of Christian character. We Christians are to resist exterior forces and form our lives from within. We are not to be swayed by current opinions but guided only by the Holy Spirit. We are not to listen to voices of the time, but to live and work for eternity. In other words, Jesus shows us how to stay unchanged and unchangeable. Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. All his promises stand unshaken; all his warnings remain unaltered. His attitude to sinners is today what it has been from the beginning and what it will be to the end.
JESUS' FIRMNESS COMES FROM HIS LOVE OF PEOPLE,
NOT FROM HIS LOVE OF FIRMNESS
To be continued in the next post.
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Useful links: Moody Bible Rick Warren