Jesus' Character Traits, Part IV (CC-14)
This is the fourth and last 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.
Jesus the Righteous Warrior
Courage is a virtue that everybody admires. There has never been a nation that did not praise courageous men. Valor is one of the elemental tempers of the human spirit, one of the foundational stones in the remarkable structure of character, one of man's shining qualities. There are different kinds of courage. There is a courage that we may call physical, which is an indifference to danger, a contempt for suffering and death. Then there is military courage, which is the most common in the world and one of the earliest developed. There is also an occasional courage that is born of some frenzied moment, such as the rescue of someone from fire or flood.
The courage displayed by Jesus was neither military nor occasional. It was the highest form of courage––the moral courage––which manifested itself in isolation and solitude. The courage of Jesus of Nazareth was the courage of the quiet and commonplace days and nights. It was displayed hour by hour walking on dusty roads toward unknown destinations, preaching in front of large crowds who were not ready to listen to him, staring into the unfriendly faces of scribes and Pharisees, or praying alone in the middle of the night.
The first majestic display of Jesus' courage was on that day in Nazareth when he announced his mission to the men and women who had known him from boyhood. He needed to say things that would offend, and he told them. If he was to speak the truth, he had to cut across the grain of his people's prejudices and hurt them. By merely telling the truth, he alienated from him the minds and hearts of the people in whose midst he had grown to manhood and whom he loved dearly.
Equally majestic was his courage displayed at Capernaum, when he talked to that crowd of five thousand people, whom he had fed before with only five fishes. He wanted to bear witness to the truth, but they were not ready to receive it. At the beginning of his address, everyone was listening, but slowly the crowd lost interest and began to melt away. The five thousand dwindled down to two thousand, and the two thousand sank to two hundred, to end up eventually to only twelve, whom Jesus asked: "Will you also go away?" What is there harder than that? A religious teacher finds his joy in the eyes and hearts of those who hear him. But to teach the truth and go on teaching, even as the congregation grows less and less, requires a fortitude of the highest order.
When Jesus comes at last to stand before Pontius Pilate, he stands so tall that Pilate is afraid of him. The heart of the Roman prefect of the province of Judea flutters when Jesus said to him,
“You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born, and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:37).
And finally, when Roman soldiers nail him to the cross, the only thing he says is, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
JESUS DISPLAYED THE HIGHEST FORM OF HUMAN COURAGE -
THE MORAL COURAGE
The word patience has two distinct meanings. The most common “is the calm waiting for something hoped for to take place.” For instance, farmers patiently wait for spring to arrive. The second meaning is more brutal, being “the unruffled endurance to pain and suffering with no end in sight.” It is the uncomplaining tolerance of the burden of endless hardship, responsibilities, and tribulation.
Jesus waited patiently for thirty years before he began his ministry. He stayed in the little country town of Galilee before he entered into the work he felt God had given him to do. We do not ask ourselves how much this must have troubled him. Could he have started his work when he was eighteen, or twenty or twenty-five? Of course, he could have. How his blood must have boiled in little sleepy Nazareth as he dreamed of the mighty things he could commence right away? But every time, he most likely told himself, "My time has not come yet." He was patiently waiting to discover the plans his Father had for him, until one day when he received them. He was thirty. After he started his ministry, friends and disciples would ask him: "Why don't you hurry? Why don't you bring things to pass? Why don't you say now everything you're going to say?" When they urged him to hurry, his reply was, "Are there not twelve hours in a day?" or "My hour has not come yet."
The way of a reformer is never smooth. So was the path traveled by Jesus, always thorny, always uncertain, ever disappointing. When he knocked at the door in Jerusalem, men inside refused to open it. When he knocked at doors in Nazareth, doors were open then shut in his face. He traveled throughout Galilee, and in city after city, he met with nothing but repulse and rejection. Yet he was never discouraged, he never complained, and he never took offense.
When his tribulations began on the night of his betrayal in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus first refused to defend himself in the court of law offered by the Romans, then accepted his sentencing with serenity. For several days and nights, he endured indignities at the hands of his tormentors; then, he suffered with patience and resignation the most horrific pain that can be inflicted on the human body. After two thousand years since his death on the cross, Jesus is still patiently waiting for the human heart to surrender and accept the truth he proclaimed. And yet he will most likely give us another day, and still another, saying, "Perhaps tomorrow the sin will be repented."
JESUS ENDURED HIS TRIBULATIONS WITH DIVINE PATIENCE
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