Humble Gentle Love
Ephesians 4:1-3 ESV
Mark 9:33-37 ESV
Luke 22:28-30 ESV
Matthew 17:3-8 ESV
John 14:6 ESV
There have been times in my life when I failed miserably.
Either I could only see my perspective or I only wanted to see my perspective. Either way I was wrapped up in myself.
I’ve also complained that life is hard. I thought God should make it easier. After a bit of grumbling I would tell my da that life isn’t fair.
At that point my da would look right at me and ask me, “who told you life is fair? And, what makes you think that God doesn’t have a plan…a greater purpose?”
At that point I would quietly go off to my room so I could read (that was my hiding place). I did not really want to discuss anybody else’s perspective…even Gods. I did not want to be humble before God. I did not want to think about others.
I just wanted my way.
My da knew that.
Ephesians 4:1-3 tells us, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
In my fifties I started to see a broader perspective.
I had finally realized I was really really not humble or gentle. I was absolutely not patient. I only loved the lovable.
Years down the road I continue to see more and more of God’s perspective.
Notice I said, I begin to see.
I find hope for myself in scripture.
I remember Peter.
There are several accounts that I will call ‘teaching moments’ for Peter and the other disciples. What we notice is that each time Jesus instructs without any rejection or humiliation.
God always ALWAYS leaves our inner-self in tact.
Shame is never God’s intent.
In Mark 9:33-37, we see, “And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”
Jesus knew the disciples were talking about who is the greatest among them. Instead of confronting them about their discussion, Jesus instructs them.
Instead of demoting them we read in Luke 22:28-30, Jesus told His disciples “You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Jesus promoted them.
In Matthew 17:3-8 on the Mount, “And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.”
Peter wanted to commemorate the Holy Moment by building three tents for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. The tent he was suggesting was a tabernacle. The Hebrew word is Mishkan and at the time when Moses led the Hebrew people out of Egypt it was a portable sanctuary.
Peter was not really thinking about what had just happened.
It was a holy moment.
But instead of shaming them, Jesus waited. God brought a bright cloud over them and God spoke from heaven announcing who Jesus was and how they needed to respond. God announced His Son. God told them He was pleased. God instructed them to follow Jesus.
When God spoke they were terrified, but Jesus didn’t say, “I’ve been trying to tell you.” Instead Jesus comforted them and touched them. Ever so gently Jesus restored them of their fear.
Each time the disciples displayed their humanity, Jesus gently touched them and instructed them.
Each time Jesus’ intent with Peter (and us) was to love us so much that we come to understand and practice humility.
And so it is with us today. Jesus seeks to gently guide us.
Jesus was gentle with Peter. I am somewhat amazed that Jesus didn’t say to Peter, “really, dude? We HAVE gone over this again and again!”
Jesus was ever so patient. Each time Peter misspoke Jesus guided him to truth.
That’s because Jesus IS truth, in John 14:6 we are told, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Everything Jesus led His disciples to the way. Jesus WAS truth. Jesus IS life. Everything Jesus did for Peter was out of love for Peter.
It’s no different for us today. Everything Jesus/God does is out of love for us. Humbly and gently, with great patience, Jesus loves us to Him.
Spiritual Practice: Sit with Jesus
Let Jesus love you. If you are struggling with something, let Jesus touch you.
In God, Deborah