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The character of Jesus

 

The holiness of Jesus Christ.

 

Jesus was a holy man, that is to say, He was absolutely pure, for He was born without sin and He lived a sinless life. That’s why the Scripture calls Him “the Holy One” (Acts 3:14).

The holiness of Jesus Christ manifested itself in a love of righteousness and hatred of iniquity, for God said to Him: “You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness” (Hebrews 1:9 – NKJV). So Jesus always loved what was right in the sight of God, but hated what was wrong in His sight.

His love of righteousness and His hatred of iniquity were manifested in word. His love of righteousness was manifested in His urging His disciples to be perfect as God, to love their neighbour as themselves, to love one another as He loved them, to seek the righteousness of God, to be humble, merciful and peaceful, to forgive one another, to be patient, to have faith in God, etc.. while His hatred of iniquity manifested itself in His warning His disciples against sexual immorality, covetousness, unbelief, pride, falsehood, contentions, drunkenness, revelries, idolatry, etc. We see a verbal manifestation of His love of righteousness and hatred of iniquity also in the following incidents recorded in the Gospels. He commended the centurion and the Canaanite woman for their faith (Matthew 8:10; 15:28), but He rebuked the chief priests and the elders of the people for their unbelief (Matthew 21:31-32). He defended His disciples’ action, when the scribes and Pharisees accused them of transgressing the tradition of the elders for they ate with unwashed hands, saying: “To eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man” (Matthew 15:20 – NKJV), but He rebuked the scribes and Pharisees for breaking the commandment of God for they did not allow the people to honor father and mother, saying to them: “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God’ – then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:3-9 – NKJV). He commended that woman who broke an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard and poured it on His head, saying to His disciples: “She has done a good work for Me. … Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her” (Mark 14:6-9 – NKJV), but He rebuked Judas Iscariot calling him “a devil” (John 6:70) and saying: “The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born” (Matthew 26:24 – NKJV).

His love of righteousness and His hatred of iniquity were manifested not only in word, but also in deed. For He always took delight in doing the things which pleased God His Father, as He Himself said: “I do always those things that please him” (John 8:29), and He committed no sin nor did He practice any falsehood, for it is written that He was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15). He lived a holy life indeed! He even challenged His enemies to convict Him of a single sin (John 8:46), but they had no reply.

 

The humility of Jesus Christ.

 

 Jesus was a humble man. He Himself said: “I am gentle and humble in heart” (Matthew 11:29 – NIV). His humility was manifested by His becoming poor for us, though He was rich, that we through His poverty might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9); in His not seeking His own glory (John 8:50), in His avoiding notoriety and praise (Isaiah 42:2; Matthew 12:15-16; 16:20; Mark 5:43); in His associating with the despised and outcast (Matthew 9:10; Luke 15:1-2); in His entering Jerusalem riding on a donkey (Matthew 21:1-10); in patient submission to outrageous injury and injustice (Isaiah 50:5-6; Hebrews 12:3); in silence under outrageous injury and injustice (Isaiah 53:7); in silence under false accusations (1 Peter 2:23; Matthew 26:60-63; Luke 23:8-10); in His coming to minister and not to be ministered unto (Matthew 20:28); in His washing the feet of His disciples (John 13:4-5); in His being “obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8 – NKJV).

 

The meekness of Jesus Christ

 

Meekness is that attitude of mind that is opposed to harshness and contentiousness, and that shows itself in gentleness and tenderness in dealing with others, especially in dealing with and correcting the errors of others. Jesus Himself said He was meek (or gentle) in heart (Matthew 11:29). His meekness was manifested in His not breaking the bruised reed or quenching the smoking flax (Matthew 12:20); in the gentleness with which He rebuked the stubborn unbelief of doubting Thomas (John 20:27-29); in the tenderness with which He rebuked Peter’s thrice-repeated and flagrant denial of his Lord (John 21:15-17).

 

The compassion of Jesus Christ.

 

 Jesus had compassion on the multitudes, as it is written: “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd” (Matthew 9:36 – NKJV); He had compassion on mourners (Luke 7:12-13; John 11:33), as well as on the sick and the demon possessed (Mark 1:40-41; Matthew 20:34). His compassion, however, was not manifested in mere feelings or words, but in action, in ministration to the needs of those upon whom He had compassion. For instance, Jesus was moved with compassion for the hungry multitudes and fed them (Matthew 14:14-21;15:32); He was moved with compassion for a widow who had lost her only son and comforted her and raised her son (Luke 7:11-17); He had compassion on the sick and healed them (Mark 1:40-41; Matthew 20:34), and on the demon possessed and set them free from demon possession (Mark 9:25).

 

The love of Jesus Christ.

 

 Jesus loved His Father, as He Himself stated: “I love the Father” (John 14:31). His love to the Father manifested itself in His doing the will of His Father (John 15:10; 6:38), which included His own sacrificial death (Psalm 40:8; Matthew 26:39-42; John 10:18).

He loved His own, as it is written: “Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end” (John 13:1 – NKJV). Jesus Christ’s own were those whom God the Father had given unto Him (John 17:2, 9, 12). His love toward His own was manifested in His making known to them all the things He had heard from His Father (John 15:15); in His comforting them in their sorrow (John 14:1), in His rebuking them for their mistakes (Matthew 16:22-23; Mark 16:14; 14:5-6; Luke 9:54-56); in His praying for them (John 17:15; Luke 22:32); in His keeping them so that not one of them might be lost (John 17:12); in defending them against the accusations made by the Pharisees (Matthew 12:1-8; 15:1-9; Luke 5:29-32); in His laying down His life for them (John 15:13-14).

Jesus loved men in general and His love toward them manifested itself in His having compassion on them and healing them of their diseases (Matthew 14:14), in supplying their physical needs (Matthew 15:32), in His preaching to them the Gospel so that they might be saved (John 5:34).

Jesus loved His enemies, for while He was on the cross He prayed for them asking God to forgive them (Luke 23:34).

Jesus loved us and manifested His love toward us by becoming poor that we through His poverty might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9), and by laying down His life for us, as it is written: “Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Ephesians 5:2 – NKJV), and again: “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us” (1 John 3:16 – NKJV), and again: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25 – NKJV).

 

The prayerfulness of Jesus Christ.

 

Jesus was a man a prayer. He was anointed with the Holy Spirit while He was praying (Luke 3:21-22); He often withdrew into solitary places to pray (Luke 5:15-16); He prayed before He ate (Matthew 14:19; Luke 24:30); He prayed after He performed miracles, in order to recruit His strength and to guard against temptations to pride, or satisfactions with the work already achieved (John 6:15); He prayed on God’s behalf, that is, for God’s glory (John 12:28), on His own behalf (John 17:1; Hebrews 5:7), on behalf of His disciples and all those who would believe in Him through their word (John 17:9,20), and also on behalf of His enemies (Luke 23:34). He prayed in faith and in perfect submission to His Father’s will (Matthew 26:42), and with vehement cries and tears (Hebrews 5:7).

Giacinto Butindaro

 

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