THE FIRMNESS OF JESUS

Mar 3, 2021 | Gilbert’s Podcast

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by Gilbert Kimeng | Jesus the Same

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by Gilbert Kimeng | Jesus the Same

About This Episode

THE FIRMNESS OF JESUS

“Get behind me Satan.” – Matthew 16:23

  • Let us now meditate on the firmness of Jesus. Of his tenderness we think often, and also of his gentleness and graciousness.
  • Gentleness of nature is not a virtue unless it is accompanied by tenacity of will. Sweetness of disposition is not enough to make a man useful and noble.
  • Along with the sweetness there must go strength, and underneath the moods soft as velvet there must lie resoluteness hard as steel.
  • The weakness of men under the play of social forces is one of the outstanding tragedies of history. To build a will strong enough to resist and control these forces is the central crucial task of education.
  • It is an ancient adage that evil companionships corrupt good morals. All men are more or less molded by the society of which they form a part.
  • The young man in college is powerfully influenced by those of his classmates who are the nearest to him, and sometimes a few bold, masterful spirits will set the pace for a thousand men.

o   Businessmen are as susceptible as college students and yield in crowds to the influence of a few dominating minds.

AGAINST THE TIDE

  • The slavery of the social world has long been a theme for moralists and satirists.
  • He is indeed a strong character who dares run counter to the traditions and fashions of the world in which he moves.
  • The majority of mortals are not strong enough to be themselves: They become echoes of their neighbors, and walk in paths marked out by others.
  • As Lowell says, “Every man is the prisoner of his date.” We apologize for great men and women of history saying, “Remember the times in which they lived!”
  • But when we come to Jesus, we are in the presence of a man whom nobody swerved or dominated, who is so free from the bias of his race and so clean of the spirit of his age that he seems to belong to all races and all ages.
  • Immersed in an ocean of mighty forces which beat upon him furiously through every hour of his career, he resisted them all successfully by the indomitable energy of a victorious will, living a life unique in its beauty and achieving a work unmarred by the limitations either of time or place.
  • That he was not insensible to the dominant forces of his time, he himself has told us in the story of the temptation.
  • He was to trample opposing forces under his feet and make Palestine the center of the world. This was the dream; this was the expectation. It is a dangerous thing to baffle popular expectations.
  • Wherever he went he heard the people clamoring for a king, a king who should rise to supremacy over the wrecked empire of Caesar. The nation was ripe for revolution.
  • To fall in with their ideals was a great temptation, one so terrific that he told his apostles all about it. He assured them that during this temptation he had been wrestling with the very prince of infernal powers, but that despite repeated assaults, he had come out of the conflicts victorious.
  • In choosing the road which led to supremacy by way of Gethsemane and Golgotha, he renounced the ideals of his countrymen and disappointed their deepest expectations.
  • When we study his life with attentive eyes, we see it was one long resistance to the forces of his age.
  • The religious teachers taught doctrines of the Sabbath which he could not accept. They presented forms of worship which he could not submit to.
  • There were many reasons why Jesus should have conformed to the ideas and customs of the church, but he firmly resisted all the voices which urged him toward conformity, standing out alone in defiance of what the best men were doing and saying.
  • His nonconformity seemed to the majority to be impiety and to many as blasphemy. For a godly man to be classed among blasphemers is one of the bitterest experiences which the heart can know. But Jesus paid the price and continued firm.

FIRM WITH THE RULING POWERS

  • Men of light and leading have an influence surpassing that of ordinary men.
  • As leaders and teachers of the people, they had their plans and systems, and into these they attempted to work this young man from Galilee.
  • They recognized in him a man of force, and to manipulate him and make use of him was a natural ambition.
  • He will bend to them so far as he is able; he will yield to their whims and caprices so far as conscience will permit; he will go with them so far as this is possible; but, if he is a man of strength, he will not compromise his principles, and he will never jeopardize the victory of his cause by playing into the hands of men whose faces are toward a different goal.
  • Jesus could not be manipulated. He refused to be used.
  • All the seductions offered by the men who sat on thrones could not swerve him from his course, and although his steadfastness made him enemies and finally nailed him to the cross, he was everywhere and always a man who could not be moved.

FIRM WITH HIS FRIENDS

  • There are men who are too strong to be manipulated by their foes, but in the hands of their friends, they are plastic as wax. Jesus could not be manipulated even by his friends.
  • They had their prejudices and superstitions, but he never surrendered to them. He knew their bigotry and narrowness, and so, in his opening sermon, he read the story of God’s compassion on a Syrian leper and also on a Sidonian widow.
  • He would not keep silence when he knew he ought to speak, nor would he turn aside from the path he knew he ought to travel – even though, by sticking to the path, he made himself a lifelong exile.
  • But probably no friend in Galilee was ever so near to Jesus’ heart as Simon Peter. At a crisis in Jesus’ life Peter did his best to dissuade Jesus from a certain course, but the loyal and loving friend succeeded no better than the most hostile Pharisee.
  • This man of Nazareth could not be moved by friend or foe. It was his Father’s business he was attending to, and therefore all efforts to draw him aside were made in vain. “Get behind me Satan.”
  • To defy the threats of powerful enemies is hard, but to turn a deaf ear to the dissuasions of loving friends is harder still. Only a man of unconquerable will is equal to a test so taxing. Jesus met it and did not fail.
  • It was a test he faced in his own home, also. His brothers did not understand him.
  • They were always ready with advice. He could not take it.
  • Only a man who has been driven by conscience to go contrary to the wishes of members of his own family can enter into the experience which Jesus suffered.
  • This test of willpower reached its climax in Jesus’ conflict with his mother. She loved him and he loved her, but he could not always carry out her wishes.
  • There comes a time in many a man’s life when even his own mother’ exhortations must go unheeded in order to obey a higher call.
  • The ties to Mary were not so deep as the ties which bound Jesus to the heavenly Father, and when Mary’s wish conflicted with the Father’s will, the wish of the woman was put aside to make room for the will of God.
  • He stands like a rock in the midst of a troubled sea, and all its billows dash themselves against his feet in vain. There was something inflexible in his will, something granitic in his soul.
  • It is certain that Jesus loved stability in others, and what he loved in others, he had superabundantly in himself. Firm himself, he loved men who could not be moved. Unconquerable himself, he entrusted his Gospel to men who would endure.
  • Men who put their hand to the plow but looked back were not men he could make use of in the saving of the world.

UNCHANGING FIRMNESS

  • It is in this tenacity of will that we find an indispensable element of Christian character. Men are to resist exterior forces and form their life from within.
  • They are not to listen to the voices of time, but to live and work for eternity. We like this steadfastness in human character, and we also crave it in God. Men have always loved to think of Him as the unchanging and the unchangeable, the one “with whom can be no variation, neither shadow that is cast by turning.” (James 1:17).
  • And what we desire in God, we find in Jesus of Nazareth. He is also unchangeable and unchangeable. A writer of the first century encourages the hearts of his readers by reminding them that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
  • Jesus never called Himself the Rock, but the Christian heart soon gave him the appellation, and few hymns have proved so popular in the English-speaking world as

o   Rock of Ages, cleft for me!

o   Let me hide myself in thee.

  • What Jesus was in Palestine, he is today and shall be for evermore. All his promises stand unshaken; all his warnings remain unchanged. His attitude to sinners is today what it has been from the beginning and what it will be to the end.
  • You cannot discourage him by your ingratitude; you cannot make him other than he is by your disobedience. He is not broken down by human folly or driven from his plan by human perversity.
  • From age to age he is about his Father’s business, and in the midst of all nations and kindreds and tongues, he goes about doing good.

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