d. Ointment that takes the sting out of a wound is called, “gentle.”
e. Those who are polite, who have tact and are courteous and who treat others with dignity
and respect are called, “gentle.”
B. Gentleness is not weakness.
1. Moses was gentle. He was not weak. Leading 2.5 million people out of Egypt and through the
wilderness for 40 years is not indicative of physical or spiritual weakness.
2. We sometimes sing about “Jesus Meek and Gentle” as if he were a weakling. In Bruce
Barton’s book, The Man Nobody Knows, he describes the occasion when Jesus drove the
money changers out of the temple.
“Almost invariably the pictures show him with a halo around his head, as though that was the explanation for his triumph. The truth is so much simpler and more impressive. There was in His eyes a flaming moral purpose and greed and oppression have always shriveled before such fire. But with the majesty of His glance there was somethings else which counted powerfully in His favor. As His arm rose and fell striking its blows with that liggle whip, the sleeve dropped back to reveal muscles hard as iron. No one who watched Him in action had any doubt that He was fully capable of taking care of Himself. The evidence is clear that no angry priest or money changer cared to try conclusions with that arm.” (Bruce Barton, The Man Nobody Knows, Bobbs-Merrill Company, New York, 1925, 1977, p. 35).
3 Jesus is the personification of gentleness.
a. We see the physical strength and courage that could chase the moneychangers out of
the temple coupled with the tenderness of sitting small children in his lap.
power?” Jesus had been given all authority and all power.
2. He got up, took off his outer garment and wrapped a towel around his waist. He poured water
in a basin and began washing the feet of his disciples. A rabbi serving his disciples? A teacher
serving his students? A Savior serving sinners?
a. Peter protests but then invited Jesus to wash his head, hands and feet (vs. 9),
b. What a spirit of tenderness and gentleness. In verses 13-14 he says, “You call me ‘Teacher’
and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have
washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.
3. We must treat one another with the same gentleness Jesus used in washing the feet of the
Discples. We have no idea what is going on in another person’s life. We are quick to rush to
judgment when we see something we don’t like. We sometimes exacerbate a painful situation
because we have not allowed God’s Spirit to transform us and give us gentleness.
A. William Barclay makes a final observation about gentleness.
It is when we have prautes that we treat all men with perfect courtesy, that we can rebuke without rancor, that we can argue without intolerance, that we can face the truth without resentment, that we can be angry and yet sin not, that we can be gentle and yet not weak. Prautes is the virtue in which our relationships both with ourselves and our fellowmen become perfect and complete. (Wm. Barclay, Flesh and Spirit, Nashville, Abingdon Press, 1962, p.121).
B. Last Sunday morning I mentioned the Inaugural address of George H.W. Bush in 1989 where he
challenged our country to become a “kinder and gentler” nation. My question this evening is, “are
we allowing the Holy Spirit to change us into a kinder and gentler person each day? As we stand to
sing we make ourselves available to pray with you or assist you with any spiritual need.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION AND REFLECTION 1. How is the characteristic of “gentleness” misunderstood?
2. What Old Testament leader is described as being “more humble than anyone else on the face of
3. What instances from Jesus’ life demonstrate his spirit of gentleness?
4. How will gentleness be observed in our speech?
5. How did Jesus washing the disciples’ feet illustrate a spirit of gentleness?