First, let’s look at the word “gentle.” Can you picture a gentle person? How do you act if you are being gentle?
Read this verse below about God as our shepherd. Can you imagine the gentleness shown in this picture of God?
Isaiah 40:11 (NIV) He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.
Here’s a story that I think illustrates God as gentle. Peter denies knowing Jesus three times. Jesus had told him he would and Peter was adamant that he would never do such a thing. Peter wept bitterly over his sin. When Jesus sees Peter again, He doesn’t say, “I told you so.” What does He say? He gently asks Peter a question three times, restoring him.
John 21:15-17 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”
Can you recognize gentleness in Jesus’ approach to bringing Peter back into position?
The word meek is trickier. We don’t have as easy an image of what that means. It is sometimes translated gentleness and sometimes humility. That helps us have some idea of what meekness looks like. One way I define the idea of meekness is being totally un-self-reliant, and instead, totally reliant on God.
Jesus was meek.
Zechariah 9:9 (ABPE) Celebrate greatly, daughter of Zion, and shout, daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King comes to you, righteous and The Savior, and he is meek and rides on a donkey, and upon a colt, son of a donkey!
Jesus emptied Himself and was one with the Father. He says He did nothing of Himself. He let the Father live through Him. We’re to be one with Christ as He was one with the Father. Read these verses and think about how they show meekness.
Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.
Luke 22:42 …“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
John 5:30 “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”
Jesus was the humble king. He was not self-reliant. He was completely God-reliant. He emptied himself. He models for us what humility should look like on us.
Mark 10:18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.
Philippians 2:6-7 (BSB) Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness.
Lesson Point: God is the powerful ruler of the universe but is gentle with us. Instead of showing off His power and authority, Jesus came to us in meekness.
Challenge Question: When do you not act gentle? Would relying on God in those moments help? How? Those are things to pray about. Confess and ask for help becoming gentle and allowing Him to act instead of responding yourself.