The words ‘meekness and gentleness of Christ’ in the first verse of 2 Corinthians chapter 10 ascend from the page as a rich and sweet fragrance to touch the heart of the believer. They cause us to look up by faith with a heart warmed and refreshed by the knowledge that Christ is truly precious. Here, His unique character is described by words which have a meaning only truly portrayed by the immeasurable depth of Christ alone.
Meekness is not weakness but describes a condition of mind and heart; the inward character which, in Christ, manifests itself because He has all the infinite resources of God within Himself, ‘For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily’, Col. 2. 9. It is a virtue that Titus chapter 3 verse 2 exhorts every believer to show - ‘showing all meekness unto all men’.
Gentleness, on the other hand, is the outward activity of meekness. The outworking of unselfish reasonableness, not legality. Gentleness speaks of the outward dealings with others, the product of how mature the meekness is in a person’s character.
The meekness and gentleness of men is but a mere, brief shadow which seems to grow darker by the years. To explore the virtues of the meekness and gentleness of Christ, so perfectly displayed in righteous harmony, absolute perfection, and complete balance, one only has to look to those many occasions particularly chronicled in the four Gospels.
In John chapter 4 verses 4 to 30, there is a delightful demonstration of the meekness and gentleness displayed by the Lord Jesus. He is alone at the well and is about to meet an immoral woman who had been totally rejected by her community. She has no idea, as she approaches with her waterpot in the heat of the day, that she is about to encounter the eternal Son of God, the Creator of the universe, the Messiah, and the one destined for Calvary, there to become the Saviour of mankind. Yet, at Jacob’s well, in His meekness and gentleness, He transforms the woman’s life forever, as only He could. First, He breaks down the political and racial barriers. Then, He tells her of her need for the ‘living water’, v. 10, which, in verse 14, results in the provision of everlasting life. The woman, in honesty, confesses her sinful life, v. 17. The outcome of such a remarkable discourse being that she runs to those who had originally shunned her to call them to the Lord Jesus, exclaiming, ‘is not this the Christ?’ v. 29. Only the meekness and gentleness of Christ could have produced such a blessed outcome. No situation, however complex or hopeless, can be a hindrance to Christ.
In the early verses of John chapter 3, a man called Nicodemus comes to the Lord Jesus by night. There is no comment or sigh from the Lord Jesus about the lateness of the hour or the question the man posed. In meekness and gentleness, the Lord Jesus was always available to all that came to Him whenever or wherever that was.
Turning to the cross, with all its violence, agony and shame, the human mind would not expect meekness and gentleness to manifest itself, yet it is displayed so openly in such a precious way. See how Christ addressed heaven with the words, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do’, Luke 23. 34. The dying thief came into the blessing of His meekness and gentleness after acknowledging that he deserved the punishment he was enduring. He, after appealing to the Lord Jesus, was promised, ‘To day shalt thou be with me in paradise’, v. 43. Again, we see such meekness and gentleness, this time shown towards His mother Mary as He commends her into the care of John, John 19. 26, 27. He desires that she be removed from such a violent and distressing scene of suffering into a home where He knows she will not only be loved and cared for but spiritually enriched as well.
The father’s unconditional love for his prodigal son in Luke chapter 15, irrespective of the son’s foolishness, or the determined searching of the shepherd for the lost sheep in the same chapter, are testimonies to meekness and gentleness seen in some of the Lord’s parables.
This is such an inexhaustible subject, so many examples abound in the word of God, but there is one occasion that draws our attention very much to Christ’s meekness and gentleness. In John chapter 11 verse 35, we read that ‘Jesus wept’. He who has the power over death, wept with the broken-hearted and bereaved. There is no instant miracle. For, from the depths of His being He enters into the experience of their sorrow, sharing their tears, reaching out to them in perfect love and in an unselfish personal way before raising the dead to life. He reveals in His perfect way something of the beauty of His unique meekness and gentleness. What a glorious and precious Lord and Saviour He is! May we praise His excellent name.