Born to be Mild?
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 KJV)
Dear Cambridge Family & Friends,
I don’t know about you, but I like my Jesus tough. Temple clearing, Pharisee rebuking, serpent head crushing, white horse victory riding tough. I like the Jesus that gets in the face of Peter, like a championship football coach, and essentially says, “Boy, get your head in the game! You got the potential, so stop fumbling the ball. Now get your rear end out on that field and win one for the Team!” That Jesus is a cross between John Wayne, Chuck Norris, Mark Twain and Knute Rockne or better yet, Super Bowl/NASCAR winning coach Joe Gibbs.
Now of course, the way I like my Jesus and the way you like your Jesus has absolutely no bearing on the real Jesus i.e. the one true historical Son of God, who lowered himself to human status and relinquished His “phenomenal cosmic power” (Thank you Robin Williams for that quote from Disney’s Aladdin) so that he could actually experience what it was like to be in this frail, mortal, temptation fighting, limitation possessing shell of human DNA. And yet many of us don’t like it when people use descriptive terms like gentle, meek & mild to describe ‘our’ Jesus.
In 1763 Theologian Charles Wesley penned a hymn that contained these words; “Gentle Jesus, meek and mild, look upon a little child, pity my simplicity, suffer me to come to Thee,” followed by, “Lamb of God, I look to Thee, Thou shalt my example be, Thou art gentle, meek and mild, Thou wast once a little child.”
As I reflect on this season of advent and celebration of our Savior’s birth, like most, I can comprehend a gentle, meek and mild ‘Baby Jesus’ ala “The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes, but little Lord Jesus no crying he makes,” from the classic Christmas hymn Away In a Manger, but from the moment His carpenter step-dad Joseph hands Jesus his first hammer, some of us want Jesus to become The Mighty Thor, wielding power and dispensing justice. The problem with that self-absorbed thinking is we often forget that if Jesus truly dispensed justice then none of us would qualify for entry into the Kingdom of Heaven, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3: 23-24 NKJV).
This Christmas season, perhaps we need to drop to our knees and thank God that He was ‘born to be mild’ even beyond those years He incarnated Himself as a little baby. Those times are best summed up in a few verses from another popular Christmas hymn which reveals, Hark the herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn king. Peace on earth and mercy mild. God and sinners reconciled,” followed by “Mild He lays His glory by, born that man no more may die, born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth.” You see it’s God’s gentle, meek and mild side that allows Him to pour out His compassion and mercy on we sinn
ers who will always ‘fall short of the glory of God.’ If God’s mercy wasn’t mild, there could be no forgiveness and if no forgiveness then no Heaven for us to look forward to.
Don’t worry, there’s more than enough tough Jesus to go around, epitomized best by His willingness to suffer the brutality that accompanied His sacrificial death for our sins, and yet enough mildness to cover the entire world’s sins for all who would follow Him. This Christmas season, I invite you to share Jesus by reaching out to those less fortunate, inviting someone to church or just sharing your faith. May you experience the comfort, joy and peace that can only come from knowing ‘The Mighty God” and “Prince of Peace,” who was also ‘born to be mild’– Jesus Christ.
Cambridge Baptist Church