Jesus’ Kindness and Severity

“Your king is coming to you. He is gentle and riding on a donkey…” (Matt. 21:5, NCV).

How precious is the way the King of Kings came into Jerusalem to give His life! The people rightly shouted “Hosanna!” to Him as He entered. The Messiah had arrived. The Savior of the world had come into their city.

The way He made His grand entrance to fulfill the most important moment in all of human history – it’s worth looking closely at. He came to His people… gently. Of all the descriptors God could pick for this immeasurably crucial moment, He picked “gentle.” This is such a critical part of His nature, and of His self-disclosure.. of His announcement of His coming. He is gentle and humble in heart. This is how He comes near to each of us individually too. He will come to you, dear one, gently.

How striking also is what happened next in the story: “Jesus went into the Temple and threw out all the people who were buying and selling there. He turned over the tables of those who were exchanging different kinds of money, and he upset the benches of those who were selling doves” (v. 12).

Wait, what? Didn’t He come into the city in a spirit of gentleness? What is this now?  How does this passionate purge of the Temple go along with His lowly approach?

Yes, Jesus is fundamentally gentle. He is also fundamentally passionate about setting us free. He rebuked the buyers and sellers and money changers for adulterating the atmosphere of His house. His house was for ONE thing: to be a habitation of prayer. A dwelling place of connection with the Father. A home of intimacy with Him. A house for the intersection of heaven and earth. Anything standing in the way of that purpose must go!

Yes, Jesus is zealous for the purity of His Temple. Which means He is zealous for the purifying of our hearts too. Once we give our lives to Him, we become His temple, His habitation. If anything is standing in the way of our lives being a house of prayer, He is not passive about that. Whatever obstacle to deep intimacy with Him that He encounters in us, He will address relentlessly with His purifying fire. As Romans 11:22 expresses, “Notice how God is both kind and severe” (NLT). He is in earnest about cleansing us until our communion with Him has no hindrances.

Notice this also. Immediately after Jesus cleansed the Temple, His very next act was the following: “The blind and crippled people came to Jesus in the Temple, and he healed them” (v. 14). Whenever we encounter God’s purifying process in our lives, let us remember this. His only heart motivation in refining us is His immeasurable love for us. His goal is to bring us into liberty from all bondage. His mission is to heal us of our blindness and lameness. He burns with jealous longing to have unhindered oneness with us. We must know, deep in our souls… the freedom that His purification brings is truly life. It is life more abundantly!

Our gentle King is coming to us. He loves us fiercely. He will do everything He needs to, to heal us and make us free.

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What do you think about the juxtaposition of Jesus’ kindness and severity?

 

14 thoughts on “Jesus’ Kindness and Severity

  1. I’ve recalled the story of His “cleaning house” at the Temple several times over the years. By my understanding, many of the merchants had their presence rationalized because they were selling sacrificial animals, and similar ‘religious’ items. Jesus still didn’t hesitate to throw them out though.

    I can’t help but wonder if the churches I see with book stores, cafes, etc… might need to take a closer look at this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for this thoughtful and thought provoking entry Jenn. It is so easy to want to focus on the gentle, loving Jesus. Yet to do only that ignores the fullness of His nature.
    Yes, He is all-loving and caring and patient and every other proper adjective. But He is also holy and perfect in His justice. We must not overlook this, for when we do the tendency is to downplay or rationalize away our sin.
    And sin, in whatever form, is separation from God. The righteous anger Jesus displayed comes about because of the depth of His love. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us of His vast patience that all would come to Him.
    I believe that when we consider the fuller nature of God, we find that place of reverent respect in our heart. Once there, we are more likely to answer His loving call for deeper intimacy with Him.
    Blessings,
    Chuck

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is wonderful to know that JESUS loves us this much. I think we all yearn for purity of heart because the heart guides us so much and yet so often in the wrong direction! UGH! And so my life verse that I have said for years: Psalm 51: 10 “Create in me a pure heart O GOD, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Such a stark contrast between those two facets. We must remember to be gentle, but severe where required. Knowing when to enact each can be difficult but we can always ask God and He will always show us the way.

    Thank you Jennifer. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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