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“Come to me, all those exhausted and overloaded, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on your shoulders and learn from me, because I am meek and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my load is light” (Matt 11:28-30).

Meekness was one of the most fundamental character traits of Jesus Christ. In fact, in some ways, I believe it was his central character trait. I say this for two reasons.

First, meekness typically expresses itself through gentleness, and Jesus was the most gentle man who ever lived. Even under the fire of criticism, Jesus did not quarrel with his enemies to defend himself. He often refrained from personal conflict in order to touch the lives of the afflicted, just as the Scriptures declared the Messiah would do. “He will not quarrel, nor cry out; nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. A battered reed He will not break off, and a smoldering wick He will not put out” (Matt 12:19-20).

Though Jesus was perfectly holy, he did not intimidate or repulse sinners. Instead, he welcomed them. He ate meals with them and enjoyed their company. With respect and love, he valued them as those made in God’s image. Though he possessed the power to destroy the rebellious human race, he chose to come among them as one of them, kindly and tenderly, to heal and forgive them. That is gentleness. There has been no more gentle person in all of history than Jesus Christ.

The Second reason, and more, coming tomorrow…