Jesus The Warrior King
The Warrior And The Gentle Shepherd
The extremes we see in Jesus are enough to make my head spin. Am I dealing with the Gentle Shepherd who held children in His arms and the one who did one on one mentoring with Mary Martha's sister - or am I dealing with an incredibly violent warrior whose garments are spattered crimson with the blood of battle?
Jesus - The Gentle Shepherd
First, let me sing the praises of the Gentle Shepherd. Hebrews explains that Jesus is an amazing King/Priest - one who offers His own innocent blood for our atonement. Going even deeper - it explains that he is deeply touched by all of our feelings - having felt them Himself. He's the best friend one could ever have.
The way He treated women is even more amazing than His gentle kindness toward little children. It was radically unconventional how He valued women - and eagerly engaged them in conversation and friendship. His conversation with the Samaritan woman even has an undeniable humor. Word by word He is ironic, humorous, mind-blowing and captivating. To say that he gets into her personal life is an understatement.
Imagine this dear lady telling her grandchildren all about it years later - first in awe, then in peals of laughter, and ending in total awe. The apostles came back to Jesus - each wearing his "heavy disciple" badge proudly on his chest. And there's Jesus not just talking to a Samaritan - but a female outcast - a woman of less than sterling reputation. Before it's over they figure she's been giving Him food when they weren't looking. Awkward!
For this dear woman any man, rabbi, friend or acquaintance who spoke so pleasantly and engagingly would have left a rich memory. But wrap your brain around the reality that this was the King Of The Universe - the long awaited Messiah - and that He actually cared and was even captivating in his manner of speech and endearing ways. Years and years later I'd be pinching myself if I were her. Did that REALLY HAPPEN?! Did He really speak with me so? I was a total loser until that fateful day when He asked me for a drink of water.
Here's paradox. Was He a gentle shepherd or brutally tough? See Him whipping the sheep in the temple into a stampede and kicking over the tables of the money changers and you get a glipse of that which He was capable of. The words of Psalm 2 come to mind:
"Kiss the son lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way - for His anger can flare up in a moment."
And His wrath was as righteous as it was sudden and unexpected. You just can't put Jesus in any kind of a box. In Him the opposites of kindness and brute strength meet and meld into one absolutely amazing Warrior King.
Other men have been sensitive. The philosopher Rousseau was creative and sensitive - and fervently believed in God and spontaneous beauty. Pietro Bembo - a writer of the Italian Renaissance - discoursed with deep sensitivity of the marvels of Platonic Love and the Beauty we see in God. But both kept mistresses, failed to be real men husbands or fathers - even though women craved their company and sensitivity. Such men seem more into self than God - more into the sensual than the spiritual - even if they were the opposite of other brutal men who saw women as objects to be used and abused.
They just weren't Jesus, you see. Jesus could be sensitive, loving and caring and thoroughly masculine at one and the same time.
I must be very blunt in my practical application. This discourse is aimed primarily at men - though there is a much needed warning, in this teaching, for women. Many men are so insecure that being sensitive and caring is a threat to life itself! They're all wrapped up in self and masculine pride. So yielding to God with a near feminine submissiveness is almost an emotional impossibility. That's got to change. Jesus was man enough to be sensitive. "Tough guys" are really just weak and immature.
But many outwardly sensitive guys are, also, very much caught up in self - just like Rousseau and Bembo. They make real men want to vomit - an appropriate reaction.
I'll spend hours dancing before the Lord. But God is just making me a better husband and father. And they have a higher claim on my time. It's not about me. No matter how sensitive and kind you become, do not forget your mandate to love and serve the unloved and unserved. This means caring for the elderly, taking on a "little brother", or repairing the buildings or equipment the believers are using. When you do these things you are showing real Love to your Lord.
Jesus miraculously combined the gentle, sensitive man with the highly disciplined warrior. You need to keep your relationships with the fairer sex discreet. I've had a lot thrown at me on the streets of Detroit and Grand Rapids. If you have discipline and good habits you will be unphased. The good news is that respect, discretion and distance actually INCREASE spiritual fellowship and the kind of Love God honors. Choose heroism over intimacy. God's people need men who are selfless and strong - like immovable supportive pillars in God's Holy Temple.
Jesus Made Close Friends - And Transformed Them Into Stong Leaders
So, in practical terms, being Christlike will help draw nearer to Jesus. The manly bonds of friendship that bind warrior to warrior are better, even, than romantic Love - just as scripture says regarding the amazing warriors David and Jonathan. Adore your Lord with that kind of Love and you will become much closer to your Lord.
I realize it's impossible, humanly speaking. But men need to combine the intimacy that comes from YIELDING to Jesus in a true bond of Love - with His strength and selflessness. Women, likewise, must combine the heart of a sister warrior with the feminine graces God so richly bestows on them.
Sister Warriorscomfort, Love, and crave intimate fellowship with God. They, too, take on a near masculine toughness - IN HIM.
So God takes two opposites - a sweet gentleness and a violently radical selflessness - and slams them together in the miracle of our Warrior King and Gentle Shepherd Jesus.
Pour out all your Love and affection on Him. He desires it. You bring joy to His heart. You please Him as you should. Then get out there and serve with strength. This will deepen your relationship with Jesus. You can't take any shortcuts. You can't keep avoiding brokenness and sensitivity, my friend. Nor can you just gush all kinds of emotion on Him and then ignore Jesus when you see Him in the face of a child, a prisoner, or someone who is old, weak and abandoned.
The balance you obtain will encourage you. You can be more emotional and sensitive. The high point of my day is when I am swept off my feet by a God who loves me more than I can begin to grasp. Each day I crave that time when all the world is sleeping - and my heart comes alive as His Spirit flows into my yielded mind and body. Since this frees me from wasting my life and inspires me to serve, it is very practical. If I ever start to get cocky He settles me down with a nice workload. Yet all of our serving is an absolute delight.
Isn't loving and serving in secret works of kindness the best way to say...
"I LOVE you Lord! I Love YOU, YOU, YOU my Lord!"
Seeking To Love With A True Love Takes You To The Field Of Battle - And Back To Paradise
I love this blog! It's like going to a [i]silent movie![/i] The images are so adeptly formatted, and your content is riveting!
I particularly like the quote below.
[quote]So God takes two opposites - a sweet gentleness and a violently radical selflessness - and slams them together in the miracle of our Warrior King and Gentle Shepherd Jesus.[/quote]
God has certainly given you a grand gift for writing, Kip. Your love and zeal for Him always comes through your work. Thank you so much for having shared this with us.