The Gracious Sayings of Jesus
“A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench.”
Yesterday I wrote a piece on “The Hard Sayings of Jesus”. As I said, I did this for several reasons. The simple but sad truth is this: most folks – and that includes most Christians – do not really want the real Jesus, the Jesus as is found in the Bible. Instead, what they want is a Santa Claus sort of deity who gives goodies to one and all, who is always happy with everyone, and is not demanding of any of them.
They not only want such a false Jesus, but that is how they present him to others. Thus many non-Christians are sold a bill of goods as to who Jesus really is. They are told if they come to Christ they can have their best life now; that all their problems will be solved; that they can get health, wealth and all that they desire.
Thus believers and non-believers alike are getting a distorted gospel. They certainly are NOT getting the whole counsel of God. We must not be guilty of presenting a partial, incomplete and unbalanced Jesus. As I said in my conclusion to that article:
Sure, Jesus said many warm, inviting, comforting and loving things as well. But the sad truth is, most folks today only want to hear those sorts of words, while ignoring the rest. But that cannot be done. It is not up to us to pick and choose what we like about the teachings of Jesus. We either accept the whole package or we get none of it at all. https://billmuehlenberg.com/2022/10/08/the-hard-sayings-of-jesus/
So here I do want to give some of those other sorts of sayings of Jesus. But let me say a few things about them first:
-Like yesterday, I will confine myself to what is found in the gospel of Matthew. But the other three gospels would give a similar picture.
-And since Jesus is God, we could of course look at the entire Bible to get more on this. As Charles Spurgeon put it: “From every text in the Bible there is a road to Jesus Christ.”
-Also, it can be noted that there are fewer of these sayings than the harder, harsher and more demanding ones. Indeed, if I included all the “woe” sayings and the many warnings of hell and future punishment, there would be a good deal more of the hard ones.
-In addition, not all of what follows are proper sayings or teachings: some are just the words Jesus spoke as he did various things. So even though his more gracious teachings may be fewer, we have to add to them his gracious actions, be they various healing miracles or acts of kindness and compassion, and so on.
-And even in these kind words we sometimes find words of rebuke mingled in with them.
-Lastly, the reason most folks have such a distorted view of Jesus is they simply do not read their Bibles. That is the biggest cause of our false perceptions and incorrect views of our Lord.
Here then are the main sayings of Jesus in Matthew revealing his love, tenderness and graciousness:
Matthew 6:25-33 Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 7:7-11 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Matthew 12:15-21 Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all and ordered them not to make him known. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah:
“Behold, my servant whom I have chosen,
my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased.
I will put my Spirit upon him,
and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
He will not quarrel or cry aloud,
nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets;
bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not quench,
until he brings justice to victory;
and in his name the Gentiles will hope.”
Matthew 15:32 Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.”
Matthew 18:12-14 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.
Matthew 18:21-22 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
Matthew 19:13-15 Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away.
Matthew 20:25-28 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Matthew 20:32-34 And stopping, Jesus called them and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him.
Matthew 23:37-39 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
Matthew 26:10-13 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”
These are all wonderful sayings, teachings and words of Jesus. They reflect a wonderful saviour and a wonderful God. Some moving words from a sermon preached by Charles Spurgeon in 1891 are worth closing with here:
What I have to say lastly is this: how greatly I desire that you who are not yet enlisted in my Lord’s band would come to Him because you see what a kind and gracious Lord He is! Young men, if you could see our Captain, you would down on your knees and beg Him to let you enter the ranks of those who follow Him.
It is heaven to serve Jesus. I am a recruiting sergeant, and I would fain find a few recruits at this moment. Every man must serve somebody: we have no choice as to that fact. Those who have no master are slaves to themselves. Depend upon it, you will either serve Satan or Christ, either self or the Saviour….
If there is anything that is gracious, generous, kind, and tender, yea lavish and superabundant in love, you always find it in Him. These forty years and more have I served Him, blessed be His name! And I have had nothing but love from Him.
I would be glad to continue yet another forty years in the same dear service here below if so it pleased Him. His service is life, peace, joy. Oh, that you would enter on it at once! God help you to enlist under the banner of Jesus even this day! Amen.”