Lesson 9 -- first quarter 1996
January 28, 1996
© Copyright 1995, Christian Light Publications
People have a way of being oppressive and inflicting affliction on others. This can be done physically, verbally or psychologically. The natural response is to gauge our response by our strength. The natural man who perceives himself strong will do what he can to protect himself. Many will attack the attacker. The natural man who perceives himself weak will flee or bear. These responses are normal, bred into our flesh.
The abnormal response is the spiritual. In this scenario, the individual who perceives himself strong will flee or bear. This helps me distinguish between meekness and weakness. The weak bears because he can do nothing else. The meek bears because he has chosen to not exercise his power to protect, deliver and avenge himself.
In considering the meek response, we must also look at his tongue and his mind. Meekness affects both. Neither reviles, neither complains, neither glories or gloats in bearing. May God grant me quietness of tongue and heart whenever He calls on me to bear reviling, accusation, affliction and rejection.
Meekness also pays the bill. Little did Jesus' enemies realize that even as they "went into debt" by oppressing Him, He was gladly paying the price for their forgiveness. That gives meekness a redemptive quality. Jesus was suffering and dying so that He might be able to offer cleansing to those who were making Him suffer and die! No wonder meekness is a fruit of the Spirit! No one could yield such abnormal delicacy without God's Spirit in him.
Jesus' suffering and death mark the supreme height of peacemaking. We look on successful peacemakers with appreciation and respect. We bless those who guide warring parties to forgiveness, love and partnership. The beauty of peace may even make us wistful and wishful about being peacemakers ourselves. Then we must notice that our lesson says, "the chastisement of our peace was upon Him." One thing this tells me is that anyone wishing to serve as a peacemaker must go into it with a heart disposed to suffer for the sake of bringing peace.
The Son of God "is our peace" "having made peace through the blood of His cross" because He wanted "to guide our feet into the way of peace" (Ephesians 2:14; Colossians 1:20; Luke 1:79). Now I can understand a little better the relationship He drew between being peacemakers and being the children of God. The begotten of the Father are natural peacemakers! They pursue peace because they serve the Prince of Peace. The strive and suffer for peace because they wish to bless the warring ones, not because they hope for appreciation or recognition for themselves. Our generation and our churches suffer from a dearth of peacemakers. What are you willing to do to fill in the gap?
Who would you say are the sheep in this lesson? We went astray like sheep according to verse six, yet verse seven tells us that Jesus was treated as a lamb. Get the concept clearly in mind because it is so crucial to a proper understanding of leadership and authority. The Shepherd was treated as a sheep! And the Shepherd chose to respond as a sheep! This has another key concept closely related to it: the Shepherd taught His sheep how to be sheep! I find that absolutely amazing. May God continually remind you and me of this whenever we find ourselves in positions of authority and responsibility.
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