Spirit of Grace Ministries
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Spirit of Grace Ministries
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Jesus the Gentleman

Jesus with disciples

by Dennis Pollock

That Jesus was born in a stable seems one of history’s greatest ironies. God makes an appearance upon the stage of human drama, and is born as a baby in a habitation for livestock. What we sometimes miss is the profound principle that dictated the necessity of such a birthplace. Even as a baby making His entrance into the world of sin-steeped humanity, Jesus was demonstrating one of the most fundamental principles we can ever grasp about the nature of our Creator – a concept that many have missed to their own peril. Jesus was not born in a stable due to a natural preference for lowly things. When you take your first tour of heaven you will find that God has a distinct preference for beauty and order. The presence of golden streets, pearly gates, dazzling robes, and absolute perfection of form and design testify that God is a lover of things beautiful and majestic.

No, our Savior ended up in the barn for the same reason He has been cast out and kept out of people’s lives for the last two thousand years – there was no room for Him in the inn. Behind this simple thought is a truth that affects every one of us every day. Even as a newborn, Jesus was demonstrating a simple, yet powerful reality, and that reality is this: Jesus is a Gentleman who goes where He is made welcome and quietly leaves when it is made clear He is not welcome. We find this scattered throughout the gospels in such a way as to be unmistakable. It is summed up in this: Jesus was always powerfully drawn to those people and places where He was welcomed and sought after, but soon left those situations and places where He was not wanted.

When Jesus began to talk with the Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob, she knew immediately He was no ordinary man. Within a short conversation, He revealed His knowledge of her five previous husbands, her present immoral relationship, and proclaimed Himself as the Fountain of Living Waters. She was so impressed that she went back home without her water pot. Gathering her neighbors and townspeople together, she brought them to Jesus. When they found out for themselves the divine grace and mysterious attraction of this Jewish prophet, they “urged Him to stay with them” (John 4:40).

Jesus clearly had a busy schedule and a divine agenda. But a big part of that agenda had to do with responding to the requests of those whom God had touched. Thus we find that He didn’t make an excuse, or inform them of His crammed itinerary – He simply stayed there two more days, just as they had requested.

The 1st Prophecy Experts

A similar occurrence happened after His resurrection. Jesus appeared to two men who were walking from Jerusalem to a nearby village, and He gave them the Bible study of all Bible studies. He shared from the Old Testament Scriptures all the prophecies that pertained to His first coming. (They must have been walking very slowly and He must have been talking very rapidly!) These two men surely became the first “Bible prophecy conference speakers” as they no doubt shared the things they had learned with the disciples and any who would listen.

At the end of their seven mile walk, we learn a curious fact: “Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther” (Luke 24:28). Jesus was prepared to go on His way. Had He done so, they might never have realized that it was Jesus Himself who shared these wonderful prophecies with them. But they could not bear to let Him go. We read: “They constrained Him, saying, ‘Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent’” (Luke 24:29).

Once again Jesus yields to human request. The Bible tells us that Jesus changes His schedule, and agrees to have a meal with them, or at least, the beginning of a meal. As He blesses the bread and breaks it, the disciples’ eyes are opened and they recognize that this remarkable Bible teacher is none other than Christ Himself. Their insistence upon His staying with them resulted in an incredible revelation and a moment that would impact their hearts and lives for the rest of their days.

Accessible Savior

knockingWe find that the Jesus revealed in the gospels is a very accommodating Savior. Most highly successful men keep themselves on strict schedules, and woe to that man or woman who tries to persuade them to deviate from their pre-set plans. Yet the most important Man that ever lived, the Man who had no time for Himself was always ready to change everything to respond to the request of a single common man or woman. When people asked Him to come and heal a loved one, He always responded. We have no record whatsoever of Jesus telling someone that He simply was too busy to do that. It seems that a simple request had a mysterious influence over Jesus, making Him willing to change His plans and bringing all His formidable powers and will to bear on the particular problem at hand.

In the last book of the Bible, we find Jesus summing up this awesome reality by declaring, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20). Jesus standing at the door and knocking!!! He doesn’t need to knock. He is holding the very atoms of that door together by the word of His power. And yet, He knocks. Gracious Gentleman that He is, He waits to be invited, unwilling to go where He is not welcome.

Becoming Receivers

People who enter houses uninvited are thieves and trespassers. Jesus is neither. He will either enter by invitation, or He will stay outside. To make Jesus and His gifts welcome is the essence of the Christian life. We begin by receiving His gift of eternal life and the forgiveness of our sins. We continue through life as “receivers,” asking, trusting, and receiving His awesome grace in our lives from day to day, and from glory to glory. As receivers, we base our confidence upon the character of Jesus as revealed in the Scriptures. We take Him for what the Bible reveals Him to be: a willing Savior and bountiful bestower of grace to all who come to Him.

Peter begged Jesus to allow him to walk on the water. Now to most of us that might seem a pretty trivial request. We might have told Peter something like, “Forget about walking on water and concentrate on walking with God.” Jesus, however granted the request. He gave no scolding for asking a silly thing; He simply said, “Come.”

Even demons found Jesus willing to accommodate them at times. When He was about to expel them from Legion, the demoniac, the demons begged Him to let them go make their home with the pigs. While their dwelling proved extremely temporary, nevertheless our Lord’s response was in the affirmative, even to the demons (Mark 5:12,13).

The Jesus we find in the gospels is amazingly accessible and compliant. He goes where He is asked, grants requests to those who utter them, heals those who come to Him, and changes His schedule immediately to satisfy the demands of those who need His personal attention. Is it any wonder that enormous crowds constantly surrounded Him? Until Jesus came, the Jews saw God as the One who thundered from Mount Sinai, and whose presence inspired terror. Now God was revealing Himself in a whole new way. Without compromising His holiness, He was showing, through Jesus, that He is our compassionate and caring Father, whose good pleasure it is to respond to the hurts and requests of His children.

Understanding the accessibility of Jesus encourages us to pray as almost nothing else does. Let’s face it – prayer as a duty has never been a sufficient motivator. Some mistakenly think that the reason for Christian prayerlessness is laziness. The truth is that it is the result of poor vision. Because Christians do not realize the incredible opportunities available to them in prayer, their mouths are silent and their devotional times erratic.

Suppose, as you retire for bed one evening, you are startled to find a ten foot figure in your bedroom. With shining hair and glowing face, you quickly conclude this is no ordinary man. The angel says to you, “Don’t be afraid. You have found favor with God. And He has sent me to tell you that at precisely 6:00 a.m. tomorrow morning, and for the next thirty minutes He will hear and answer every request you may utter. No prayer will be turned down, and all that you ask, you will receive.”

Do you suppose you might have any trouble getting up early that next day for prayer? I should think not. Whatever else you had planned for that morning, you would be on your knees promptly at six praying hard and fast. You’d probably even pray a little past the 6:30 deadline just to be on the safe side. It is highly unlikely that such an event will ever happen to you. But God has made you some promises in His Word. He has said, “Ask and it will be given to you” (Matthew 7:7). He has said, “Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them” (Mark 11:24). So why don’t we believe Him?

As willing as the Father and the Son are to bless us, it seems that they have ordained that prayer play a key role in the dispensing of their mercies. James tells us that “You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2). The Father invites us to “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3). Jesus exhorts, “If you ask anything in My name I will do it” (John 14:14). It seems God almost goes out of His way to impress His willingness upon us. He asks us not to try to wrestle blessings out of His hands, but to open our arms to receive that which He delights to give. But we must ask!

Open Mouths & Full Hearts

The writer of Hebrews tells us that he who would come to God “must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). In Psalms, God instructs His people, “Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it” (Psalms 81:10). Closed mouths are hard to fill.
What a Savior we have! Awesome and yet approachable, spotless yet merciful, as we read the gospels we see the willing Jesus – willing to forgive, willing to respond to our requests, and willing to come into our lives and situations with His magnificent grace, and bring about positive change.
There is but one question to consider. Is the Jesus we call upon in heaven a different Jesus than the One we read about in the gospels? Did He somehow change when He took His position seated at the right hand of the Father? Is He no longer moved with compassion at the feelings of our infirmities? Has He lost His willing nature by spending time in the realm of glory? Do His tears of compassion no longer flow?

The Bible’s answer is a resounding No! Jesus is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). The same loving, compassionate, accessible, concerned, caring, powerful Savior who walked the dusty roads of Israel two thousand years ago is now seated at the right hand of the Father. He still cares, He still listens to the stumbling requests of desperate men and women, and He still makes His dwelling place in the lives and hearts of those who want Him. But He must be invited. He must be asked. He is a Gentleman.

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