One mark of love is gentleness. Jesus was gentle with all people, particularly with people who were battered by life. Jesus loved especially those who had fallen deeply into sin. He came to help such people because they are rejected by everybody else. The woman caught in adultery, the thief on the cross, rejected criminals; Jesus went to pick them up and encourage them. He saw the good points in those weak, sinful people, and He hoped for the best in everyone. You know, Jesus was a type of a person whom other people longed to be with, because He was so understanding, so kind and so gentle. Who are the people who avoided Jesus? Those who were proud, those who were hypocrites, and those who had secret sin which they were afraid He would expose.
We read in Matthew 12:20, "Jesus would not break a bruised or a battered reed and would not put off a dimly burning wick." A reed is a very small little thing. If it is bruised or battered, most people would throw it away and pick another reed, because reeds are cheap. But Jesus wouldn't do it. And a wick that is burning very dimly, Jesus would fan it to flame. That is what it says there. He would not quench a dimly burning wick. If you are like a battered reed - weak, most of your life broken, Jesus cares for you. He can bring you back into His perfect plan for your life, even if you are like a battered reed, or a dimly burning wick, or a wick that is about to die out.
Jesus saw the good points in people. He always hoped for the best. His love was not sentimental. He always sought the highest good. That is why He rebuked Peter with strong words of admonition. You can't rebuke people strongly unless you love them. When James and John were seeking for place of honour, He rebuked them. When they wanted to call down fire on the Samaritans, He rebuked them. He rebuked His disciples seven times for unbelief. Why? - Because He loved them. If He didn't care for them, then He would not have corrected them at all. He wouldn't have bothered if they went to hell or anywhere.
So we see that Jesus was not afraid of speaking the truth, even if it hurt others, because He loved them. He was concerned for their eternal good. He was not seeking a reputation for being known as a kind person. He was not concerned that His reputation for kindness would be lost if He spoke strong words. No, He loved other people more than He loved Himself. So, He was willing to sacrifice His reputation in order to help other people. He spoke the truth firmly because He did not want men to be ruined eternally. Essentially, in one sentence, we could say, the eternal welfare of men mattered more to Jesus Christ than their opinions about Him .
A true Christian is like that when He encounters other people; their eternal welfare means more to him than all their opinions of him. Once, when Peter was in the house of Cornelius, he was talking about the ministry of Jesus to them. He summed up the whole ministry of Jesus in one sentence: "Jesus went about doing good and delivering people who were oppressed by the devil" ( Acts 10:38 ). You see what the ministry of Jesus was? Doing good, and not just preaching. Not just saying nice words, but actually doing good to people and delivering them from the oppression of Satan. He didn't just want to win souls. He loved the total man - both the spiritual and physical.
He was concerned about man's physical need. There was a time when there were more than 4000 people who had been with Him for three days. We read about that in Matthew 15. Three days and they didn't eat anything. Jesus was concerned. He said, 'Let us provide them with some meal - something to eat.' He was concerned about man's physical need and that is why He taught us to pray, "Give us today our daily bread."Wherever He went, He did good not only to the souls of men, but to their bodies. He cared for people who were sick and suffering. He cared for the worst of sinners so much that His enemies would taunt Him saying, 'Oh He is a friend of tax collectors and sinners.' Yes, that is what He was. He was a friend of the most despised people in society, and a true man of God will be like that also.
You know you can be like that. What is hindering you from loving people who are despised by others; from loving people who are low in society? It is your own sense of dignity. You don't want to be like Jesus. You want to have a respectable type of Christianity with respectable type of people. No, it is not natural for men to go around becoming friends with the outcast of society like the lepers and people like that. But Jesus did that. You know, we seek to make friends with those whom we can get benefit from for ourselves. Our love is selfish. Jesus' love was selfless; it was pure. It is not by all these cultural refinement and nice words that we manifest the nature of Christ, it is by love - A love that seeks the good of others. A love that enables us to be their servants like Jesus was. Jesus washed their feet, not to impress them with His humility, but because He loved them.