“Soft yet strong.”
Will read this on a package of toilet paper. He asked, “How can something be soft and strong?”
Why did we teach him to read?
I fumbled around with some words and it occurred to me that this could be a good teachable moment about manly strength and humility. But the right words wouldn’t come hither. I think I muttered something about Jesus and I don’t know what else. The ice cream in my shopping cart was melting.
After more thought, I finally have an answer for Will. He’ll have to subscribe to my blog.
First, Jesus wasn’t soft in the normal girly sense. But do a quick check of soft in a thesaurus and you’ll find tender. That’s a good place to start. Tender. Jesus was tender. He was soft-hearted.
He enjoyed having little children around Him.
He wept for Lazarus.
He was compassionate towards the adulterous woman and the woman with the issue of blood.
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing,” Jesus said. As He hung on the Cross.
So, Jesus was tender, but yet he was strong.
Some people wanted to stone the adulterous woman. Jesus said go ahead. Let the one without sin throw the first stone. It takes guts to defend a loose woman against men who may have rocks in their hands. And make them look stupid in the process.
Then there’s the time he swung a whip and drove out merchants from the temple.
Even as a young boy of 12 years old, He was uncharacteristically strong. His parents accidentally left town without Him for a couple of days. Did Jesus fret because He was left behind and all alone? Uh, no. He occupied His time teaching in the temple. Twelve years old.
His greatest show of strength was the Cross. He is God. He didn’t have to put His human self through the agony of the beating, the 12 inch spikes in His wrists and ankles and the spear in His side. He could have voted no to that plan. But He didn’t. Because He loves us.
The Cross. One act that demonstrates both soft, yet strong at the same time by the strongest, yet most tender person who ever walked this earth.