Jesus reached out to people everywhere he went because he cared about everyone he met.
With amazing grace and relentless love, Jesus encountered and connected with people. He demonstrated grace, forgiveness and compassion. He didn’t manufacture it. He didn’t fake it. He didn’t hold back. Jesus was authentic and down-to-earth.
Our Savior opened his heart and extended his hands to others. He cared, and people knew it. He touched, and people felt it. Jesus was gracious, loving and compassionate.
He greeted, accepted and helped people. He acknowledged and affirmed them. That’s why so many people were attracted to him—and that’s why they followed him.
They knew Jesus cared with no strings attached. They saw him serve with grace and humility. They watched him heal miraculously. They heard him speak boldly and gently.
And yet, Jesus was so misunderstood and maligned. Clergymen criticized him. Friends deserted him. Leaders hated him. Sinners accused him. Soldiers hit him.
The religious Pharisees and Sadducees tried to trick and entrap him. They hated and rejected him. That’s why they plotted to capture and kill him.
Our sinless Savior was betrayed by a fickle friend and arrested by Roman soldiers. Falsely accused and condemned. Bullied and mocked. Disrobed and whipped. Speared and crucified.
Our gentle Shepherd was condemned by an agitated mob. And yet he endured everything without getting angry or lashing out. He refused to strike back, choosing instead to forgive.
But when you and I are hurt and offended by others, we often say and do things we shouldn’t. We give in to that ugly urge to get even. We plot revenge. Get defensive. Attack and retaliate. Spit venom and say hurtful words. Go after a pound of flesh.
But not Jesus. He did nothing of the sort. “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly …” (1 Peter 2:23). He didn’t say a word when the crowd harassed and hurt him. He didn’t summon his holy warrior angels when the soldiers struck him.
Our Savior did something so radical and unexpected. He didn’t retaliate. He didn’t seek revenge. Not even once. Instead, he endured awful abuse and intense suffering with unusual dignity, joy and strength. He extended undeserved grace—and forgave freely.
That’s what Jesus taught and did—and that’s why Paul taught, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil” (Romans 12:17). Our Savior endured extreme suffering—and demonstrated how to respond to the hurts and wrongs of life.
Today, Jesus invites and empowers us to follow his example and walk in his footsteps!