Jesus reached out to people everywhere he went because he cared about everyone he met.
Every time Jesus encountered and connected with people, he demonstrated grace, forgiveness and love. He didn’t manufacture or fake it. He didn’t hold back or give up. Jesus was authentic, compassionate and relentless.
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, kind and loving.
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 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 trap 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 often when you and I are hurt or offended by others, we say and do things we shouldn’t. We give in to that ugly urge to get even. We plot revenge. 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 holy warrior angels when the soldiers shoved and struck him.
Our Savior did something radical and unexpected. He didn’t retaliate. He didn’t seek revenge. Not 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.
Will you follow our Savior’s example and walk in his footsteps?