Jesus is the most influential figure in human history. More than two billion people claim him as Lord. Countless books retell his story and reflect on his teaching. Countless songs give him praise, and the number of hymns grows daily. Church buildings erected in his honor are scattered liberally around the globe.
How did Jesus attain to such greatness? He led no army. He never called for the overthrow of any government. He never marched, protested, or raised a clamor of any kind. He even discouraged his disciples from making him more popular than he already was. The Bible says that “many followed him, and he healed them all and ordered them not to make him known” (Matt. 12:15-16).
Jesus changed the world – not with a clenched fist but with an extended hand. The prophet Isaiah predicted: “Behold, my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel or cry aloud, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets; a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench, until he brings justice to victory; and in his name the Gentiles will hope” (Matt. 12:18-21). A bruised reed is extremely fragile, but Jesus doesn’t break it. A smoldering wick is scarcely burning, but Jesus doesn’t snuff it out.
Our Lord was tenderness itself when dealing with the vulnerable, the needy, and the hurting. But we sometimes fail to imitate him. We carelessly break the bruised reed and blow out the smoldering wick. We forget that impatience, quick temper, and harshness may crush the spirits of a child, a struggling spouse, a stressed-out coworker, or a discouraged Christian brother or sister.