“His winnowing fork is in his hand,
and he will clear his threshing floor,
gathering his wheat into the barn
and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
Matthew 3:12 (NIV)
As a preschooler in Sunday School I loved to bellow out the children’s song, “Gentle Jesus meek and mild look upon this little child. Pity my simplicity, suffer me to come to Thee.” Little did I know that the words bordered on heresy. Well at least the word “mild” used to describe Jesus was not totally accurate.
The man who prepared the way for our Lord was His older cousin John the Baptist. Our verse today is a sample of his preaching about the Coming One, his cousin Jesus. John went about telling the people to watch out for the One to Come because He was going to be a purging fire. Sadly John did not live to see his prophecies concerning Jesus’ ministry fulfilled.
Months after John was executed our Lord preached the fiery sermon recorded in Matthew 23. The purging ministry John envisioned came to pass soon enough but not soon enough for John to be comforted in the knowledge that he had accurately portrayed the Messiah.
When we look at Jesus around children we see someone who is indeed mild. He loved being with the children and blessing them. He took them in His arms, or sat them on His lap and spoke gentle words of grace to them.
However, there was another side to the ministry of Jesus that we are uncomfortable talking about. This is the troublemaking side where He would go after hypocrites (Matthew 23), denounce sin, and prophesy judgment upon the impenitent. When Jesus appears in this manner we all seek to draw away from the scene. A Jesus that is only “meek and mild” is a Jesus we feel at ease being around.
Sadly we must meet this Jesus in His full-orbed ministry if He is going to do us any good. We must hear Him denounce sin without any excuses or justifications. We need to understand what He meant when He said,
“I have come to call sinners to repentance.”
Unless today we are willing to hear Jesus judge us for our sins, the day will come when He shall bring us before His court of justice and judge us as sinners and pronounce the sentence of eternal death on us. We cannot escape the judgment for our sins if we refuse to renounce them and turn away from them to Jesus today.
Jesus is very willing to have a “meek and mild” relationship with us if we come humbly to Him seeking forgiveness and a relationship with Him. But if we are unwilling to have Jesus as our Saviour now then later He will become our Judge. Come to Him and come today.