All the virtues which appeared in Christ shone brightest in the close of His life, under the trials He then met. Eminent virtue always shows brightest in the fire. Pure gold shows its purity chiefly in the furnace. It was chiefly under those trials which Christ endured in the close of His life that His love to God, His honor of God’s majesty, His regard to the honor of His law, His spirit of obedience, His humility, contempt of the world, His patience, meekness, and spirit of forgiveness towards men, appeared. Indeed, everything that Christ did to work out redemption for us appears mainly in the close of His life. Here mainly is His satisfaction for sin, and here chiefly is His merit of eternal life for sinners, and here chiefly appears the brightness of His example which He has set us for imitation.
It is impossible to contemplate the character of Jesus, with serious and devout attention, and not be charmed with it. We see in Him, all the human passions in the highest perfection. His joys were grave, His griefs were just. His gentleness and His severity, His holiness and His humanity – were in perfect harmony with each other. He manifested great tenderness, and genuine affection, and sensibility to human woe on all occasions.
[The] identification of the suffering Servant with the promised messianic King was never conceived as a possibility in Judaism. How can the glorious Messiah at one and the same time be one who judges the earth, slays the wicked with the breath of His lips, and also be one who passively suffers death by His enemies? Here we come face to face with the revolutionary new understanding of Jesus of Nazareth concerning the mission of the promised Messiah. He united three different concepts of Israel’s prophecy – the coming Davidic King; the Son of Man (in Daniel 7); the suffering Servant (in Isaiah 42-53) – all in one Person: Himself.
[Jesus Christ’s] zeal never degenerated into passion, nor His constancy into obstinacy, nor His benevolence into weakness, nor His tenderness into sentimentality. His unworldliness was free from indifference and unsociability, His dignity from pride and presumption, His affectability from undue familiarity, His self-denial from moroseness, His temperance from austerity. He combined child-like innocency with manly strength, absorbing devotion to God with untiring interest in the welfare of man, tender love to the sinner with uncompromising severity against sin, commanding dignity with winning humility, fearless courage with wise caution, unyielding firmness with sweet gentleness!
Those who have minutely studied the character of the Saviour will find it difficult to determine whether there is most to admire or to imitate in it – there is so much of both.
The character of Jesus Christ:
Humble service (John 13:1-5).
Holiness (I Peter 1:15-16).
Righteousness (I John 3:7).
Purity (I John 3:3).
Love (Ephesians 5:1-2).
Forgiveness (Colossians 3:13).
Compassion (Ephesians 4:32).
Endurance (Hebrews 12:2-4).
Submission (I Peter 2:21-4).
Humility, obedience (Philippians 2:5-8).
Kindness (Luke 6:35).
Generous giving (II Corinthians 8:1-9).