Jesus, meek and mild, is a mental picture many of us have embraced
since childhood. We love the idea of the softly spoken shepherd
tenderly leading His sheep, don’t we?
There is a good reason Psalm
23 is one of the most often quoted and well-loved Bible passages. It
comforts us to know our Shepherd lovingly cares for us, leads us over
difficult paths, and tends to our needs. Many are the nights
when, tossing and turning over painful situations, I too have drifted
into sleep reminding myself of my Shepherd’s faithful watchfulness
the heart of Christ is many faceted. Jesus is not only our
Shepherd, He is our Prophet, Commander, High Priest, Apostle and
King. There is an aspect of His character that is often
(willingly?) overlooked, and that is His unbendable resolve.
While His Shepherd’s rod and staff may comfort and reassure us, His
Hands also hold a sceptre of righteousness and a rod of iron with
which to rule the nations.
his letter Ps. Abedini talks about God using his sufferings to make
him into a ‘man of steel’. “I always wanted God
to make me a godly man. I didn’t realise in order to become a godly
man I would have to become a man of steel” he writes.
might Ps. Abedini mean when he refers to becoming a ‘man of
steel’? I believe he is speaking of steadfast, purposeful
resolve. The kind of fixed and unwavering resolve demonstrated
by Jesus in the gospels, in those parts we often prefer to skip over
because they don’t fit well with our need for the comforting,
gentle Shepherd image so popular in today’s Christian culture.
Steel is forged through intense heat by a complex process of
refinement. It is made from iron ore found naturally in the
earth, and is iron at the most refined stage known to man.
we care to look, we can see this steely resolve in Jesus’
interactions with the religious authorities, with His family, with
His disciples and with the world. “Who is my mother and who
are my brothers?” He asks within earshot of His natural family
waiting outside. Then stretching His hand towards His
followers: “Here are my mother and my brothers!¹” He fashions a
whip and takes angrily after the money changers and traders at the
To a man requesting some time to wait for his
father’s death he uncompromisingly replies: “Let the dead
bury their own dead³.”
then of course there are those deeply confronting words to Peter:
“Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not
mindful of the things of God, but the things of men⁴.“
Ouch! None of us would want to be on the receiving
end of that one, would we?
time arrived when Jesus “steadfastly set His face to go to
Jerusalem” and the impending Cross. His resoluteness was such
that it must have been evident in His very face and manner, for a
whole village of Samaritans refused to receive Him “because His
face was set for the journey to Jerusalemᵃ”. Gentle Jesus
meek and mild, healer and miracle worker was welcome. This Man
of steel with His face set towards His life’s mission was not.
who is this un-shepherd like Jesus we don’t often talk about?
He’s a man on a mission from His Father and no-one, not the host of
Hell, the religious authorities, or even those He loves dearly, will
divert Him. This is a man who will not be swayed, detoured or
distracted. He has set His face.
lies a secret that Ps. Abedini and no doubt many others in his
situation have learned and embraced. Paul expressed it this way
in His fervent prayer for the Ephesian church:
He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be
strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner manᵇ”
be strengthened with might in the inner man! Might that is
steadfast, immoveable and undaunted by whatever besets us; might that
knows unquestioningly our identity in Christ, our eternal future and
our present purpose; might to walk this earth with faith like
steel and a backbone of iron; might to stand firm and unflinching for
Christ when everything around us is being redefined, shaken,
dismantled or demolished.
kind of might is not human determination or strength of character.
It cannot be gained by wishful thinking or strident religious
discipline. It is supernatural (dunamis) power imparted
into our spirits, our inner man. And it is bestowed by God alone on
those who desire to walk as Christ walked.
too want to be made of this kind of steel. This also is my
prayer for the Bride.
grant to us also this inner steel, this inner might, that we may be
fit for the Kingdom you are bestowing upon us, that we may stand
undaunted amidst the spiritual flood of uncertainty and fear
overtaking this world. Most of all may we now know what it is with
Christ to resolutely ‘set our face’!
having put his hand to the plough and looking back, is fit for the
Kingdom of God.” Jesus