Jesus is perfect!
Our understanding of him is oftentimes imperfect!
We labour under the presence of our own biases. Our prejudices concerning different character traits are often imposed upon the Son of God. Therefore some see him as tender with a touch of strength, and others see him as uncompromising with a touch of tenderness.
In Luke 13:34,35 we see Jesus lamenting over Jerusalem. “How often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings. . .” The pathos of his words are stirring and we are compelled to recognize the tenderness of Jesus toward a city that would not accept him. Even in verse 35 when he states, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate:” we are likewise compelled to acknowledge the presence of tenderness and yea, even anguish concerning the ultimate judgment of their unbelief.
Before we leave the next chapter (14) we find Jesus pressing a multitude with the demands of discipleship. “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” These are uncompromising words. They leave us edgy and uncomfortable with the demands being pressed upon us. In verse 28 we are challenged to count the cost. In verse 31 we are pressed to first to consult whether we have what it takes.
It seems we need be careful about so extolling one aspect of his divine beauty that we diminish other characteristics which are equally divine and glorious. We must discipline our thinking to appreciate who he is in his totality.
We must rejoice in that fact that he is both uncompromisingly tender and tenderly uncompromising!