The Gentle Giant

Larry Holmes was the heavy weight boxing champion from 1978-1983. He won his first 48 professional bouts, including victories over Ken Norton and Muhammad Ali. He had 20 successful title defenses. We lived in Easton during those years and I used to see him occasionally at a restaurant or running along the road. He was an ominous presence when you saw him up close. You did not want to be on the wrong side of the “Easton Assassin”. Yet to his  young daughters and family he was gentle and kind and loving. Larry Holmes was frightening and he was loving.

I sometimes think about our Lord Jesus Christ who is almighty God, the creator of the universe, all knowing, all powerful, the conqueror of sin and death and the devil. Look at the mountains and the oceans and know that the Lord made them. In this context, he is inapproachable. Who would dare to utter a word in his presence.

Yet we also know of his gentleness, tenderness, kindness, and his love…Jesus, the very definition of love. He gave everything in order to save us. Look how the Lord approaches the poor sinner…. always with kindness and hope and help. When he appeared to the disciples after the resurrection, we see the following description in Luke chapter 24:

“As they were saying this, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you.”  But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit.  And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts?  See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have.”  And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.  And while they still disbelieved for joy, and wondered, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish,  and he took it and ate before them.  … then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures.” (Luke 24: 35-45)

He showed precise care for them …  offering them peace, concerned about their anxiety and confusion, helping them to understand and believe, patiently helping them. He didn’t chastise them for their weaknesses and failings and sin. Almighty God was tender with them. And the good news is that Almighty God is tender with us. So let us not fail to approach our Lord in our times of need. He will be there to help us.

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