I knew Love was the primary motivation (John 3:16), but how did he do it in the everyday situations? How did He demonstrate that Love with the people around Him? Was there a pattern in His interactions that I could learn from? Were there constant character traits that were shown? Was there someting that attracted them to Him and, conversly, was there something that prevented Him to show His love to them?
My first question was: Did Christ have overarching attributes that qualified who He was? Yes. I used John 1:14,17 as my foundation: Christ, full of Grace and Truth. My first thesis was that His contact with people was imbued with both amazing Grace and godly Truth.
My second question pertained to the initial contact He made with others. I had already studied why His interactions with the Pharisees were so different than the others. But what was the common thread between those who were attracted to Him? or those He sought out? Did they commonly demonstrate something I could learn? My thesis here was that both faith and humility were present at the scene.
My third question was one of process. Is there a particular recurring order Christ prefers when He interacts? Does He demonstrate Grace before Truth? or vice versa? My analysis showed that Grace (more often then not) preceded Truth.
First, I took the 'Harmony of the Gospels'. The episode structure within the table is based on Edward Robinson's A Harmony of the Gospels in Greek as well as Steven L. Cox and Kendell H Easley's Harmony of the Gospels. I wanted to establish a chronology for the events of the life of Jesus depicted in the four canonical gospels.
Second, I excluded 2 particular relationships:
- His dealings with the Pharisees because their pride prevented any graceful contact with Him
- His teachings and parables to the followers and disciples because it was an on-going three year (often one way) relationship
I was amazed to discover that Jesus had a model He used very often with the people around Him. He started by establishing contact by going to see someone, accepting someone's request for Him or sitting down with strangers who unknowingly needed Him. He was very gracious with His time with sinners, lepers, tax collectors, Samaritans and other of society's refuse. He gave a lot of Himself.
Once He established the contact, once He developed the relationship, He gave some form of grace. It could be a healing, an encouragement, a protection from others, a glimpse of the Kingdom, a forgiveness, a touch, a listening, a relief of whatever suffering they had.
Then, after dispensing grace, He would finish with a certain truth about God or command future actions to take. Whether it was 'go and sin no more' or 'Do not tell anyone what has happened here', Christ would finish the interaction with a teaching for the crowd or an exhortation for the graced one.
The document below takes each interaction, regrouping them where they appeared in the Gospel account. I then separated the interaction in 3 parts, with the references of the verses that pertain to:
1. The relationship established with Humility and / or Faith
2. The acts of or explanations on Grace
3. The acts of or explanations on Truth
May it become my personal relationship model.