What Manner of Man:
A Weekly Program to Better Know the Savior
Physical Endurance and Power
By Linda and Richard Eyre
Note: Each week this column provides a short essay on one particular aspect or facet of the Lord’s personality and character. It is intended that the reader focus on this facet while partaking of the sacrament this Sunday. (Click here to read full introductory column.) And if you’re interested in traveling with the Eyres and getting to know them in person, visit MeridianTrips.com
When we think of strength, what comes to mind? Physical strength and stamina? Mental strength to pursue a goal at great odds? Spiritual strength – an ultimate, inner power to fall back on?
By any aspect, the true measure of strength is the life of Jesus Christ. His strength was total, complete, profound, and all-encompassing.
Consider first the Master’s physical strength. Much of our traditional Christian art portrays Jesus as frail, small and delicate – an effort, perhaps, to depict his sensitivity and tenderness. But the Savior was, physically, strong enough to fast for forty days and begin his earthly ministry. While such an event most certainly required spiritual strength, it also demanded physical stamina.
One poem, though it contains only the impressions of the poet and partakes of poetic license, perhaps catches the dimension of physical vigor in the Savior’s life. (Fere is an archaic word meaning companion or comrade):
Ha’ we lost the goodliest fere o’ all,
For the priests and the gallows tree;
Aye lover he was of brawny men
O’ ships and the open sea.
I ha’ seen him drive a hundred men
Wi‘ a bundle o’ cords swing free
That they took the high and holy house
For their pawn and treasury.
Ye ha’ seen me heal the lame and blind
And wake the dead, says he.
Ye shall see one things to master all:
How brave a man dies on the tree.
I ha’ seen him cow a thousand men
On the hills o’ Galilee.
They whines as he walked out calm between
Wi‘ his eyes like the grey o’ the sea.
A master of men was the goodly fere,
A mate of the wind and sea.
If they thing they ha’ slain our goodly fere
They are fools eternally.
(Ezra Pound, “Ballad of the Goodly Fere,” portions only)
The Savior’s physical strength certainly was impressive. Imagine the stamina required to be always in the Spirit, always sensitive and empathetic to the needs of others, always ready to teach and to lead.
Knowing, as we do, the strength needed to overcome even a single sin, imagine the strength required to take on the agony of all men’s sins.
Next week we will think about Christ’s mental and emotional discipline.
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