Gentle and Lowly
Sin has a seditious way of sabotaging us. It disguises, divides, and destroys, leaving in its wake brokenness, sadness, and despair.
Yet, in the very middle of that hellish nightmare, Jesus stands and offers mercy. Grace. Love. Forgiveness. Yes, through his atoning death and resurrection, Jesus breaks into the proud parade of Satan’s temporary strut with his meek and kind posture of sacrificial servanthood, assuring sinners he is willing and able to rescue them.
This is the message behind Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28-30—“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Ah, gentle. Lowly in heart. Just what the doctor ordered for guilty, grimy sinners.
These words in Matthew’s account, which are Jesus’ own description of his character and heart, have been beautifully enlarged for me in Dane Ortlund’s book Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers. Surprisingly, it has woven itself well into the doctrine of Union with Christ, as many of its short, 23 chapters connect to the incredible benefits of being “in Christ.” I highly recommend it, especially during this time when we are savoring our union with Christ as a church collectively in our current teaching series.
Essentially, Dane revisits the works of several Puritans, and explores specific verses upon which they reflect, verses that accentuate our Savior’s heart for sinners. All along the way, he reminds the reader that “you might know that Christ died and rose again on your behalf to rinse you clean of all your sin; but do you know his deepest heart for you? Do you live with an awareness not only of his atoning work for your sinfulness but also of his longing heart amid your sinfulness?”
If you find yourself in the group of “the discouraged, the frustrated, the weary, the disenchanted, the cynical, the empty…those running on fumes…those whose Christian lives feel like constantly running up a descending escalator,” this book will be a solace to your soul and open up the heart of Christ to you in ways you’ve not considered before.