Christians know that God loves them, but can easily feel that he is perpetually disappointed and frustrated, maybe even close to giving up on them. As a result, they focus a lot—and rightly so—on what Jesus has done to appease God’s wrath for sin. But how does Jesus Christ actually feel about his people amid all their sins and failures? This book draws us to Matthew 11, where Jesus describes himself as “gentle and lowly in heart,” longing for his people to find rest in him. The gospel flows from God’s deepest heart for his people, a heart of tender love for the sinful and suffering. These chapters take us into the depths of Christ’s very heart for sinners, diving deep into Bible passages that speak of who Christ is and encouraging readers with the affections of Christ for his people. His longing heart for sinners comforts and sustains readers in their up-and-down lives.
“The cumulative testimony of the four Gospels is that when Jesus Christ sees the fallenness of the world all about him, his deepest impulse, his most natural instinct, is to move toward that sin and suffering, not away from it.” (Page 30)
“The point in saying that Jesus is lowly is that he is accessible. For all his resplendent glory and dazzling holiness, his supreme uniqueness and otherness, no one in human history has ever been more approachable than Jesus Christ.” (Page 20)
“Meek. Humble. Gentle. Jesus is not trigger-happy. Not harsh, reactionary, easily exasperated. He is the most understanding person in the universe. The posture most natural to him is not a pointed finger but open arms.” (Page 19)
“When you come to Christ for mercy and love and help in your anguish and perplexity and sinfulness, you are going with the flow of his own deepest wishes, not against them.” (Page 38)
“it is impossible for the affectionate heart of Christ to be overcelebrated, made too much of, exaggerated.” (Page 29)
Gentle and Lowly comes from the pen of someone who has not just profited from reading the Puritans—but who, more importantly, has read the Bible under their tutelage. One short book can never be enough to convey all the glory of the character of Christ, but this book deftly unpacks something we often overlook: Christ is meek and lowly in heart and gives rest to those who labor and are burdened. Written with pastoral gentleness and quiet beauty, it teases out what twenty biblical texts contribute to this portrait of the heart of Christ, all of it brought together to bring comfort, strength, and rest to believers.
—D. A. Carson, Emeritus Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; Cofounder, The Gospel Coalition
On the rough, rocky, and often dark path between the ‘already’ and the ‘not yet,’ there is nothing your weary heart needs more than to know the beauty of the heart of Jesus. It is that beauty that alone has the power to overwhelm all the ugly you will encounter along the way. I have read no book that more carefully, thoroughly, and tenderly displays Christ’s heart than what Dane Ortlund has written. As if I was listening to a great symphony, I was moved in different ways in different passages but left each feeling hugely blessed to know that what was being described was the heart of my Savior, my Lord, my Friend, and my Redeemer. I can’t think of anyone in the family of God who wouldn’t be greatly helped by spending time seeing the heart of Jesus through the eyes of such a gifted guide as Ortlund.
—Paul David Tripp, President, Paul Tripp Ministries; author, New Morning Mercies and My Heart Cries Out
He is so strong that he can afford to be gentle.’ That old movie line is more than a throwaway sentiment when we consider the theological precision and pastoral heart of Dane Ortlund describing God’s heart toward those who are weak, weary, sin-sick, and despairing. The insights of Gentle and Lowly are truly a river of mercy flowing from the throne of God, through great pastors of the past, and into precious and powerful ministry for today.
—Bryan Chapell, Senior Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church, Peoria, Illinois
Dane C. Ortlund (PhD, Wheaton College) is senior vice president for Bible publishing at Crossway. He serves as an editor for the Knowing the Bible series and the Short Studies in Biblical Theology series, and is the author of several of books, including Edwards on the Christian Life and Mark: A 12-Week Study.