Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers
By: Dane Ortlund
Review by Vernon Sauder
Come to me … for I am gentle and lowly in heart… Matt. 11:28-29
These are the only recorded words we have of Jesus speaking about his heart, the core of his being. They seem a bit surprising, especially in light of the Old Testament. Is this a new revelation of God turning into a big softy? Does this apply to everyone who desires to come, or only those who have it all together?
In Gentle and Lowly, The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers, Dane Ortlund unpacks this passage in careful detail. Ortlund reflects on the many facets of this gem through scripture passages and the writings of Puritan theologians. What inspired the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah, the apostles Paul and John, and the Puritan theologians to write about the heart of God?
Ortlund explores how a proper understanding of this truth can bring great comfort to our lives. While we may feel satisfied with our justification or salvation, our hearts yearn to feel the reality of the words “and I will give you rest”. Rest from the fear of not measuring up to his standards. Rest from the guilt we feel from messing up again and again. Rest from the feeling that God’s patience with me is growing thinner each day. Rest from the grinding pain and misery of my current situation.
What we find within this passage is a door to understanding the great love of God. Love that is not just of God, but is God. His most passionate and deepest longing is for us to take hold of that rest. From this, we can see the beauty and joy of his heart, the power of his advocacy and intercession, the proper role of pain and discipline in our lives, and the constancy and permanence of his friendship.
While the book can be studied as a well documented theological treatise on this passage, I found it was a blessing as a devotional. Each chapter can stand on its own so you can read and meditate daily on a different aspect of this passage.
The book left me with a renewed and overwhelming sense of God’s great grace and mercy. I continually need reminders of the depth of Christ’s love toward me, as I naturally drift back toward the human view of law and punishment. Gentle and Lowly is a great read to refresh your perspective and reinforce the truth of the great love of Jesus for you and me.
(As a church we received several copies of this book. If you have not received your copy yet, please pick one up in the foyer of the sanctuary or contact Pastor Joel.)
Categories: Book Review