28 Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. - Matthew 11 v 28-30
This very well-known passage from Matthew’s Gospel is the focal point of Dane Ortlund’s incredibly successful book, 'Gentle and Lowly'. In particular, as can be surmised from the title, the phrase ‘for I am gentle and lowly in heart’ (v. 29) is mainly considered. As referenced at the start of the book, this is the only time the Lord Jesus refers to His own heart in the whole Bible. Of all the words that Jesus could have used to describe himself, such as loving, generous or sinless, He chose to say gentle and lowly, or, as postulated by the author, ‘meek’ and 'humble'.
With 23 inspirational, devotional-style chapters, centred on a significant verse of Scripture, many key themes are explored with the aim to draw the reader closer to the heart of Christ. These include, 'His Heart in Action', 'An Advoctae' and 'Rich in Mercy', which give you a clear idea of what material is going to be covered throughout. Supported by considerable Biblical evidence, these concepts are thoroughly explored, declaring that whilst the Lord Jesus is completely unique in His glory and holiness, He is also the most approachable person in history. He wasn’t popular, successful, or well-loved whilst on earth. We know that He went through hardships, and it is this truth that makes the Lord Jesus incredibly qualified to sympathise with us.
Even if you read this book during a great time in your life, where things seem to be going pretty well for you, this will still be of enormous comfort. But as we navigate through an ongoing pandemic, a reminder of Jesus’ compassion is necessary even more than ever. As such it is not hard to understand why it has won several acclamations, including Christian Resources Together’s Book of the Year award, since its publication last year.
Upon completing ‘Gentle and Lowly’, you will be left with the knowledge that if we remember that Jesus is longing for us to find rest in Him, then we can have a lot more peace in our lives. The author wants to (re)introduce us to what is most natural to Him - a heart that wants to love His people even more than they want to receive His love. At the very least, this book will be a balm to the believer that reads it.
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