Tag Archives: Gentle and Lowly

“The gentleness and condescension of Christ” by J.C. Ryle

“Let us mark, lastly, in this passage, our Lord Jesus Christ’s readiness to receive all who come to Him.

We are told, that when the multitude followed Him into the desert, whither He had retired, ‘He received them, and spoke unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.’ (Luke 9:11)

Unmannerly and uninvited as this intrusion on His privacy seems to have been, it met with no rebuff from our Lord. He was always more ready to give instruction than people were to ask it, and more willing to teach than people were to be taught.

But the incident, trifling as it may seem, exactly tallies with all that we read in the Gospels of the gentleness and condescension of Christ.

We never see Him dealing with people according to their deserts.

We never find Him scrutinizing the motives of His hearers, or refusing to allow them to learn of Him, because their hearts were not right in the sight of God.

His ear was always ready to hear, and His hand was always ready to work, and His tongue was always ready to preach.

None that came to Him were ever cast out. Whatever they might think of His doctrine, they could never say that Jesus of Nazareth was “an austere man.”

Let us remember this in all our dealings with Christ about our own souls. We may draw near to Him with boldness, and open our hearts to Him with confidence.

He is a Saviour of infinite compassion and lovingkindness. He will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax. (Isaiah 42:3)

The secrets of our spiritual life may be such as we would not have our dearest friends know. The wounds of our consciences may be deep and sore, and require most delicate handling.

But we need not fear anything, if we commit all to Jesus, the Son of God.

We shall find that His kindness is unbounded. His own words shall be found abundantly true: ‘I am meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest to your souls.’ (Matthew 11:29)

Let us remember this, finally, in our dealing with other people, if we are called upon to give them help about their souls.

Let us strive to walk in the steps of Christ’s example, and, like Him, to be kind, and patient, and always willing to aid.

The ignorance of young beginners in religion is sometimes very provoking. We are apt to be wearied of their instability, and fickleness, and halting between two opinions.

But let us remember Jesus, and not be weary. He received all, spoke to all, and did good to all.

Let us go and do likewise. As Christ deals with us, so let us deal one with another.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Luke (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1858/2012), 1: 227-228. Ryle is commenting on Luke 9:7-11.

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“He deals gently with us” by Dane Ortlund

“When we sin, we are encouraged to bring our mess to Jesus because He will know just how to receive us.

He doesn’t handle us roughly.

He doesn’t scowl and scold.

He doesn’t lash out, the way many of our parents did.

And all this restraint on His part is not because He has a diluted view of our sinfulness. He knows our sinfulness far more deeply than we do.

Indeed, we are aware of just the tip of the iceberg of our depravity, even in our most searching moments of self-knowledge.

His restraint simply flows from His tender heart for His people.

Hebrews is not just telling us that instead of scolding us, Jesus loves us.

It’s telling us the kind of love He has: rather than dispensing grace to us from on high, He gets down with us, He puts His arm around us, He deals with us in the way that is just what we need. (Hebrews 4:14-5:4)

He deals gently with us.”

–Dane Ortlund, Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2020), 54-55.

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“With all meekness and gentleness” by John Owen

“The high priest is able to bear with the people patiently and meekly, so as to continue the faithful discharge of his office towards them and for them.

This, as we observed, Moses was not able always to do, as he also complains, ‘Have I conceived all this people? Have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nurse beareth the sucking child?’ (Numbers 11:12)

Yet this is required in a high priest, and that he should no more cast off poor sinners for their ignorance and wanderings than a nursing mother should cast away a sucking child for its crying.

So our apostle, in his imitation of Jesus Christ, affirms that in the church he was ‘gentle among them, even as a nurse cherisheth her children,” (1 Thess. 2:7);—not easy to be provoked, not ready to take offence or cast off the care of him.

So it is said of God, Acts 13:18, that for forty years ἐτροποφόρησε, ‘He bore with the manners of the people in the wilderness;’ or as some read it, ἐτροφοφόρησε, ‘He bore’ or ‘fed them, as a nurse feedeth her child.’

Thus ought it to be with a high priest, and thus is it with Jesus Christ.

He is able, with all meekness and gentleness, with patience and moderation, to bear with the infirmities, sins, and provocations of His people, even as a nursing mother beareth with the weakness of a poor infant.”

–John Owen, An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, Vol. 4, ed. W. H. Goold, Works of John Owen, vol. 21 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1854/1985), 4: 455–456.

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“Gentler than all gentleness” by Heinrich Bullinger

“What can you fitly think of God,
He that is above all loftiness,
higher than all height,
deeper than all depth,
lighter than all light,
clearer than all clearness,
brighter than all brightness,
stronger than all strength,
more virtuous than all virtue,
fairer than all fairness,
truer than all truth,
greater than all greatness,
mightier than all might,
richer than all riches,
wiser than all wisdom,
more liberal than all liberality,
better than all goodness,
juster than all justice,
and gentler than all gentleness?

For all kinds of virtues must needs be less than He, that is the Father and God of all virtues: so that God may truly be said to be such a certain Being, as to which nothing may be compared.

For He is above all that may be spoken.”

–Heinrich Bullinger, Fiftie Godlie and Learned Sermons, Divided Into Five Decades, Containing The chiefe and principall points of Christian Religion, written in three severall Tomes or Sections (trans. H.I.; London: Ralph Newberie, 1587), 606-607. As quoted in Samuel D. Renihan, Deity and Decree (Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing: 2020), 26-27.

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“Christ can and will do both” by Thomas Goodwin

“In all miseries and distresses you may be sure to know where you have a Friend to help and pity you, even in heaven, namely, Christ. You have One whose nature, office, interest, and relation, all, do engage Him to your succour.

You will find men, even friends, to be oftentimes unto you unreasonable, and their mercies in many cases shut up towards you.

Well, say to them all, ‘If you will not pity me, I know One that will, One in heaven, whose heart is touched with the feeling of all my infirmities, and I will go and bemoan myself to Him.’

Come boldly (says the text), μετὰ παῤῥησίας, (Heb. 4:16) even with open mouth, to lay open your complaints, and you shall find grace and mercy to help in time of need.

Men love to see themselves pitied by friends, though they cannot help them.

Christ can and will do both.”

–Thomas Goodwin, “The Heart of Christ in Heaven Towards Sinners on Earth,” The Works of Thomas Goodwin, Volume 4 (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage, 1862/2006), 4: 150.

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“His heart is a fountain of mercy wide enough to take in and give forth to us all God’s manifestative mercies” by Thomas Goodwin

“‘God is love,’ as John says (1 John 4:8), and Christ is love covered over with flesh, yea, our flesh.

And besides, it is certain that as God hath fashioned the hearts of all men, and some of the sons of men unto more mercy and pity naturally than others, and then the Holy Spirit, coming on them to sanctify their natural dispositions, useth to work according to their tempers, even so it is certain that He tempered the heart of Christ, and made it of a softer mould and temper than the tenderness of all men’s hearts put together into one, to soften it, would have been of.

When He was to assume a human nature, He is brought in saying, ‘A body hast thou fitted me,’ (Heb. 10:5); that is, a human nature, fitted, as in other things, so in the temper of it, for the Godhead to work and shew His perfections in best.

And as He took a human nature on purpose to be a merciful high priest (Heb. 2:14), so such a human nature, and of so special a temper and frame as might be more merciful than all men or angels.

His human nature was ‘made without hands;’ that is, was not of the ordinary make that other men’s hearts are of; though for the matter the same, yet not for the frame of His spirit.

It was a heart bespoke for on purpose to be made a vessel, or rather fountain, of mercy, wide and capable enough to be so extended as to take in and give forth to us again all God’s manifestative mercies; that is, all the mercies God intended to manifest to His elect.

And therefore Christ’s heart had naturally in the temper of it more pity than all men or angels have, as through which the mercies of the great God were to be dispensed unto us. And this heart of his to be the instrument of them.

And then this man, and the heart of this man so framed, being united to God, and being made the natural Son of God, how natural must mercy needs be unto Him, and therefore continue in Him now He is in heaven!

For though He laid down all infirmities of our nature when He rose again, yet no graces that were in Him whilst he was below; they are in Him now as much as ever; and being His nature, for nature we know is constant, therefore still remains.

You may observe, that when He was upon earth, minding to persuade sinners to have good thoughts of Him, as He used that argument of His Father’s command given Him; so He also lays open His own disposition, ‘Come to He, you that are weary and heavy laden… for I am meek and lowly of heart.’ (Matt. 11:28)

Men are apt to have contrary conceits of Christ, but He tells them His disposition there, by preventing such hard thoughts of Him, to allure them unto Him the more. We are apt to think that He, being so holy, is therefore of a severe and sour disposition against sinners, and not able to bear them.

No, says He; ‘I am meek,’ gentleness is My nature and temper. As it was of Moses, who was, as in other things, so in that grace, His type; he was not revenged on Miriam and Aaron, but interceded for them.

So, says Christ, injuries and unkindnesses do not so work upon me as to make me irreconcilable, it is my nature to forgive: ‘I am meek.’

Yea, but (may we think) He being the Son of God and heir of heaven, and especially being now filled with glory, and sitting at God’s right hand, He may now despise the lowliness of us here below; though not out of anger, yet out of that height of His greatness and distance that He is advanced unto, in that we are too man for him to marry, or be familiar with.

He surely hath higher thoughts than to regard such poor, low things as we are. And so though indeed we conceive Him meek, and not prejudiced with injuries, yet He may be too high and lofty to condescend so far as to regard, or take to heart, the condition of poor creatures.

No, says Christ; ‘I am lowly’ also, willing to bestow My love and favour upon the poorest and meanest. And further, all this is not a semblance of such an affable disposition, nor is it externally put on in the face and outward carriage only, as in many great ones, that will seem gentle and courteous, but there is all this ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ, ‘in the heart;’ it is His temper, His disposition, His nature to be gracious, which nature He can never lay aside.

And that His greatness, when He comes to enjoy it in heaven, would not a whit alter His disposition in Him, appears by this, that He at the very same time when He uttered these words, took into consideration all His glory to come, and utters both that and His meekness with the same breath:

‘All things are delivered to me by my Father,’ (Matt. 11:27) and presently after all this he says, ‘Come unto Me, all you that are heavy laden… I am meek and lowly,’ (11:28-29).”

–Thomas Goodwin, “The Heart of Christ in Heaven Towards Sinners on Earth,” The Works of Thomas Goodwin, Volume 4 (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage, 1862/2006), 4: 116-117.

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“The only cure for a cold heart” by Robert Murray M’Cheyne

“‘We love Him, because He first loved us.’ (1 John 4:19)

The only cure for a cold heart is to look at the heart of Jesus.”

–Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Memoir and Remains of the Rev. Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Ed. Andrew A. Bonar (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1844/1966), 414.

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