Tag Archives: Infinite condescension

“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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“Infinite highness and infinite condescension” by Jonathan Edwards

“There do meet in Jesus Christ infinite highness and infinite condescension. Christ, as He is God, is infinitely great and high above all. He is higher than the kings of the earth, for He is King of kings, and Lord of lords. He is higher than the heavens, and higher than the highest angels of heaven.

So great is He, that all men, all kings and princes, are as worms of the dust before Him; all nations are as the drop of the bucket, and the light dust of the balance; yea, and angels themselves are as nothing before Him.

He is so high, that He is infinitely above any need of us; above our reach, that we cannot be profitable to Him; and above our conceptions, that we cannot comprehend Him. Prov. xxx. 4. ‘What is his name, and what is his Son’s name, if thou canst tell?’

Our understandings, if we stretch them never so far, cannot reach up to His divine glory. Job xi. 8. ‘It is high as heaven, what canst thou do?’ Christ is the Creator and great Possessor of heaven and earth.

He is sovereign Lord of all. He rules over the whole universe, and doth whatsoever pleaseth Him. His knowledge is without bound. His wisdom is perfect, and what none can circumvent. His power is infinite, and none can resist Him. His riches are immense and inexhaustible. His majesty is infinitely awful.

And yet He is one of infinite condescension. None are so low or inferior, but Christ’s condescension is sufficient to take a gracious notice of them.

He condescends not only to the angels, humbling Himself to behold the things that are done in heaven, but He also condescends to such poor creatures as men; and that not only so as to take notice of princes and great men, but of those that are of meanest rank and degree, ‘the poor of the world,’ James ii. 5.

Such as are commonly despised by their fellow-creatures, Christ does not despise. 1 Cor. i. 28. ‘Base things of the world, and things that are despised, hath God chosen.’ Christ condescends to take notice of beggars, Luke xvi. 22. and people of the most despised nations. In Christ Jesus is neither ‘Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free,’ Col. iii. 11.

He that is thus high, condescends to take a gracious notice of little children, Matt. xix. 14. ‘Suffer little children to come unto Me.’ Yea, which is more, His condescension is sufficient to take a gracious notice of the most unworthy, sinful creatures, those that have no good deservings, and those that have infinite ill-deservings.

Yea, so great is His condescension, that it is not only sufficient to take some gracious notice of such as these, but sufficient for every thing that is an act of condescension. His condescension is great enough to become their friend; to become their companion, to unite their souls to Him in spiritual marriage.

It is enough to take their nature upon Him, to become one of them, that He may be one with them. Yea, it is great enough to abase Himself yet lower for them, even to expose Himself to shame and spitting; yea, to yield up Himself to an ignominious death for them.

And what act of condescension can be conceived of greater? Yet such an act as this, has His condescension yielded to, for those that are so low and mean, despicable and unworthy!

Such a conjunction of infinite highness and low condescension, in the same person, is admirable. We see, by manifold instances, what a tendency a high station has in men, to make them to be of a quite contrary disposition.

If one worm be a little exalted above another, by having more dust, or a bigger dunghill, how much does he make of himself! What a distance does he keep from those that are below him! And a little condescension is what he expects should be made much of, and greatly acknowledged.

Christ condescends to wash our feet; but how would great men, (or rather the bigger worms,) account themselves debased by acts of far less condescension!”

–Jonathan Edwards, “The Excellency of Christ,” The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 1. Ed. Edward Hickman (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1834/1998), 1:680-681. The sermon may be read here in its entirety.

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