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Jesus, Gentle and Lowly
In an age when loud personalities and platforms seem to rule the day, a quiet little book reminds us that the heart of Christ looks very different.
Jim Killam
October 13, 2021

In Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers, author and Naperville pastor Dane Ortlund draws not only from a key passage from the gospels, but also from 17th century Puritan writers whose words still help us see who God is in the person of Jesus.

“It was so moving to me as I started reading it,” says Lead Pastor Luke Uran, “because the very premise of the book is that through all four of the gospels, there is only one place where Jesus talks about his own heart.”

That place is Matthew 11:28-30, where Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (ESV)

“The rest of the book kind of unpacks what that means,” Luke adds. “To me, it was very moving to see how Christ in his grace and through his love and mercy and compassion is gentle, lowly, accessible, not angry at us or distancing himself from us. It was just really a refreshing read for me.”

Luke first became aware of the book through a podcast he listens to, The Art of Pastoring. The two hosts, Ronnie Martin and Jared C. Wilson, were asked a question by an emailer, ‘What’s one book you would recommend to pastors that is a must-read for the next year?’ And both of them at the same time, unscripted, said Gentle and Lowly. The book’s introduction helps explain why.

This book is written for the discouraged, the frustrated, the weary, the disenchanted, the cynical, the empty. Those running on fumes. Those whose Christian lives feel like constantly running up a descending escalator. Those of us who find ourselves thinking: ‘How could I mess up that bad — again?’ … For those of us who know God but suspect we have deeply disappointed him. … It is written, in other words, for normal Christians.

Luke posted one of his favorite quotes from the book on social media recently:

He intends to restore you into the radiant resplendence for which you were created. And that is dependent not on you keeping yourself clean but on you taking your mess to him. He doesn’t limit himself to working with the unspoiled parts of us that remain after a lifetime of sinning. His power runs so deep that he is able to redeem the very worst parts of our past into the most radiant parts of our future. But we need to take those dark miseries to him.

“For me,” Luke says, “even though we know the right answers, for some reason we still bring ourselves under the law at times. Or the enemy deceives us to bring us under the law , to say, well, I need to clean this up a little before I bring it to Jesus. And ultimately, that is not true.”

Several of First Free Rockford’s Life Groups are studying Gentle and Lowly together this fall. The Scroll Resource Center has a limited number of free paperback copies available. Also, a study guide, plus hardcover books paired with a journal, are available at deep discounts.

Jim Killam
Jim Killam is a journalist, author, teacher and terminal Cubs fan. He and his wife, Lauren, live in Rockford and work internationally with Wycliffe Bible Translators.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    It seems that your above comments have been right on. Trying to help someone who made a big mistake in the not to distant past. Impossible to find a job, find a place to live. Our society has distroyed and never forgives. I’ll get the book Sunday.


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