20 Quotes | Gentle and Lowly

20 Quotes | Gentle and Lowly

Gentle and Lowly is a special book. It has helped many readers capture the essence of the heart of Christ. Here are some quotes that really stood out to me:

The point in saying that Jesus is lowly is that he is accessible. For all his resplendent glory and dazzling holiness, his supreme uniqueness and otherness, no one in human history has ever been more approachable than Jesus Christ…You don’t need to unburden or collect yourself and then come to Jesus. Your very burden is what qualifies you to come. (20)

This is why we need a Bible. Our natural intuition can only give us a God like us. The God revealed in the Scripture deconstructs our intuitive predilections and startles us with one whose infinitude of perfections is matched by his infinitude of gentleness. Indeed, his perfections include his perfect gentleness. (24)

Time and again it is the morally disgusting, the socially reviled, the inexcusable and underserving, who do not simply receive Christ’s mercy but to whom Christ most naturally gravitates. (27)

The cumulative testimony of the four Gospels is that when Jesus Christ sees the fallenness of the world all about him, his deepest impulse, his most natural instinct, is to move toward that sin and suffering, not away from it. (30)

He does not get flustered and frustrated when we come to him for fresh forgiveness, for renewed pardon, with distress and need and emptiness. That’s the whole point.  It’s what he came to heal. He went down into the horror of death and plunged out through the other side in order to provide a limitless supply of mercy and grace to his people. (37)

In our pain, Jesus is pained; in our suffering, he feels the suffering as his own even though it isn’t—not that his invincible divinity is threatened, but in the sense that his heart is feeling drawn into our distress. His human nature engages our troubles comprehensively. His is a love that cannot be held back when he sees his people in pain. (46)

Jesus does not throw his hands up in the air when he engages sinners. He is calm, tender, soothing, restrained. He deals with us gently. (53)

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… 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…His restraint simply flows from his tender heart for his people. (54)

Fallen, anxious sinners are limitless in their capacity to perceive reasons for Jesus to cast them out. We are factories of fresh resistances to Christ’s love. (63)

We cannot present a reason for Christ to finally close off his heart to his own sheep. No such reason exists. (64)

Justification is tied to what Christ did in the past. Intercession is tied to what he is doing in the present…His heart is as drawn to his people now as ever it was in his incarnate state. And the present manifestation of his heart for his people is his constant interceding on their behalf. (79)

We cannot sin our way out of his tender care. (83)

When we choose to sin—though we forsake our true identity, our Savior does not forsake us. These are the very moments when his heart erupts on our behalf in renewed advocacy in heaven with a resounding defense that silences all accusations, astonishes angels, and celebrates the Father’s embrace of us in spite of all our messiness. (92)

Why not build into your life unhurried quiet, where, among other disciplines, you consider the radiance of who he actually is, what animates him, what his deepest delight is? Why not give your soul room to be reenchanted with Christ time and time again? (99)

What does it mean that Christ is a friend to sinners? At the very least, it means that he enjoys spending time with them. It also means that they feel welcome and comfortable around him. (114)

The Spirit makes the heart of Christ real to us: not just heard, but seen; not just seen, but felt; not just felt, but enjoyed. The Spirit takes what we read in the Bible and believe on paper about Jesus’s heart and moves it from theory to reality, from doctrine to experience. (122)

Mercy is natural to him. Punishment is unnatural. (140)

If you catch God off guard, what leaps out most freely is blessing. The impulse to do good. The desire to swallow us up in joy. This is why Goodwin can say of God that “all his attributes seem but to set out his love.” (141)

He doesn’t have his finger on the trigger. It takes much accumulated provoking to draw out his ire. Unlike us, who are often emotional dams ready to break, God can put up with a lot. This is why the Old Testament speaks of God being “provoked to anger” by his people dozens of times…But not once are we told that God is “provoked to love” or “provoked to mercy.” His anger requires provocation; his mercy is pent up, ready to gush forth. (148)

The Christian life is a lifelong shedding of tepid thoughts of the goodness of God. (172)

Many more quotes could have easily made the cut on this one. You can purchase your own copy here: Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers by Dane C. Ortlund. Crossway Publishing, 2020. If you visit our church, we would be happy to gift you with a copy. Please visit our guest services counter for more details.

Dane C. Ortlund (PhD, Wheaton College) serves as senior pastor of Naperville Presbyterian Church in Naperville, Illinois. He is the author of Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers and Deeper: Real Change for Real Sinners. Dane and his wife, Stacey, have five children.