It's really astonishing when you think about it, that in all four Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—Jesus tells us what his heart is. We know from the Scripture—Old Testament and New—that the heart is your deepest, your innermost, your motivation headquarters. It's why you do what you do. In Scripture Jesus says, I'm now going to tell you what my heart is. He says, I am gentle and lowly in heart.
There are many other true words that could have been said there, but what he chose to say in Matthew 11 is that he is gentle and lowly. In other words, he is gentle, he's the most tender, the most non-manipulative, the most non-abrasive. He doesn't handle us roughly. He doesn't take us by the shoulders and shake us.
He is lowly. That's the same Greek word elsewhere translated in the New Testament as humble. You might think, What does Jesus have to be humble about? Well, it's his own way of saying, I am the most accessible person in the universe. Jesus is the Revelation 1 divine and risen Son of God—he is the one who has a double-edged sword coming out of his mouth, and his body and face are shining so brightly that John falls down at his feet. That Christ is most deeply gentle and lowly.
All you have to do, actually, is collapse in order to get into the heart of Christ.
He’s lowly, he's accessible. You don't have to go through security to get to him. He doesn't say, Take a ticket and get in line. He doesn't put you on hold. He is supremely accessible. There's no minimum bar you need to get over to get to him. All you have to do, actually, is collapse in order to get into the heart of Christ. You have to humble yourself enough—something that most of us have a very difficult time doing—to fall into his arms because he is lowly. So, it is unspeakably precious that Christ's deepest heart—who he is most deeply, what pours out of him most naturally—is gentleness and lowliness.
Dane C. Ortlund is the author of Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers.
Join Dane Ortlund for a 14-day audio devotional to discover the true heart of Christ for sinners and sufferers.
The gospel flows from God’s deepest heart for his people, a heart of tender love for the sinful and suffering.
A couple of weeks ago, we asked readers to submit their questions for Dane Ortlund. Many of you sent in questions from around the world.
Dane Ortlund discusses why we, as children of God, can remain hopeful—even when our journey toward Christlikeness is painfully slow.