How Do You See Jesus?

Dane Ortlund has some suggestions.

Dane Ortlund’s book, Gentle and Lowly has as its burden to assure and reassure us that Jesus loves His sinful people and is always eager to welcome and renew them. Gentleness and lowliness are Jesus’ “defining reality”. This is Who He is, and we should not fear that He will ever cast us out, no matter how many or how vile our sins may be.

This is a study in Biblical and historical theology. For each chapter, Ortlund develops a text focused on revealing the heart of Jesus as filled with love for His people. He turns to the Puritans – Goodwin, Owen, Sibbes, Bunyan, and Edwards – to enlarge his own Biblical work and to demonstrate the depth and beauty of his theme as presented by Puritan theologians.

Christ, he argues, is with us, on our side, ready to hear and heal and restore. We must not think of Him, nor of our heavenly Father, as looking askance at us, or always ready to knock us about. The heart of Jesus is love, for God is love, and He can be nor do otherwise than to love His own for whom Christ died.

Those who do not know him can expect to know God’s wrath for their sins. Believers who sin and are slow to repent will know the discipline of the Lord, but not for casting them out; rather, He always seeks to renew and restore us. We must not be flippant or cavalier about our sin, but work hard to overcome it, not to earn the love of our Savior, but because we understand His love and know it well.

Ortlund wants believers to rest in the love of God, and motivated by the love of God, to love and serve Him even more, and never to fear that He might ever cast us out: “The bent of God’s heart is mercy. His glory is his goodness. His glory is his lowliness. ‘Great is the glory of the Lord. For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly’ (Ps. 138:5–6).”

This book consists of 23 chapters and an epilogue and is a useful reminder for all believers that we are loved, that we need to learn how to rest in the love of Jesus, and to become more completely immersed in that love, for this is our great happiness and glory. It might be a good discipline to read a couple of chapters a month for a year, and to meditate on Ortlund’s teaching.


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