The Heart of Jesus
What is the heart of Jesus like? There is only one place in all the New Testament where Jesus explicitly tells us what his heart is like. That is significant and should gain our attention. We see it in the well known words of Matthew 11:28-29 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."
Did you catch it? Jesus is, “gentle and lowly in heart.” Gentle, not pushy and rough; lowly, not loud and arrogant. Gentle and lowly aren't exactly front page, newsworthy qualities. Or are they? Does the world need more brutality? Does it need more self-assertiveness and arrogance? Jesus invades our fallen, dog eat dog world and conquers it with gentleness. This is the foolishness and weakness of the gospel which manifests the true wisdom and power of God. But do we believe that Jesus actually treats us with gentleness? We must, otherwise his words will seem merely sentimental. Why does our Lord unveil his heart as gentle and lowly? Two reasons.
First, because of what Jesus commands us to do. He is calling people to himself. He says, “Come to me.” And he does this by removing any doubt as to whether it is safe or not. It is as though Jesus is saying, “You don't have to worry, you are safe with me. I am gentle. You don’t have to try to impress me. I am lowly.” He is calling us to come near to his gentle and lowly heart in order to "find rest" for our souls.
Second, because of the kind of people Jesus is speaking to. Jesus invites "all who labor and are heavy laden." Those who are tired and weighed down. Jesus has in mind those who are exhausted of their own efforts to become somebody, to make it, to measure up, or to impress. Whether it is God, themselves, or others - what a wearisome task! Jesus says to put all that down and invites us to freely come and find absolute rest in him. Which means, we can come to him as we actually are, not the fictional version of us. What keeps people from Jesus is seeing no need of him. If you want to, you may come to him without any pretense and experience his massive loving and gentle heart toward you.
A pep talk may inspire momentarily and a finger-wagging rebuke to “do better” may give short-lived motivation. But only an undeserved welcome by our gentle and lowly Savior on the basis of what he has done alone has the power to give us rest and make us strong. Can you think of a single good reason to refuse this invitation? Can you think of anything that should keep you from dropping what you are doing right now and running to Jesus?
Your gentleness made me great - Psalm 18:35
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