Session 1 – Small Group Study Guide
- When you think about who Jesus is, what are the character traits that immediately come to mind? Why do you think those are the characteristics you tend to focus on? How has your understanding of Jesus changed over time?
- Read Matthew 11:28. Why does Ortlund argue that this passage shows us the central characteristic of Christ? What’s your reaction to his conclusion? Is it “too good to be true?
- Read Isaiah 42:1-4 and Matthew 9:35-36. How do these passages build on this portrait of the gentle and lowly Christ?
- Ortlund says that this portrait of Christ is intended for “sinners and sufferers” (13-14). In what ways do you particularly feel like a sinner and sufferer today? In all honesty, where have those feelings led you and what have they led you to do? Why do you need to meet the gentle and lowly Christ today?
- Ortlund writes, “It is one thing to describe what your husband says and does and looks like. It is something else, something deeper and more real, to describe his heart for you. So with Christ. It is one thing to know the doctrines of the incarnation and the atonement and a hundred other vital doctrines. It is another, more searching matter to know his heart for you” (16). It is deceptively and dangerously easy to substitute knowing a lot about Jesus for actually knowing Jesus. How is your relationship with Christ today? How deeply do you know his heart for you?
- Ortlund describes Christ’s gentleness as “[n]ot harsh, reactionary, easily exasperated. He is the most understanding person in the universe. The posture most natural to him is not a pointed finger but open arms.” Has there been a time in your life where the gentleness of Christ was a particular blessing to you? If not, how could it be a blessing to you?
- The lowliness of Christ means 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. No prerequisites. No hoops to jump through . . . The minimum bar to be enfolded into the embrace of Jesus is simply: open yourself up to him. It is all he needs” (20). Has there been a time in your life where the lowliness/accessibility of Christ was a particular blessing to you? If not, how could it be a blessing to you?
- The more we behold the gentle and lowly Christ, the more we should become like him. In what ways do you need to grow in gentleness? In what ways do you need to grow in lowliness?
Sharing and Prayer
- What is one thing from this study that has impacted your understanding of Jesus? How might this add a dimension to how you relate to Him?
- Share other prayer requests: