2019-10-17 - Hard Hearts
Originally Published 1998-03-25
The Cross Series, Part 29
Luke 22:66-71 And when it was day, the Council of elders of the people assembled, both chief priests and scribes, and they led Him away to their council chamber, saying, 67 "If You are the Christ, tell us." But He said to them, "If I tell you, you will not believe; 68 and if I ask a question, you will not answer. 69 "But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God." 70 And they all said, "Are You the Son of God, then?" And He said to them, "Yes, I am." 71 And they said, "What further need do we have of testimony? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth." (NAS)
The Elders are so certain of their authority that they taunt Jesus to condemn himself. They have paid men to lie before the court and even that is bungled so badly it fails. It raises and interesting point though. Jesus willingly walked into the conviction of the Council. He condemned Himself, and the sentence was automatic. Jesus, however, quietly rendered his own two part conviction before He took the next step toward the cross.
"If I tell you, you will not believe; …" Jesus utters a stark pronouncement. It is both a foreshadowing of His own statement that He is the Christ. And it is a terrible gauge of the hardness of their hearts. Just like Jesus' parable at the end of Luke 16 where the rich man begs that someone go and warn his brothers of their impending condemnation to Hades. Jesus tells the rich man that, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.'. These men were so convinced of their position, they were not listening and would not listen.
…and if I ask a question, you will not answer. The Lord issues His second pronouncement. They were no longer even willing to debate the issue. Debate and discussion was their way of life. It was how they determined the interpretation of the Law and the Prophets. As far as the issue of Jesus being the Messiah, their minds where made up. There was no room for discussion.
Does this mean that none of these men ever came to the realization that Jesus was indeed the Messiah? Not at all. I have seen the hardest hearts broken and most stubborn minds crumble as the Master touches their lives. For some He literally allows them to reach the end of their resources. Surely, these men were leaning on their resources of political authority and power, personal and spiritual pride and power. For others, like Joseph of Arimathea, are rocked by something Jesus does in their lives or says to them either personally or through one of His children. Did Joseph crumble at the raising of Lazarus from the dead? What was it for you that finally broke through?
However it happens, it is only Jesus Himself that can change the heart. There is no heart that is beyond His reach. There is only the heart, like Judas, that will not turn when it is called. Don't despair when people you pray for seem to be heading down the wrong path. That may be how Jesus must exhaust their resources. If nothing ever seems to phase another person, you may not see the internal turmoil they are going through. Love them and keep prayin
Lord Jesus, Your ways are not our ways and we often miss what You are doing in our lives and in the lives of others. Remind us that You are indeed in control and nothing is beyond Your view or Your reach. Give us the strength to remain constant in prayer and faith when what we see doesn't make sense. You can reach the hard heart. Amen.
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.
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