“Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.” – Mark 6.51-52From Dave Atkinson:
The verses above come at the end of a section where Mark tells how Jesus fed the 5000 and then walked, on the water of the Sea of Galilee, out to the boat that his disciples were in.
Does it come as a surprise to you that, in verse 52, Mark appears critical of the disciples by saying that their hearts were hardened? It did me, when I read this recently. And then I saw, in chapter 8:17, that Jesus also challenged them, “Are your hearts hardened?”
But aren’t hardened hearts a description the Bible uses for those people opposed to God? Pharaoh, refusing to release God’s people from captivity, the people of Israel stubbornly ignoring God, the Pharisees of Jesus’ time, for instance.
But the disciples? Jesus had called them, they had given up everything to follow him, they were with him 24/7 watching everything he did, listening to everything he said. How could their hearts be hardened?
Well, in the Bible, a hardened heart means the inability to accept the truth. The disciples were holding back on believing the full extent of who Jesus is and what he is therefore able to do. They had just witnessed Jesus, miraculously, satisfying 5000 stomachs. Yet, on seeing Jesus walking on water they are scared. If they had fully accepted that Jesus is God, should they have been so surprised? But it wasn’t until after Jesus’ death, resurrection, ascension and his sending of the Holy Spirit that the disciples “got it” fully.
It made me think about my own heart – is it hardened to any aspect of the truth about Jesus? I believe what the Bible says about Jesus, I’ve seen Jesus do wonderful things in my life and in the lives of many others. And yet, I can still underestimate him and fail to trust him when the hard or unexpected occurs.
If that resonates with you, the answer is to soften your heart by filling it with more and more of the truth about the incomparable Jesus – the exact representation of God. Fortunately, we are in the middle of a sermon series right now to help us do that. Join us at 10.30am on Sunday when David will tell us more about the incomparable Jesus – the image of the invisible God.