'The Heart of Easter' – Week 1 – ‘Wild Hearts’
In the bible, the heart seems very important. Proverbs 4:23 tells us to guard it carefully because it is the ‘wellspring of life’. The heart is the place where Ezekiel tells us (36:26) God will work out his promise in the new covenant. ‘I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.’ In physical terms it pumps life around the body. In spiritual terms it is the same. Jesus tells us that it is ‘out of the heartcome evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander,’ influencing everything (Matt 15:19-20).
Over the Easter period we are taking the opportunity to look at three different situations and see a little of what was going on in the hearts of those who observed or followed Jesus, especially during Holy Week and immediately afterwards.
Wild Hearts: In our first week we find ourselves in the story of Jesus riding into Jerusalem in triumph.
Read Luke 19:28-44. Staying in a village East of Jerusalem we find Jesus setting up his arrival in line with the Scriptures.
Here it is helpful to read Zechariah 9:9-10 and consider the significance of the difference between verses 9 and 10 and the nature of the Kingship Jesus intended to promote.
Having organised the donkey to ride on, as he progresses into the city and the crowds grow, he allows himself to be honoured and accepts praise from the crowd for the deeds they had seen him do (See v38). There are three points to reflect on here:
- If you can, read Luke 2:14 and compare the song of the angels and what the people are saying here. What, if any significance is there?
- Read also Luke 9:20-21. What has changed that Jesus now seems to have changed his mind and be encouraging a public declaration of support?
- How would you describe the hearts of the crowd here? How understanding are they?
- As Jesus comes close to the city, despite the joy and adulation of the crowd, he begins to weep over Jerusalem.
- Why do you think this is?
- What are the events that he is lamenting?
- What is the peace Jesus is referring to (V42)?
- Finally Jesus enters the temple and clears the sellers out. How deliberate was this do you think (See Malachi 3:1-2 and Isaiah 51:7)? What did this do to people’s expectations?
As we read forward from this story and especially Luke 23:18-20, what is it that changed the hearts of the people that they are willing only a few hours later to turn against him? How does James 1:5-8 shed light on this? To what extent to we still find ourselves coping with ‘wildness of heart’.
Charles Nelson, 28/03/2009