‘The Heart of Easter’ – Week 2 – ‘Slow 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.

easterSlow Hearts:  In our second week we consider the initial reaction of the first people to find out that Jesus had risen from the dead. It is helpful to read the whole of Luke 24 we will be covering over weeks two and three (verses 1-12 and 13-38) as the two themes are intertwined.

In the first part of the story we accompany the women going to the tomb taking the spices they had prepared for his body, only to find the stone already rolled away. Matthew provides rather more information about how this had happened (Matt 28:2). They enter the tomb and have an encounter with two men in dazzling clothes who ask them a fairly poignant question: ‘Why are you looking for the living among the dead?’ He is not here, but has risen! Remember how he told you ...'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again’. Evidently they had not remembered, until then and neither had the disciples who the women ran and told. Their immediate response was not to believe the women either because, as Luke says, ‘their words seemed to them like nonsense’. 

Later that day we find two of Jesus disciples heading away from Jerusalem and Jesus comes and walks with them (though they didn’t recognise him). He asks them what they are talking about and their response again draws out a fairly straightforward rebuke (v25): ‘How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe...’ which is where our title comes from. But what is it that they are being slow of heart to believe about?


  • Re-read verses 25 and 26 making note particularly of the emphasis placed on ‘all’ and ‘necessary’. All of what? Why was it necessary? Find some of the OT passages that Jesus would have used. Gen 3:15, Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12 and Psalm 118:22ff are good examples. Remember too ‘what He told you’. If you have time look at John 16: 1-7; and for one of the reasons he did it all - Hebrews 12: 1-3.
  • How do the initial responses of the women, the apostles and two disciples on the road to Emmaus give insight into the symptoms are of being ‘slow of heart’? What can we suggest as remedies?
  • Perhaps discuss what the things are that we find ourselves being slow of heart to believe about. Where are our disappointments and ‘had-hopeds’? Ask the Holy Spirit to bring about a breakthrough. We look at this more in week 3.


Please don’t forget to celebrate too, as what still seemed to the disciples, in these first encounters, to be a tragedy. We have hindsight. It was indeed the triumph of Easter.

Charles Nelson, 27/03/2009