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When one chooses to harden his heart

Rev. Charles Oppong-Poku | July 15, 2023 | Matthew 21:14-17


_But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant._ Matthew 21:15 (NIV).


In this passage, we witness a clash between the religious leaders and the innocent praise of children in the temple courts. Jesus had been performing miraculous healings and displaying His authority, which amazed the crowds. However, instead of rejoicing in the wonderful things they witnessed, the religious leaders responded with indignation. The children were shouting in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David.” The term, Hosanna is simultaneously a declaration of joy and praise as well as a desperate, urgent cry for rescue. It is a Hebrew expression that means “Oh Save us!” and “Praise to the Savior.” The term Son of David was an overt Messianic expression. It came from a divine promise to David as prophesied through Nathan that God would give David a descendant whose throne would be established forever. This forever king was believed by the Jews to be the Messiah. Jesus was a descendant of David (Matthew 1:1) and He was the Messiah (Matthew 1:14). The children practically shouted to Jesus “Messiah save us!” and “Praise to Jesus, our Messiah!” This reminds us that children can have a real relationship with God and spiritual life, yet they will still be children. When they heard what the children were saying about Jesus and saw His wonderful miracles of healing, and how the people were flocking to Him, they became angry. They angrily asked Him, “Do You hear what these children are saying?” They expected Jesus to deny having heard or understood the Messianic shouts the children were saying, then to try and force Him to publicly reject the Messianic hopes the people were putting on Him. Jesus did not reject the children as they expected. He rejected the priests and scribes instead. He boldly responded in simple truth, yes and asked them a rhetorical question of His own: Have you never read, _‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies You have prepared praise for Yourself’?”_ (Psalm. 8:2). The religious leaders knew the scriptures, but they chose to harden their hearts and ignored the work of God.


When hearts have chosen to be hard, they can ignore God's work no matter how spectacular it is. What is most scary about this situation is that we often find those people who choose to harden their hearts are often God's people who are trying to defend a position or a tradition and, in the process, miss the work of God. Jesus' ministry is for the lost, last, least, and left out and those who are willing to become the last and the least in his service, change their hearts, and offer their lives to Jesus. When you have nothing to protect and only the grace of God to capture your heart, then it's easy to declare the truth when you see it. Don’t harden your heart to the truth.


Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that You would open my heart to the truth of who Jesus is. Remove any doubts or misconceptions that may hinder my understanding of His divine nature and His role as my Savior and Lord. I ask that You reveal Your Son, Jesus, to me personally and profoundly. Help me to grasp the depth of His love, His sacrifice on the cross, and the power of His resurrection. May my life be a living testimony of Your love and grace, shining brightly for others to see. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.



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