Wednesday, April 20, 2011

With a heart of stone, you'll be well protected

"The Last Supper with Judas," Curtis Neeley
After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him; Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot.

After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Do quickly what you are going to do.” Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the festival”; or, that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.”

- John 13:21-32

It’s easier not to care. It’s easier on our hearts. It’s easier to go straight to the entertainment news, or ignore that special collection they’re taking up, or make a cynical comment instead of a constructive one. I think I’ve done all three of these things in the past few days alone! But what happens when we don’t care? If Matthew 25 is any indication, we fail to come to the aid of Jesus Himself.

There’s a longing in the heart to return to Eden, to go back to a state of innocence before we were as human as we are now. That longing hurts. Is it any wonder that we build walls around our hearts, or that we simply let them calcify?

Here’s Cher with what may be her finest song: “Heart of Stone.” The lyrics are here.

In a strange twist for a pop song, the real lyrical clincher can be found buried in the background vocals as the song begins to fade: “With a heart of stone, love’s not resurrected.” There are the consequences. There’s the down side to living a life of self-protection.

Judas will use his heart of stone to betray Jesus, and Jesus will go to the cross. All will seem lost. Yet, somewhere in the background, behind all the noise and hate, a seed will be planted. In and among hearts of stone throughout the world, love will be resurrected in the hearts of those who continue to let love in. Love doesn’t enter or take root without pain. Those with hearts of stone have stopped believing it’s worth it.

And what hope is there for those with hearts of stone? The prophet Ezekiel has God giving this reassurance: “A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (36:26). So all is never lost. God will continue to act. God will continue to reach out to those of us who fear we will never feel again, and resurrection will take root once more.


  1. Thanks! Your idea inspires me for my sermon tonight at the foot washing.

  2. I am glad my painting of the last supper added to your ideas. thanks

  3. Thank you, Curtis! I hope it was OK to share the painting, with credit. So many people share images so freely on the Web ... I hope this was an appropriate use. I think it's a wonderful painting!

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