The Pharisees chided Him for letting the crowds cheer in excitement at His entry into Jerusalem, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” Rather than rebuke, Christ responded, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out” (Luke 19:40).
He then proceeded to weep over the city of Jerusalem, for their hearts were harder than rocks. Lest we point the finger too quickly, we must remember that our hearts are equally rock solid and steeled by sin.
After a book of prophecy largely devoted to the guilt of His people, the Lord prophecies a hope-filled word through the prophet Ezekiel.
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the and that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. Ezekiel 36: 26-28.
The Lord knew how to call it. We see hints here at the coming Redeemer who, though He could have easily made inanimate rocks and boulders worship Him, much preferred to redeem rocky-hearted people.
As Ezekiel dimly foresaw and declared, God would give new hearts to those hardened by sin. Those who throw themselves and their present lives as well as their eternal livelihood upon Christ are given new hearts, new identities and the indwelling promised Holy Spirit.
However, even redeemed hearts have rocky places, stiffened by sin. As we continue in Lent in our approach to the Easter season, I find myself praying Christ would make the rock-hard places of my own heart cry out to Him.
Today, I came upon the beautiful poem by Christina Rossetti below which echoes this sentiment.
Am I stone and not a sheep
That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy Cross,
To number drop by drop Thy blood’s slow loss,
And yet not weep?
Not so those women loved
Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
Not so the thief was moved;
Not so the Sun and Moon
Which hid their faces in a starless sky,
A horror of great darkness at broad noon,
I, only I.
Yet give not o’er,
But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;
Greater than Moses, turn and look once more
And smite a rock.
In the midst of the busyness of life, may we not miss the procession of His presence in our own lives. May Christ cause redeemed yet rocky hearts to cry out in worship. May He smite the places in our hearts that are sin-solid, softening them with the kneading of His Word.