The hardening of hearts is a complicated matter in the family of God. God desires for all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of his truth, yet in Jesus’ time, religious leaders fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy to have hard hearts and reject the Saviour…
37 Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet:
“Lord, who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
39 For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:
40 “He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts,
so they can neither see with their eyes,
nor understand with their hearts,
nor turn—and I would heal them.”
41 Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him.
42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved human praise more than praise from God.
44 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45 The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
Isaiah predicts that some people will be blinded from believing in Jesus. If everyone saw and believed Jesus’ miracles, then he would not have been crucified. The hardening of the Pharisees and other self-righteous leaders was critical to the events leading to the death and resurrection of the Lord.
After the resurrection, the spread of Christianity was propelled by the continued rejection of those leaders and others within Jesus’ own people. John writes in 1:11-12, “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
In fact, Paul clarifies in Romans 11 that the unbelief of Jews (Israel) made the way for Gentiles (the rest of the world) to be grafted into the family of God. And the Lord will return to his people to unharden them and save Israel in the future (Romans 11:25-26).
When we believe in Jesus, we believe the Father who sent him, and Jesus’ desire is for no one to stay in darkness, but to embrace the light of Jesus’ life (John 12:46). God does not desire for any heart to be hardened from believing in him today.
When we realize what lengths God went to in order to save us from our sin and darkness, it opens the door to consider God’s plan for our lives and his love for each one of us…
Do not let your heart be hard.