Daily Lectionary: Numbers 14:26-45; St. Luke 18:35-19:10
“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.” (Ezekiel 36:26)
In the name of Jesus. Amen. With the Lord’s ascension complete, we continue to focus on His promise to send the Holy Spirit. Remember the Savior’s promise? At the Last Supper Jesus said of the Holy Spirit, “He will teach you all things,” (St. John 14:26).
God’s people of old demonstrated that they had stone heart. A stone heart is stubborn, fixed and unteachable. They refused to receive God’s Torah, His holy instruction. Hearts of stone are heavy anchors of idolatry and selfishness that drag people down to the depths of hell.
So, the heathen nations witnessed that Israel was no better than them. Worse yet, Israel’s conduct gave off a false impression of who their God was. To the nations, Israel’s God must have approved of their sinful way of life, thus solidifying the nations’ condemnation.
But God will not have His name profaned! He will not stand by and let others, even His enemies, doubt His holiness. Not for the sake of the people, but for the sake of His own holy name, God acts. He will show Himself to be holy through His people. And so, He promises to remove their hearts of stone and replace them with hearts of flesh.
Flesh often takes on a negative connotation in Scripture. When St. Paul speaks of flesh, he is often referring to the sinful nature. But flesh itself isn’t bad. God gave us bodies of flesh in creation. Flesh has been corrupted in sin. Sin turns it to stone. Only the Almighty and Sovereign Lord has the power to replace that stone with flesh – living, vibrant flesh.
You were born with a heart of stone – unteachable, blind, dead, in opposition to God and His will. But Christ bore the crushing weight of your sinful, stone heart upon the Cross. In Him, you see a true heart of flesh, one that beats in harmony with God. In Christ, you are a new creation in which you receive a new heart like His.
God began this new creation in your Baptism, replacing your stone heart with one of flesh. He has made your heart a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit, Who teaches you all things, as you wait for God to bring it all to completion on the Day of Christ Jesus. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
“Create in me a new heart, Lord, That gladly I obey Your Word. Let what you will be my desire, And with new life my soul inspire.” (LSB #704, verse 3)
Easter 2007 Reflections were written by the Rev. Joel Fritsche, Admissions Counselor at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO.
Questions or comments regarding the Reflections may be sent to the Rev. Mark Buetow, Reflections Editor, email@example.com.