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.
Jesus performed many miracles, but this did not in itself make believers of the people who saw the miracles. Sometimes I’ve thought, if only people could only see a miracle surely then they would believe in Jesus. Clearly this is not the case both then and now.
It’s also possible to read this passage and come to the conclusion that it was God who blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts so that they couldn’t believe.
But as we see throughout the whole bible, God gives people over to the hardness of their hearts – He is not the cause of it.
This is what stands out to me today: If I continually close my eyes to the truth in any one area, there comes a time when I become so closed off that I simply cannot see the truth.
I have experienced in my own life – sometimes it takes a huge ‘wake-up call’ event to open my eyes to my own hardness of heart and to face the truth about myself.
Pride, fear of what others think of me…”for they loved human praise more than praise from God”, these are the things that lead to hard hearts and blind eyes.
God, help us to humble ourselves this day to see your truth, free from the fear of man, and to live honestly before You.
Written by Shelley Witt