Jesus Gives Us His Heart
By Dr. Jim Riley
“Blessed are those who are the pure in heart, for they will see God” Matthew 5:8
What did Jesus mean by “pure in heart?” What could he mean? Does he expect us to be pure?
Debby and I don’t go to see many movies but we were interested in seeing the movie Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Tom Hanks portrays Mister Rogers in the movie, a powerful story of kindness triumphing over cynicism. It’s based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and a journalist for Esquire Magazine. This journalist had a very jaded view of Mr. Rogers. But after spending some time on several occasions with him, he overcomes his skepticism. Mr. Rogers took an interest in him and even went to visit his family and showed amazing love for the journalist’s dad, who was dying. Mr. Rogers was a genuinely loving person. He was not merely an image on a TV show. He was the real thing. The journalist saw he had a “pure heart.” He was deeply impacted and he overcame his cynicism.
Jesus tells us that we will be blessed by being pure. Blessed means we are happy and content! But how are the pure happy? The world tells us that pleasure is what brings happiness. Purity sounds prudish! Puritanical! It is too narrow thinking. How can you happy? It seems a paradox, an unthinkable way of feeling blessed.
How does God expect us to be pure? There is a way!
As we have seen over and over, Jesus teaches us a new way to think about real life. He knows the best way to live a happy life, including being pure in heart. To be pure means to be single-minded, single-hearted. It means not being hypocritical, saying one thing and doing another. A double-minded person will never feel blessed by God. Jesus spoke out against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and priests who taught one thing but lived another. Jesus criticized them for mistreating the poor. He saw through their false religion and exposed their impure heart. We need more people like Mr. Rogers. We need neighbors like him. We need neighborhoods with days not of violence and killings, but with beautiful days of kindness and decency.
How can we have a pure heart? It is a gift God gives us.
In Ezekiel 11:19 God promises his people this: “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” Jesus’ death on the cross makes possible this promise from God. It was there Jesus gave us his heart. Jesus’ heart was broken in two that we might have a new undivided heart. Jesus’ heart was pierced by a sword so that our hard hearts can be healed and restored. In giving us his heart Jesus took our punishment and endured the cross that we might become people with a new heart.