After hearing their testimony about all that had happened, Jesus responds to these two disciples by saying, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe” (v. 25). We don’t know the tone of his voice here. Is Jesus scolding? Or does he say this gently before guiding them through the Scriptures to aid their understanding?
Many translations indicate that the disciples are slow of heart to believe, not simply slow to believe. This reminds us all that when it comes to faith, belief is a matter of the heart. When we let our heart guide us, we read the Scriptures and learn to believe. When we let the heart be our guide, we read the story of our lives and believe that God is faithful to us.
During the early months of last year’s COVID-19 pandemic, Carson and I decided to temporarily remain in the US at the end of a furlough. Then we found ourselves indefinitely banned from entering Japan, where we live and serve. While talking with my sister about questioning our decision to stay, she asked, “Do you believe God has a reason for your being in the U.S.?”
“I don’t know if I can logically say that I do,” I replied. “Sometimes there isn’t a reason for bad things in our lives.” In my time as a minister, I know the dangers of quipping “there’s a reason for everything.” On the other hand, when I read Jesus’ words in this passage, I see him look at me and say, “How slow of heart you are to believe.” Believing with our heart moves us beyond either subscribing to or doubting simple mantras of faith. The faith we need requires a heart that is ready to embrace the faithful God, who works for good, and who is with us no matter what.
When have you been slow of heart to believe? How could you love God with all of your heart as well as your mind today?
Gracious God, forgive me for the times that I have been slow of heart to believe. Grant me the courage and wisdom to love and believe you fully. Amen.