The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart

The bible declares that “the heart is deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9). 

The heart is fickle.  



Last Sunday we thought about how Jesus fulfils the law…how he does for us that which we can’t do for ourselves. 

We thought about how that is good news. 

Because, the heart of the matter is the matter of the heart. 

Try as we might, our good deeds never deal with what’s at the root….the sin that is inside. 

That’s why Jesus described the Pharisees as like white-washed tombs. All shiny and pristine on the outside…but like decaying bones on the inside. 

Their good deeds were just a cover-up. 

A best attempt at living perfectly. 

But it didn’t work. Couldn’t work. 

Because, the heart of the matter is the matter of the heart. 

So this week I’m reading some of the Easter story. 

And I almost laugh out loud. 


But stop myself. 

Because I realise that there’s a little Pharisee inside each of us. 

We like to self-justify. 

We play games with what we know to be God’s ways. 

We do one thing and ignore another. 

Don’t we? 

Let me explain…. 

Matthew 26…..The Jewish leaders arrange Jesus’ arrest in Gethsemane. They take him back to Caiaphas, the high priest. And so begins their mock trial. 

V59 – they were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. 

Make sure you get that. 

The Jewish leaders were looking for false evidence. They were concocting a case. Planting witnesses. Fabricating evidence. 

Their hearts were revelling in dishonesty. Glorying in lies. 

Now go to John 18.

 After their own interrogation, the Jewish leaders, knowing they can’t pass the sentence of death, take Jesus to the palace of the Roman governor, a Gentile. 

V28 – to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. 

Do you see? 

Matthew 26…they lie to their hearts’ content. 

John 18…they are concerned with mixing with Gentiles as it will make them ceremonially unclean….they wouldn’t be able to eat the Passover without some elaborate purification ritual. 

They’re concerned with outward respectability. 

But not bothered with the sin they harbour inside. 


The contrast is stark. Almost comical. 

If it did not describe us too. 

Are we not concerned with doing “what’s right” so others can see? Of maintaining an air of Christian respectability? 

But at the same time we harbour all sorts of evil thoughts; we feed our sinful appetites; we glory in things of the world and not the things of God. 

Tell me I’m wrong. 

Remember, the heart of the matter is the matter of the heart. 

And that’s why Jesus is such good news. 

Because he not only fulfils the law and pays the penalty. 

But he gives us His Spirit. 

New hearts. Soft hearts. Hearts inclined towards God. 

He changes us. From the inside out. 

He changes our hearts. 

That, family, is good news. 

When you recognise your sin… 

…all you need to do…. 

is come to Jesus. 

In repentance. In faith. 

And receive.

Simon Lang