Read Icon



Hard Hearts

Mark 6:52

Depending on the kind of change at hand, many people don't embrace change well—especially when it has to do with something as unsettling as changing one's own status in relation to God. People can be slow to change or they can be stubborn about changing—they can actively resist it. The Bible's term for being "stubborn about change" is hardness of heart.

The Egyptian pharaohs thought they were divine, so when Moses arrived with pronouncements about a God who demanded that His people be set free, Pharaoh stubbornly resisted that notion—"he hardened his heart" (Exodus 8:15, 19, 32; 9:7). Finally, "the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart" (Exodus 10:20), giving him over to his own stubborn desires (Romans 1:24, 26, 28).

At first, Jesus' disciples suffered from a bit of stubbornness in terms of Jesus' identity. Their hearts were slow to believe, even stubborn (hard) on occasion, though they gradually softened and yielded to what was happening in their lives. In spite of witnessing miracles by Jesus, they remained skeptical and unbelieving. When Jesus multiplied five loaves of bread and two fish to feed a massive crowd of thousands of people (Mark 6:34-44), the disciples could have given up all reservations about Jesus' being anointed by God. But it took further evidence. Later that same night, Jesus came to them, walking on water, in the midst of a storm on the Sea of Galilee. Rather than rejoicing at His presence, they shrunk back in fear (Mark 6:49-50). Mark connected the two events: They were afraid "for they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened" (verse 52). In time, their faith overcame their stubbornness and confusion (Luke 24:44-49; John 12:16; 13:7).

Biblical instances of stubborn hearts are warnings to us. But they are also evidence of the patience of God in allowing us to overcome our resistance to change.

Back to Mark