You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ. (1 Peter 1:18–19)
How precious is the beating heart of the Son of God?
He is truly human. And in taking our flesh and blood, and becoming man, he took, with his truly human body and reasoning soul, an actual human heart — not the metaphorical heart of uncreated deity, but one like the one pumping, right now, in your our body, keeping the blood of life flowing through your veins.
His Human Heart
One marvel of human gestation is that our hearts begin to beat only three weeks after conception. Only weeks after the angel appeared and announced to his mother, “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus” (Luke 1:31), the human heart of the Son of God began to beat. Then for nine more months, his heart grew larger and stronger. And for more than three decades, moment by moment, one precious beat after another, the human heart of the Son of God pumped. Each beat gave life to the one in whom is life.
Never has more hung on a human pulse. And that heart did beat, without pause, from the womb, throughout his childhood, to adulthood. As he learned to walk and talk, and as he learned to read. And later as he learned to work with his hands and labor as a carpenter. His heart beat as he rested and slept, and its rate rose as he moved about Nazareth, walking, running, lifting, navigating up and down steps and hills.
On average it beat almost five thousand time each hour, and more than 100,000 times each day — and in all, more than 42 million times each year. Each beat upheld by the hand of his Father, like each beat of your heart.
His Heart Stops
And yet, on that singular terrible Friday — the one we’ve now learned to call Good — his human heart finally stopped.
After Pilate gave Jesus over to be crucified, they scourged him — severely beating him with a multi-lashed whip, with pieces of bone and metal in the end that tore the flesh off his back. How close did his heart come to stopping as lash 38 landed, and then 39? And then he shouldered his own crossbeam, wearing a crown of thorns, with his back slit open — how did his heart endure?
Then they nailed him there for his final six hours until, at last, in agony, he could no longer breathe, and the human heart of the Son of God stopped. They pierced his side to make sure he was dead. It was confirmed.
His Heart Beats
After he died, they took his body down, wrapped it in grave cloths, and laid it in a nearby tomb. And for Friday night, and all day Saturday, and into the early hours of Sunday, there his body lay, dead. His lungs and nostrils did not breathe. He had no pulse. His heart did not beat.
Have you ever pondered those world-altering moments that Sunday morning from inside the tomb? His disciples, the women, the soldiers, and Pilate were locked on the outside of the stone. But what mattered most, the body of Christ, and his human heart, lay inside.
Imagine that first instant, as the angels saw it from heaven, when his cold, lifeless heart began to beat again. Was his human body transfigured in a moment, as God had done for the eyes of his disciples on the mountain? Or perhaps, in divine patience, God slowly produced the first taste of the harvest to come, glorified Christ’s flesh, gently warmed his heart, and then, for the first time, it began to beat again, now with an unstoppable rhythm, one that will march on without end.
So My Heart Beats
Now Jesus’s glorified human heart will never again cease to beat. It now pumps the blood of eternal life through his human veins — and for all his people. He ascended, in our human flesh and blood, to heaven, pioneered our way into the very presence of God as our fellow human, and sat down, with all authority, on heaven’s throne at the right hand of his Father.
And one day soon, we will see him as he is, and be like him (1 John 3:2). Even now, “in him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7). In him, we are “the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood” (Acts 20:28) — “the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:19).
Now, in Christ, our hearts beat. He has opened the eyes of our hearts to see “the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe” (Ephesians 1:18–19). Even as we know that our present physical hearts will one day stop, as his did, so he has promised us that we, like him, will rise. And our hearts will beat forever. Because his heart, infinitely precious, beats again, and always will.