Hearts ablaze

Hearts ablaze

Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us? –Luke 24:32

Luke 24:13-35

 13 That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem.

 15 As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them.

 16 But God kept them from recognizing him.

 17 He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?” They stopped short; sadness written across their faces.

 18 “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.”

 19 “What things?” Jesus asked. “The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and he was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people.

 21 We had hoped he was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago.

 27 Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

 31 Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared!

 32 They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?”

Rocky IV starring Sylvester Stallone was released in 1985.  Rocky IV was the highest grossing sports movie for 24 years. Rocky had to come out of retirement to fight a Russian fighter named Drago in Moscow on Christmas. This world heavyweight champion fight changes both fighters and the world.

The theme song is Burning Heart. The final portion is as follows:

In the burning heart just about to burst.

There’s a quest for answers an unquenchable thirst.

In the darkest night rising like a spire.

In the burning heart the unmistakable fire.

We are born spiritually blind and unaware. In our fallen world and our natural fallen state, we sadly move through life blind to the Truth. We walk by sight and not by faith. Every now and then one thing or another touches our hearts and we burn within. Does it last? Sadly not for long. The sparks fade, the embers grow dark, and we return to our former indifference and insensitivity.

The cold, lonely darkness is intensified when we are sad, discouraged, or confused. The gospel of Luke tells the story of two people walking on the road to Emmaus. They are gloomy and despondent. Why? They had been with Jesus and the disciples in Jerusalem. They had the greatest hopes and expectations. Surely Jesus was the One, the Messiah, the Hope of Israel. But something terrible happened. He was betrayed, falsely accused, turned over to the Romans and crucified. He was dead. When Jesus died all hope and joy died with Him.

They were completely down in the dumps discussing the events of the last few days. Suddenly something marvelous happens, Jesus joins them on their journey. But the Father supernaturally prevents them from recognizing Him.

When someone is confused and distressed, sometimes just talking about it makes them feel much better.  Jesus of course is a master at helping people open up.  What does the Lord Jesus Christ do? He engages them in conversation. He asked questions which allowed them to express their grief and unload their inmost thoughts and concerns.  He got them to reveal what they knew and believed. 

Their hopes and expectations were dashed. Unmet expectations can be devastating to  our souls and spirits. Not only had Jesus been rejected, crucified, and buried. But now it was the third day. Wasn’t something big supposed to happen on the third day? But as far as they knew, nothing had!  They heard rumors and stories: an empty tomb, a missing body, and angel sightings. But who can be certain about such wild tales?  Surely, they thought, they were probably nothing more than the wild imagination of some very gullible, discouraged, if not hysterical Jesus followers. 

Can you imagine what was going on in their minds regarding their unknown and mysterious companion? What, are you dense? Are you the only guy that doesn’t have a clue about what has been going on? It is somewhat incongruous that those who are truly clueless and dense would accuse somebody else of the same thing.

REFLECT & PRAY

Jeremiah 20:9  But if I say I’ll never mention the LORD or speak in his name, his word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it!

Father I want my heart to burn within me and never be extinguished. Please start and maintain a fiery chain reaction to the Truth and nourishment Your Word alone provides.

INSIGHT

The Word of God is profound and sublime. It uses simple and easily understood stories.

The gospel of Luke offers a simple, yet poignant narrative. The value and impact of story far exceeds the events themselves. It sheds light on the sadness and despair of crushed human hopes. It demonstrates the power of the Word of God to shed light on and provide Truth regarding many of life’s mysteries. It shows that just a tiny amount of Truth, understood and internalized, can warm our hearts and even set them ablaze.

A bit of old-time religion and a quick Sunday school lesson changes everything. The Lord Jesus Christ asked probing questions and whetted the appetites of the disciples. A little spark was all it took.

Luke 24:27,32

 27 Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

 32 They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?”

The Holy Spirit used gentle persuasion to prepare their hearts and minds to receive. Then came the rush of insight and the eyes of their hearts were opened. It was a profound aha moment. Then something even more wonderful happened. Their spiritual hunger was satisfied through the nutritious food of the Word of God, they wanted more!

The Lord Jesus Christ had provided answers to many of their heartfelt concerns with wisdom, kindness, and gentleness. They were no longer blocked from recognizing Him.

Suddenly they realized that it was Jesus who was present with them. All doubts and sadness were dispelled. Faith was strengthened.

How can we get excited about God’s Word? It must be read it with understanding. Sometimes this requires a tutor to show us the way. The Father provides teachers just for this purpose. We begin where we are and let the Truth of the Word speak to our hearts.

Only you can prevent spiritual fires within.

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