Will you join me for a few minutes to take a trip back in time?
Today we will join two friends, Cleopas and his companion, walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus after Christ’s death. Friends whose hearts ached with sorrow as they spoke of how the Roman authorities persecuted, tortured, and executed their teacher and friend. In the midst of their conversation, Jesus joined them, but Scripture says they didn’t recognize Him.
Let’s imagine ourselves on that same road … believers who had put all our hope in Jesus. With His death, we now feel abandoned and hopeless. Yet, unbeknownst to us, standing next to us is the risen Jesus Himself!
Jesus asked the two men what they were talking about.
Expressing deep sadness, Cleopas shared how Jesus, the mighty prophet who did amazing miracles and preached powerful messages, had been crucified. He ended with these words: “We had been hoping He was the One – you know, the One who would liberate all Israel and bring God’s promises.” Luke 24:21
Basically, they told Jesus that He had let them down. Most distressing to Jesus was their lack of faith. They spoke these words in spite of the fact that trusted friends had gone to the tomb, discovered no body, and received a message from angels that Jesus was alive.
Jesus rebuked them: “Come on men, why are you being so foolish? Why are your hearts so sluggish when it comes to believing what the prophets have been saying all along?” Luke 24:25
Jesus knew the problem lay not in their heads but in their hearts. So He then took them on another journey. This one through the Old Testament, beginning with Moses and continuing prophet by prophet, explaining the meaning of the prophets’ words and how each predicted the very things they had witnessed.
Jesus spoke God’s Word in a fresh way.
Can you imagine how wonderful it must have been to hear the words of Scripture delivered by Jesus Himself?
Upon reaching their destination, they invited Jesus to join them for dinner. He accepted. When they sat down, Jesus took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and handed it to them. Scripture says that in that instant, their eyes were suddenly opened so that they recognized Him. And a moment later, Jesus vanished! (Luke 24:31)
What changed in that moment? Before, these two men believed only part of what they had been taught growing up. They never got the big picture of Who Jesus was and was to be. They saw the King, not the servant … the crown, not the cross … the glory, not the suffering.
Listen to the words they spoke to each other after Jesus left:
“Amazing! Weren’t our hearts on fire within us while He was talking to us on the road? Didn’t you feel it all coming clear as He explained the meaning of the Hebrew Scripture?” Luke 24:32 (emphasis added)
The NIV says “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us … and opened the Scriptures to us?”
Friend, they experienced spiritual heartburn! The word “burn” is from the Greek verb kaio, meaning “to set on fire.” Metaphorically, it means Jesus’ words created a hunger and passion within them they had never before experienced. His words captivated their hearts.
Jesus, the master story teller, brought what seemed simple Bible stories alive for Cleopas and his friend. As He opened the Scriptures, the puzzle pieces came together in such a powerful way that they not only listened, but something within them changed … something so profound that they immediately went to Jerusalem to share with others what they had seen and heard.
Jesus used His Word to teach, rebuke, correct and train Cleopas and his friend. Jesus’ spoken word enlightened their minds and deepened their faith. His visit empowered and equipped them for the task He called them to … sharing the good news they had just heard.
God will do the same for us. How He longs for us to open His Word so He can teach us! God is waiting to speak into our lives just as Jesus spoke into theirs. Sometimes He will teach and train, and we’ll savor it. Sometimes he will rebuke and correct, and we’ll fight it. But through it all, we’ll gain a confidence in His Word. A confidence like we’ve never had, one that will strengthen our convictions. And as our convictions strengthen, God will use those convictions to equip us for His Kingdom work
**This devotion is taken, in part, from Chapter Two of my book,Living So That. Click here to learn more about the book or order a copy.**
I’m thankful you spent time with me here today. I would love to hear from you. Please share a time when you have felt spiritual heartburn. I will choose one comment to receive a signed copy of my book Living So That. Stop by next week, and I’ll announce the winner.