Todays readings.. Numbers 15, Proverbs 11, Luke 24.
“DID NOT OUR HEARTS BURN …”
Today we completed our reading of Luke’s Gospel and it is Luke who gives us the fascinating account of the two disciples who were walking to Emmaus. They had heard news that some women had gone to the tomb early that morning and had found it empty and claimed they had seen a vision of angels who said Jesus was alive. As they talked and puzzled over this report, it is obvious they had no faith in this report.
Jesus drew near to them as a fellow traveller on the road, but “their eyes were kept from recognizing him … and they stood still, looking sad” [v.17]. Jesus asks what things are concerning them. They presume he has only just arrived in Jerusalem, so they tell him about “Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet, mighty in deed and word” [v.19] and how they “had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel” but he had been killed by the leaders. But “this morning … some women of our company amazed us,” they went to the tomb early and claimed remarkable experiences.
Then the stranger starts talking, “O foolish ones and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken” and “he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” [v.25,27]. Later, after they realize it is Jesus as he breaks the bread and then vanishes, they say, “did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures” [v.33]. Now there are times when we suddenly see what the scriptures mean, so that our hearts thrill; we could say, “burn” with spiritual excitement. This depends of course on our spiritual zeal as we read. Have you experienced words suddenly coming “alive” on the page!
Reflect on what happened to cause them to recognize Jesus! What was happened at that moment? We read, “He took bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them” [v.30] Visualize this, as his hands move to give them the broken bread they would have seen those hands. What hands! What had happened to them! What a stunning shock to realize who he was! Imagine if you and I had that experience!
How long now before we have the greatest experience any mortal being can have – to witness the unimaginable drama of events as Christ returns. Many, we suspect, will be like the men appointed to guard the tomb! When Jesus rose, they became “like dead men”! But for us, the experience of his return, will cause “our hearts (to) burn” – our very being will be on ‘fire’ – imagine it! It is beyond our imagination! But how soon now?