The Way of the Burning Heart

If you have grown up in church, or if you have been around long enough, I am sure this is a subject that has been discussed countless times. My desire is not to belabor the point, but church, we need this more than ever. We need a renewed, sustaining, and deepening love for the Word of God. This seems to me, like one of those topics, where everything that can be said, has already been said. Still, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I want to talk to about developing a deeper love for the Word. What better way than to search the scriptures together!

ENCOUNTERS IN THE WORD

That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognizing him. (Luke 24:13-16).

This is in the aftermath of Jesus’ crucifixion, when undoubtedly many of the disciples would have been discouraged. They have apparently heard the news about the women who visited the empty tomb. As they are discussing what these reports could mean, Jesus comes and starts to walk with them, but he keeps them from recognizing who he is. They continue this conversation with Jesus (Luke 24:17-26) and Jesus finally responds saying...

Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on, but they begged him, “Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.” So he went home with them. As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared! 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?” (Luke 24:27-32).

Jesus starts to reveal all the Scriptures that speak about himself in the Old Testament, and their hearts were burning as Jesus was explaining the Scriptures to them. Of all the ways that Jesus could have revealed himself, he decides to reveal himself to them through the Word first. Jesus was right in front of them but they did not engage him with their eyes first, but with their hearts. They encountered him first through the Scriptures as a burning in their hearts. Why do you think Jesus did that? Would it not have been more impressive to let them see himself in the flesh first with their own eyes and then explain the Scriptures? Then Jesus takes the bread, blesses it, then breaks bread (fellowship) with the two men. As he is breaking the bread, their eyes are opened, but he disappears and they say to each other, “Was you heart burning like mine? I have never felt passion like that before! I was so filled with faith and promise!” Why do you think Jesus decides to reveal himself at the breaking of the bread? Could it be as Jesus said that, “man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”(Matt. 4:4).  Or maybe it is because Jesus says of himself, “I am the bread of life, whoever come to me will never hunger again” (John 6:35). Or maybe Jesus is making reference to God’s supernatural provision in the feeding of the five thousand (Matt. 14:19), or the bread from heaven (Ex. 16). These passages are echoed throughout this story. I think Jesus was intentional in revealing himself through the Scripture then at the breaking of bread. Do you see it? Do you want to meet with Jesus? He has given you the invitation to meet him in his Word, because he is the Word who became flesh. Do you want intimate fellowship with Jesus? Break bread with him. The invitation is there!

WHAT YOU VALUE IS WHAT YOU SEEK

I believe with all my heart that God desires to and is longing to speak to his children (Heb. 1:2). The question is, “are we listening?” As you read the scriptures, there is the sense that God, while he desires to speak, will not force anyone to listen. And at the same time, the more you value his word, the more he will speak to you.It is as the Scriptures says, “He opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (Ps 138:6, Proverbs 3:34, Matt. 23:12, Luke 1:52, James 4:6, 1 Pet. 5:5...and so much more). Do you want God to speak to you? I know you do, but you must ask ourselves. Do you value his Word? Jesus says that the Holy Spirit will come as advocate who will teach us and remind us of all that he (Jesus) has taught. But how does the Spirit teach us what we are not willing to study, or remind us of what we do not know? Think about the heroes of the faith. Daniel was given great revelation and understanding on a whole different level. But did you know that God gave him this insight while he was studying the words of the prophet Jeremiah, and interceding for God’s people (Daniel 9). He studied and held closely to the word of God, and prayed accordingly. God found a faithful man who valued his word and sent the angel Gabriel to give him greater revelation!

ASK FOR HELP

I want to remind us that we are called to “make the most of every opportunity because the days are evil” (Eph 5:16). Do you find it difficult to read the Bible? To see it more than something on your checklist? Is it hard to find time, or to be excited about it? Brothers and sisters, can I challenge you with this idea? Your opportunity is now! Here is the good news: It is not too late! Do you know how many times I have asked God to give me a deeper love for His word? Do you know how many times I would read the scriptures and feel so far behind, or feel like it was impossible to understand or to be interested. Friends, Jesus understands the process and he is always giving an invitation for us to find Him in His Word.