Burning Hearts

“They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures!?”

(Luke 24:32)

This verse holds a very special place in my heart. It has been my life and my ministry for many years. It encapsulates my own experience and my passion for Scripture. Of course, I did not receive a bodily appearance of the resurrected Lord Jesus. Yet, like many other people, I’ve experienced him non-the-less real, open the Scripture to me in an amazing and life changing way. It happens often, but I’m sad to say not every-time I engage the Word of God. It could, and that is my goal. But it is also my goal to help others experience that burning heart as the Lord Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, opens the Scripture to reveal fresh insights and a sense of the real presence of God.

This verse is set in the context of the resurrected Jesus appearing to two disciples on resurrection Sunday as they walked from Jerusalem to a small village, Emmaus. They were depressed, dejected and very disappointed. They had given themselves to Jesus of Nazareth as the long expected Messiah. They had followed him investing themselves and all they had totally to him and his ministry. Then, on that terrible day in Jerusalem, the Romans and the Jewish religious leaders had Jesus crucified. He was dead and put in a tomb. All of a sudden their world quickly came tumbling down. The shock was devastating.

As they made their way from Jerusalem to Emmaus, Jesus came along side of them and engaged them in conversation. While they walked along the road Jesus talked with them from Moses and all the prophets, showing them that all the Old Testament revealed the suffering and glory of the Messiah. When they arrived at the village Emmaus they were so enthralled with his teaching that they urged him to stay with them. As they sat at the table and Jesus took bread and blessed it and broke it they realized that it was Jesus and he vanished from their sight.

What these two disciples experienced that day many people over the centuries have experienced. It is not a one time experience. It is meant to be a daily experience as we prayerfully engage the Scriptures by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. As we go about the natural experience of reading and thinking deeply about the Scripture, the Holy Spirit gives us a supernatural experience. He illuminates our hearts and minds to grasp the truths we are reading. The insights we gain causes our hearts to burn within us. The Bible becomes meaningful and relevant to life. We see things about God, about ourselves and our relationship to God. The more we engage the Scriptures this way the more and greater are the insights we receive. It is through this experience of burning hearts that we are more likely to apply what we’ve learned to our everyday lives. Another great blessing from this experience is that we are highly motivated to go back to the source of that experience, holy Scripture, again and again. We are like a starving person finding food.

Are you hungry for God? Do you long to know him more, love him more deeply and serve him more completely? Invest yourself, your time and your heart and soul to fellowshipping with him in his word. The rewards far outweigh the cost in time and energy. If your experience is less than I’ve described, stick with it, be prayerful, be patient. God desires to speak to you in his word! He will meet you there!

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