“And He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” (Luke 24:45 MKJV)
This story is one of my favorites. The disciples are not at first named. It could be me and you. The Roman road still exists. It leads out of Jerusalem near a small village and down a hill. The road is made from stones, like the stones on the Via De La Rosa, the road Y’shuaJesus trod on His way to Golgotha to die for me, and for you.
These disciples were talking about the events of the weekend. They were conversing and reasoning together, in reality a civil sort of argument, about what had happened to Y’shua. They’d expected the Savior of Israel to lead a rebellion against Rome. They’d expected many things that appeared now to be but dreams, gone like vapor after awakening. They were perplexed, astonished even, for they’d heard Y’shua wasn’t dead, that he’d come back from the dead. Why, he’d even appeared to certain women of their company.
As this argument continues, a man appears and asks, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk, and are sad?”
“Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?” is one’s response. Then this stranger explained the events of which they discussed and reasoned—argued.
It occurs to me that I might easily have rebuffed this man who appears ignorant of the times, the hopes and dreams of Israel’s deliverance, and how we have the right to be sad and mourn our loss.
“O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Messiah to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” says this fellow who’d joined the pair.
“And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” (v27)
They did not know this was Y’shua, until later. It was in one of the disciples’ homes, into which Y’shua had been invited, that they shared bread. Y’shua took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. It was then that their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.
“They said to one another, ‘Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?’” (v32)
It is my prayer that our Lord Y’shuaJesus continue to open the eyes of our hearts. And more that our hearts burn within us. It is in reading and application of His Word, His Scriptures, that we are transformed, conformed to Him. As we read the Bible, we must interpret it; we must find our understanding within it.
While in college, I had two English literature professors with differing opinions about interpretation of literature. One, Jimmi Cushing, a poet and professor, taught about various ways we interpret literature. One of the ways we use is to bring some of ourselves to the text. We bring it it our own personal experiences and situations. The other professor taught his version of interpretation, and that this was the only proper interpretation.
It’s easy now to laugh a little at the second professor’s method. I recall my interpretation of Emily Dickens’s poetry as being love poems to our Lord. My professor said this is bunk, that she wrote to a mysterious lover, one that was never revealed. He said I was wrong, he was right. Needless to say, I stuck to my thesis, and was ridiculed in class by him. Okay. He’s entitled to his foolish view.
Jimmi Cushing wouldn’t necessarily have agreed with me on my interpretation, but he’d have said I have the right to this interpretation.
Hum. Sound familiar in light of various religious world views today? There are those with dogmatic views of their religious writing that say they are right and any other thinking is wrong. There are others that believe all truth is relative truth. That is my truth isn’t necessarily your truth; both are true, for us individually.
So we have a hard task today, with so many teachings, even short devotionals. Jude warns of those who “have crept in unnoticed. . . who turn the grace of our G-d into lewdness and deny the only Lord G-d and our Lord Y’shuaJesus Messiah. . . [who] mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. . . [they] are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.” (Jude 4, 16, 19)
Once, some years ago an Australian Christian pastor lamented to me that the United States exported so many false Christian doctrines. It’s no longer true today; false doctrines emanate from all countries and all denominations.
Y’shuaJesus warns us, “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. Therefore, if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out.’” (Matthew 24:23-26)
Jude tells us we are to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” And “building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of G-d, looking for the mercy of our Lord Y’shuaJesus Messiah unto eternal life.” That we may not fear, we have been given the Spirit of the Living and Holy G-d as a seal and a guide. We approach all teaching and reading of the Scripture as children of the Creator of the Universe, as babies, really. And we remember the way Y’shuaJesus opened the eyes of the disciples on the road to Emmaus.
We pray: Lord, “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your Law.” (Psalm 119:18) “Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way.” (Psalm 119:37) “Give me understanding. . .” (Psalm 119:34)
And what of those who read and don’t understand? Those who desire, but simply haven’t yet received the Lord as their Lord and Savior, but have received a Bible and begun to read it? To those who seek G-d in His word, assistance will come. Remember the Ethiopian in the desert (see Acts 8:26) and how G-d brought to him a man to help him understand.
May we be ready to be a Philip to a person reading the Word. May we test all spirits, to see that they are indeed from G-d. May we inspect all teachings, that the Spirit of G-d within us bears witness to them as of G-d.
We live in perilous times. We live in exciting times. Now let us be found continually reading the Scriptures to know Y’shuaJesus, to be transformed by Him. Let us be filled with the Spirit, praying always for all the Saints of the Living G-d.
May G-d Bless, Keep, and Shine upon you all, in the Name of Y’shuaJesus, our Lord and Savior. AMEN.