Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Open the eyes of my heart

Luke 24:28-31…

He acted as if he were going farther. Jesus wanted to give them an opportunity to respond to what He had been teaching. Having been taught the truth about how the Messiah was supposed to suffer, would they now dismiss Him? Indeed not, they were actually hungry for more. So he went in to stay with them.

We spend our time either doing or trying to do what we are interested in. It’s the great principle of most people’s lives. Jesus won’t force himself on you, but if you are interested in the kingdom of God, He will stick around and you will get to know Him better. It is in that process that He reveals Himself to people (Hebrews 11:6).

You will often hear people talk about “sensing” the presence of God. Yet sometimes Jesus is there and we don’t even know it, until He reveals the condition of our hearts. Jesus can be right in front of you, walking with you and sitting down with you at every meal – and yet your eyes can be restrained from seeing Him. Pray that God would open your eyes to see Jesus as He is, with you all the time (Ephesians 1:16-21). Respond to His Word, and you will see His hand.

In the midst of a seemingly hopeless situation, that is the revelation we need the most. 

Monday, December 17, 2018

The heart of Bible study

Luke 24:25-27…

We often think the main obstacles to belief are in the head, but they are actually in the heart. These men were like many in that day, their belief was selective. They did not want to believe that the Messiah was supposed to die. Jesus was telling them that while the Messiah would indeed be the Triumphant King, He must first be the Suffering Servant.

The prophets may not have fully understood all this, but they were guided by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21). Their message about the coming Messiah was a mixture of suffering and glory (1 Peter 1:10-11).  The Messiah’s suffering was not just compatible with His glory, and it was not just the gateway to His glory. The suffering was itself a vital part of His glory. We see the worship in Heaven of the One who was slain (Revelation 1:17-18, 5:1-14).

The Jews of the day didn’t want to believe that the Messiah had to suffer, and they didn’t want to believe that they would have to suffer, either.  But it was the false prophets who spoke only of peace and prosperity. It was the true prophets who spoke of trials and suffering. Many are the same way today, thinking that when Jesus comes into your life that it will be only triumph and satisfaction, but that is simply not true (Philippians 1:29).

Jesus led them through the Old Testament, showing them that suffering and glory could not be separated in the prophecies pertaining to Messiah. Accordingly, it is the same path we will have to take if we follow Jesus (1 Peter 4:1-2). What a Bible study this must have been! And the lesson is one we must take to heart today as much as ever (1 Peter 4:12-14).

Sunday, December 16, 2018

The right sort of hope

Mark 16:12 / Luke 24:13-24…

Two of Jesus’ followers were on their way to Emmaus, discussing the things they had been hearing about. But the reports meant little to them, because they didn’t hear about anyone actually seeing Jesus yet. These men obviously didn’t believe Jesus had risen from the dead, because they were not on the way to Galilee to meet Him (Matthew 28:7 / Mark 16:7).

So Jesus came to them instead. He approached them along the way, but they didn’t yet know it was Him. When Jesus asks them about their discussion, they seem amazed that He had not heard about the news yet. Even in the days before electronic and digital media, even many centuries before the printing press, news like a resurrection was sure to spread fast. Of course, how people processed this news made a lot of difference as to how they responded.

As for these men, they were unbelieving, utterly defeated, giving up and going home. They had been disappointed, but it was because their hope was misguided. They expected a temporal triumph (he was the one to redeem Israel), in other words, freedom from Roman bondage. Yet their true hope was fulfilled in a greater way than they could have ever dreamed of, in other words, from the bondage of sin, death, and hell. They had wanted a political and social revolution. He was providing a spiritual revolution.

People often have a sad and hopeless reaction to the good news even today. That’s because they want a Jesus that isn’t really there. Jesus comes to us, but we don’t recognize Him because we are looking for someone else. It isn’t that Jesus lets people down. But our hope must be in who He is, not in our ideas about what we think He is supposed to do.