Journal Luke 24 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within in us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” Luke 24:32
“Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures…” Luke 24:45
Observation: Understanding the Scriptures is a supernatural event. It is also just a regular process of reading—a simple application of God’s Sovereignty and Human Responsibility.
Analysis: Reading the Scriptures is a simple thing; after all they are just words on a page. There are translations that are faithful to the original documents but are also written for a junior high reading level. There are nouns, verbs, adjectives, and other English class stuff that I can’t remember.
[Beware the following, I am slicing the theology thin and in steps…]
However, these same Scriptures indicate that understanding them is supernatural. Does that mean that the Scriptures are gibberish unless anointed to “understand?” No, gibberish they aren’t.
God’s Sovereignty is self-defining. He does what He wants to do; nothing can oppose Him. A dropping of revelation here or there? Bless His Name. A hardening of a heart, blinding an eye or two, deafening a set of ears here or there? Still bless His Name. That is what being Sovereign is all about—He is God, after all.
Human Responsibility is a description that is a little less clear for most of us. Man is not sovereign in anything. Under the Sovereignty of God, Man is responsible to make choices—but that is not the same as “free will.” For instance, if man is a slave to sin, bound by chains to sin, has the imprint of Adam’s rebelliousness in our DNA, how then can Man successfully repent? Remember, “none is righteous; no not one.” “All my efforts are like filthy rags…” —even my attempts to repent.
However, my Human Responsibility is to try. Whether repenting, or just reading, wanting to be successful, might be the first recognizable effort of Faith. To be clear, the desire to be successful in repenting from evil ways or just plain wanting to understand what I am reading is absolutely the act of God’s Sovereignty—whether big things (repentance) or seemingly little things (understanding the scriptures) are all from His Hand.
Re: the Scripture references today. I confess that reading the scriptures, hearing some sermons or 1:28 moments sometimes don’t burn within my heart. Shucks, most people reading this posting will not need a fire extinguisher to save their t-shirt.
Why did the Emmaus walkers get so enthralled with the telling of the Gospel that their “hearts burned within them?” Because it was Jesus? Ok, could be—but they didn’t know that then. How about this: The speaker was intoxicated with God’s Word?
Why did Jesus open the disciples mind to understand the Word? Maybe that the Word would stop being words on a page, a story to tell, and become the Living Sword of the Spirit within them?
What about me? What about my desire? What about being responsible to PURSUE God (as the Spirit permits)?
Prayer: Lord, being intoxicated with Your Word is a daily effort. It isn’t just reading (yep, got my Bible Plan completed today, and in record time…”), but it is making the effort to understand what You are saying. You were absorbed in Isaiah in the 3 years of your ministry on earth. Other stuff, yeah, but Isaiah—gripped and amazed.
Help me actively focus, not only packing my heart with your Word, but to fiercely understand the Scriptures.