The Words of God and the Word of God (Part I)

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January 27, 2020

Luke 24:32 (NIV)

32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

CONSIDER THIS

Today we make the turn and enter the stretch run on this First Word—Last Word—God’s Word series. We will hone our focus on the Word of God by fixing our gaze on the second person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ.

Let’s begin with an affirmation: We read Scripture with, in, through, for, and because of Jesus. Because most all of us are Gentiles, apart from Jesus, we would likely have no awareness of Scripture, much less familiarity. We read Scripture as Christians—the followers of Jesus, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, through our participation in the Church, and in fellowship with the Communion of Saints.

Jesus is the subject, object, and the verbiage of the movement of Scripture. Consider our first word-last word- text for today: 

32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

Our understanding of and love for the words of Scripture depends on our life with the Word, who is Jesus. Consider the context of today’s text. It is evening on the Day of Resurrection. Two dejected disciples of Jesus are walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus, discussing the disaster of the death of Jesus, and this happens: “As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them;” (Luke 24:15). Whether intended or not, we see a beautiful allusion to Deuteronomy 6:7, “Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

As they explained to Jesus (whom they didn’t recognize) all that had happened to Jesus, he said this, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” (Luke 24:25-27)

We tend to think of the Scriptures (the Old Testament in this case) and Jesus as two different things. In fact, we tend to have a fairly derivative understanding of Jesus altogether. Our knowledge of Jesus is sourced by doctrine, Sunday School, our experiences—for better or worse, folk religion, culture, and yes, Scripture. Only the Holy Spirit can sort all this out for us. This encounter on the Road to Emmaus gives us a glimpse of what it looks like when this happens.

These disciples who walked along the road knew the Scriptures and they had some kind of relationship with Jesus, but these were two somewhat separate things in their minds. They had not properly understood the Scriptures, and hence they had not properly understood Jesus. Then this: “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”

As they came to Emmaus, they invited him to dine with them. Then this happens: When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. (Luke 24:30-31)

Finally, after Jesus disappeared, the disciples offered this reflection: They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32)

The Scriptures and Jesus can be two different things, yet unless they become for us one Holy Spirit-filled, seamless reality we will miss them both. We cannot understand Jesus apart from the Scriptures and we will not understand the Scriptures apart from Jesus. We will pick up there tomorrow. 

They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32)

First Word. Last Word. God’s Word.

THE PRAYER

Father, thank you for your Word, which endures forever. Thank you for your words as we have them in the Scriptures. And thank you for your Word as you have given us in your Son. And thank you for your Spirit who reveals the Word who is your Son by the words which are your Scriptures; and who interprets the words of Scripture through the Word, our Teacher, who is your Son. Lead us into this place where our hearts burn within us, even at the thought of your Word. Lead us to this place where we walk along the road with Jesus and one another and talk about such things. More of Jesus. More of your Word. More of your Spirit. I pray in the name of your Son, Jesus. Amen.  

THE QUESTION

Does today’s text and reflection feel more like a circular riddle to you or does it help make the relationship between the Word and the words of Scripture more clear and understandable?     

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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