They said to each other, Did not our heart burn within us as he talked with us on the road and explained Scriptures to us? LUKE 24:32
Several months ago, during the sermon our pastor said we should ask open-ended questions when we talk to God. Rather than telling God how to fix our problems and concerns, ask him questions like, God, what do you want me to do in this situation, or what do you want me to learn? I love the idea, but it isn’t an easy change to make. However, I have been diligently striving to adjust the way I am praying. A few weeks ago, I had a concern that needed God’s attention; although I wanted to tell him exactly how to handle it, I held back. I asked, what do you want to do in this situation? And during the night, he gave me the answer. As I often do, I was laying in bed semi-awake and out of the blue, a well known Bible story came flooding into my mind. With that Bible story came the answer. I was amazed at the clarity of the moment. The next morning was Sunday, and off we went to church. My heart was bursting concerning God’s amazing goodness in giving me such clarity reagarding my question. The singing ended, and the pastor got up and said, “let’s open to…” I sat there in amazement, as the Scripture he directed us to was the same one God had given me in the night. As he read the passage, my heart burned within me. I was feeling so blessed, so certain that God had answered my open-ended prayer. Tears of gratefulness spilled over. God not only gave me the message once, but he reconfirmed it in the lesson that day.
Easter is coming! It will be an Easter like no other that I have ever experienced, and I imagine the same is true for you. I saw a funny meme on Facebook that said, “Still haven’t decided where to go for Easter…the the living room or the bedroom.” Only in the Pandemic of 2020 could we imagine such a scenario. We may not get to physically attend church but Easter is most certainly not canceled. And God is still very much in the business of answering our prayers and communicating with his children. He is still in the business of allowing our hearts to burn, to be stirred, as we come in contact with his transforming Word.
The very first Easter had taken place. Jesus had been resurrected and was no longer in the tomb. Peter, was so taken by the women’s report of what they had found at the tomb, he jumped up and ran to see for himself. That is the way the resurrection is, each of us must examine it for ourselves. We each must come to terms with our belief or unbelief in this historical event.
Scripture tells us that on that very day, two of the Lord’s followers, Cleopas, and an unnamed follower were walking from Jerusalem to the town of Emmaus. As they walked, they talked. We don’t know exactly what they were saying, but we do know that all of a sudden, “out of the blue” another man was walking with them. The man asked the two followers what they were discussing. Of course, we know that the asking was more for their sake then for his, and we know the two men didn’t realize who they were talking with yet. Cleopas, with sadness on his face, replied to this stranger, “you must be the only person who doesn’t know about all the things that have happened. What things?” asked the stranger. And then Cleopas told him everything. He even included the account that Peter and other men had confirmed, Jesus’ body was gone from the tomb!
The stranger took the men through the Scriptures about the Messiah. As the daylight gave way to evening, the men begged the stranger to stay and tell them more. And as this man broke the bread and passed it out, suddenly the two men’s eyes were opened, and they recognized the stranger was Jesus. Maybe, the way he broke and passed out the bread brought back a memory of their time with him. And immediately he disappeared. And then they said these powerful words, “didn’t our hearts burn within us as he talked with us and explained the Scriptures to us?
The word, burning is a Greek verb that means, to be moved greatly. God’s Word does just that. It can move us, transform our hearts, and change us to think more like Jesus. The Word can give us answers to our questions and at any moment of any day, his Word can bring us power, strength, and comfort. Nuggets of truth can come to mind, “out of the blue” and move our hearts. Scripture is an incredibly powerful tool for the believer and can affect us in ways nothing else can. The Psalmist knew this truth, and in a moment when he needed stirring, he wrote these words found in Psalm 119:25, “I lie in the dust, revive me by your word.”
As Easter approaches ask God to open your heart to his word. Get into his word and see what he wants to say to you. Don’t let the worries and distractions of this world keep you from the Word and experiencing God at work in your heart. Open the word and boldly ask him to make your heart burn for him.
We need to learn this secret of the burning heart. Suddenly Jesus appears to us, fires are set ablaze, and we are given wonderful visions; but then we must learn to maintain the secret of the burning heart— a heart that can go through anything. It is the simple, dreary day, with its commonplace duties and people, that smothers the burning heart— unless we have learned the secret of abiding in Jesus… If the Spirit of God has stirred you, make as many of your decisions as possible irrevocable, and let the consequences be what they will. We cannot stay forever on the “mount of transfiguration,” basking in the light of our mountaintop experience (see Mark 9:1-9). But we must obey the light we received there; we must put it into action. When God gives us a vision, we must transact business with Him at that point, no matter what the cost. Oswald Chambers