The experience of those two disciples, who walked home to Emmaus after the crucifixion of Jesus, has always been one of my favourite Scripture stories. Cleopas and his friend were desperately trying to understand what had happened following the terrible trauma of the crucifixion and after hearing reports that the body of Jesus was now missing. They were wrestling with all they had gone through and the apparent impossibility of an empty tomb.
It was as they walked and talked that they were joined by a stranger who asked what they were talking about. And so it was that this stranger, in reality the risen Lord himself, gave them one of the most wonderful Bible Studies that there can ever have been, as he opened up to them the Old Testament Scriptures, telling them everything that was there concerning himself. No wonder they wanted to persuade this stranger to stay with them for the night.
It was only as He broke bread together with them that “their eyes were opened and they recognised him” (Luke 24:31). Suddenly they understood why it was that, as He shared the Scriptures with them, they sensed something happening inside which they could only describe as their hearts burning within them. This experience is a deep inner knowing of the presence of God and the revelation of the truth about God. It’s something that believers today can know through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. John Wesley used similar words to describe what happened to him at a meeting in Aldersgate Street, London, when he said that “at a quarter to nine in the evening my heart was strangely warmed”! That experience marked the beginning of his remarkable life as a travelling evangelist which turned Britain upside down. John Wesley was never the same again. He was empowered for life by that inner witness of the Spirit of God. Almost immediately he set out on his extraordinary evangelistic journeys across the length and breadth of the UK.
Cleopas and his friend reacted in just the same way – both to the experience they had and the certain knowledge they now had about the resurrection. They were motivated for action and even though it was now late they were wide awake and set out immediately back to Jerusalem to find the eleven and tell them “It is true. The Lord has risen!” (Luke 24:34)
When we are gripped in our hearts by the truth about God, His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit, we can never be the same again. It’s as if the inner presence of God sets our hearts ablaze. I pray that as you read the Word of God and you love and serve the God of the Word that your hearts will burn within you and the rest of your life will never be the same again.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for this amazing story of how, when you expounded the Scriptures, hearts were set on fire with the knowledge of the truth about You. I pray now that as I read the Scriptures your Holy Spirit will set my heart ablaze and set me on the rest of my life’s journey with the sure knowledge of Your love and presence with me day by day. In Jesus` Name. Amen.
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