Luke 23-24, Psalm 119:129-152
When we share the gospel message with others, the backgrounds and therefore the responses vary widely among people. One comment I often hear from those who were raised in a "religious" household and have gone to a "religious" school or college is I have already read (past tense) the Bible. This is generally factually dishonest when asked further, in that they read portions of the Bible. But even if they did read it, was it done in an obligatory or intellectual fashion like a textbook or was it read out of curiosity like a novel. Even within groups of mature Christians, has the initial reading of Scripture with excitement, and fear and trembling as to what God might reveal to them today, been replaced with a stale approach of obligatory reading of devotionals almost like checking the box that they have done what they were supposed to do for the day. In 1 Corinthians 13:12, Paul says, "For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known." Even for the most diligent reader we have so much more to learn.
In Luke 24 we see a number of encounters between the risen Jesus and His followers. In Luke 24:21, we see two disciples who had lost all hope and were walking despondently to Emmaus, "But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened." Oddly enough they were so blinded in their grief and unbelief at this point that they chose to leave Jerusalem despite the proof that He had risen or at least was no longer present in the grave by many women and some of the apostles, described in Luke 24:22-24. Then Jesus begins to open their eyes in Luke 24:25-27, "Then He said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?" And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." We notice his disciples in Jerusalem fared no better despite appearing in a closed room without opening the door, in Luke 24:41 we read, "But while they still did not believe...". We then read in Luke 24:44-45 that Jesus also opened their eyes, "Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me." And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures."
How I wish that someone wrote down Jesus' words to His followers that were opened to them from the Hebrew Scriptures concerning Himself, there is probably so much more than we think we know. If we approach Scripture and struggle to understand or believe, we should be like the father of the demon possessed child in Mark 9:24, when he said to Jesus, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!" We must all ask ourselves why when we fellowship, almost everything else is talked about (our health, our marriage, our children, sports, etc) but not the Word of God. In Luke 6:45, Jesus says, "...For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." May we respond to all of Scripture like those two on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24:32, "Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?" If we mainly read devotionals or commentary, then we are only reading how God moved those writers. God can open all of our eyes if we humbly come before His Word and allow His Word to speak to us with open minds.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: