Feel The Burn?

April 22, 2013

Athletes while training speak of feeling the burn. Those of us who are not athletic and have had a past life of alcohol consumption might think of the warmth that spreads over your body after a shot of whiskey as feeling the burn or the sensation as it passes through your throat. True Disciples of Christ that get their faith exercised and are filled with the Spirit instead of spirits also get to feel the burn and it is a more like a flame than a feeling or warmth. Let us see how two of the disciples felt the burn after the resurrection of Christ.

Luke 24:13-36
13 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.
14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.

Many times the burn comes when you least expect it and not in the place you would imagine. All the action had been happening in Jerusalem and these lads were walking away from it. They actually felt like the action was all over and may have been traveling back to their home in defeat and despair. Emmaus was about seven miles from Jerusalem. We are not told so it may have been their hometown or only where they were going to spend the night before they continued their journey. They would truly experience the happenings in Jerusalem seven miles away from where they thought they had experienced them.
It is great that the name Emmaus means warm springs for the wellspring of their hearts were about to be warmed. They discussed the things that had happened, but we shall see that they only thought that they knew what happened. Sometimes, we feel the burn when we think there is nothing to feel or nothing burning.

15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.
16 But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.

They were wrapped up in their conversation and reasoning and did not even notice Jesus drawing near to them. He did not sneak up on them. They were just too self-absorbed. How often has Jesus drawn near to you and I, but we were too self-absorbed in our ministry or troubles to even notice Him there? He said that He would always be with us, but so often we do not feel His presence because we have our life and problems all worked out or at least we are in the planning stages of working them out. O dummies that we are!!!
Jesus did not let them recognize Him at first. I believe He wanted them to open up their hearts to Him as a stranger first because they would have been too overjoyed to see Him and would have dropped all their questionings. He did not want them to just ignore their doubts and questions. He wanted them to have a chance to learn how to handle them. He listened to them.  So often we will open ourselves to a stranger more than we will do so with the Lord who loves us. It is like we think He does not know our doubts and fears and we do not want risk His displeasure by voicing them to Him. Is that not silly? He who made the universe and us knows everything. We might as well voice our hearts to Him and let Him answer the questions and relieve the doubts. Hiding them only causes us pain.

17 And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?
18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?

Don’t you love this? He asked them what was wrong though He knew exactly what they said and why they were sad. We often wonder why we bother to pray because He already knows what we are going to say before we say it and what we need before we even know what we need. The answer is because He wants His children to interact with Him. He is a listening God.
Think about it, we often think a friend is the greatest person on earth and very wise when in reality the only thing they did was listen. They may not have said a word, but when we get done talking to them we feel great and thank them profusely for all they have done while they scratch their head wondering what was the great wisdom they bestowed. They listened! And if we can get so much from another frail human who is not omniscient or omnipotent just imagine what we would get if we let God who is both of those listen to us and then act in perfection to provide what we need!!!!
Cleopas means renowned father which makes me think he was a mature and godly man to whom people went to for wisdom. His reaction to Jesus’ question in our terms may have been, “Man, where in the world have you been?” or “What planet are you from or what boat did you just get off of?” After all, all this had only taken place a few days ago and the guy had to be a foreigner who just got into the area to not know what had transpired. Crucifixions were common in those days, but a man like Jesus was not common and now with the talk of Jesus rising from the dead there was no place in the area that was not abuzz with talk about these things.

19 And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:

This is so good! Jesus wants to hear their view of the happenings and their view of who He was or rather is. Cleopas starts out calling Jesus a mighty prophet and for sure He was. He says that His deeds and words were obviously of God and they were done in the open and not in some dark corner with only a few witnesses. He did them in front of God and everybody. In fact, at His baptism, He had the vocal approval of God the Father and the symbolic seal of the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove that lit on Him. Man, we think the Good Housekeeping seal of approval is something! When the Father and the Spirit endorses and seals it gets no better than that!!!! So far, Cleopas has a pretty good picture of Christ!

20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.
21 But we trusted that it had been he, which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.

His account of what happened is accurate, but after that we see the doubt and confusion sinking in! Note they trusted in the past tense that Jesus should have redeemed Israel. Hey, we thought this guy was the redeemer, but all bets are off now and that is why we are sad. Jesus is dead and all hope is lost and Israel is not saved. The harvest is past. He’s been gone three days by the way and we are figuring out how to get on with our lives after this great disappointment.
Glory to God that Cleopas and the others have missed the boat. The very thing that has caused their pain and doubt is what has indeed redeemed them, Israel and the world!!!!

22 Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre;
23 And when they found not his body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.
24 And certain of them, which were with us, went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.

Not only that but we are at our wits ends because some of our ladies went early to the tomb and the body was gone. Stinking Romans or the Pharisees must have stolen the body. The poor gals were so distraught that they said they saw angels and even Jesus alive. Anyway, two others went and did find the tomb empty but they did not see Jesus, of course.
They heard the testimony of the empty tomb, but they knew there had to be a logical explanation for this. Yes, they may have seen Jesus raise others from the dead, but hey, no one can raise their self from the dead. Right? Wrong, wrong, wrong, praise Jesus they were wrong!!!!!!

25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:

Now, Jesus is going to sharpen their perception and change their conclusion of what they perceive as facts. He is not calling the fools in the sense of being brainless or morally useless like in Matt 5:22. The word here means one without understanding, which indeed they were from their discourse with Him. They had called Jesus a mighty prophet, but they were dull or slow hearted to believe all the other prophets. If they have been more astute they would have seen all these things coming and would have rejoiced when Christ commended His spirit unto the Father and understood the words, “It is finished.”

26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

Oh, would you have liked to be in on this Bible study? Talk about making things perfectly clear and when He later revealed Himself to them having no doubts about whether it was the proper interpretation or theology!!!! It would make an Episcopalian shout, a Pentecostal be in awesome silence, and a Baptist dance!!!

28 And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.
29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.

We do not know how close they were to Emmaus when Jesus joined them, but He got through the whole study from Genesis to Malachi by the time they arrived. WOW!!! We have been discussing these things for centuries and the Lord only knows how many hours of homilies and seminars we have spent on them not counting the megatons of paper and now megabytes of data we have composed. Maybe if we spent more time with the Master on the road we could come to a final conclusion of the matter and not have so many men with masters load up the publishers and web pages. In comparison to what we have composed the Bible is the Readers Digest condensed version. God managed to tell His story from beginning to end in 66 books and had His Son on earth only three years to complete His mission. We have spent two thousand years like political reporters telling people, “What He really meant to say was….” Personally, I think He said what He meant and the simpler we keep our homilies and theologies the better off we will be when we stand before Him and get His review of our review of His Word. ’Nuff said.
All the time that Jesus was talking these lads still did not know it was Him. They must have been in awe of His knowledge of the Law and Prophets. They thought surely this is a great Rabbi or teacher and we cannot be so crass as to not offer him a room and meal after such fine teaching. Nowadays instead of the preacher getting invented for fried chicken on Sunday the folks sit down to roast preacher. These lads knew good teaching when they heard it and had a bit more respect of it than we do. The teaching ain’t sweet if it steps on our feet.

30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.
31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.

We often recognize people from a distance by the way they walk. We recognize their voices even on a line filled with static. Even if they were horribly disfigured in an accident, there is something we could identify them by if we are close to them.
There was something unique about the way our Lord broke, blessed and distributed bread that gave away who He was. Oh, that we might come to know Him so intimately that we can see His actions and know it is Him even we may not see Him at first or because of doubt or despair see Him from a distance. May we come to know His voice even when our ears are full of this world’s static or our sin. Then He may reveal Himself for an instant to affirm that we rightly discerned Him or His work and then vanish to prepare us for another lesson of faith in His abiding presence and power.

32 And they said one to another; did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

And now they have an explanation for feeling the burn they experienced. They were literally on fire. Was it His presence that did this? No, they had no clue that it was Jesus that they were talking to. Their hearts burned when He expounded or clearly opened the scriptures or His Word to them. He had said, that His sheep hear His voice and they will not follow another. (John 10) They heard His voice loud and clear even when they could not sense it was Him and it filled their heart and soul with a holy burn! Beloved, this is how we need to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord!
Does your heart feel the burn within you as you study His Word or hear a message that clearly expounds the Scripture? No, I do not mean what you felt after you ate a jalapeno pizza and guzzled down a 32oz Dr. Pepper. I mean do you get excited, moved, comforted, challenged, convicted and a host of other possibilities when you study or hear His Word proclaimed? If not, you may have a physical problem that needs corrected like poor vision or chronic fatigue syndrome. Or you may not be one of His sheep and thus cannot hear His voice. You may be a young lamb that just needs to keep studying and learning to hear His voice or an older sheep that needs a divine Q-tip to clean out your selfishness and sin from your ears. If you hear His voice your heart will burn!!

33 And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,
34 Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.

Once they realized whom they had heard from, did they just go to bed and say, “Well, that was nice.” No, they high tailed it back the seven miles to Jerusalem. Man, these folks were in a lot better shape than we are. That seven miles was a two-hour walk for them and it was night making it dangerous as well. They could not rest until they found the other apostles and all the disciples with them. They had personal training from the Lord and a joyous message to tell. How in the world could they have slept after that? Yet many of us just sleep on after such experiences and we wouldn’t tell anyone if we were paid or threatened. It is so sad, it is pitiful, just pitiful!!!
Having heard His Word and seen Him they could gladly shout the Lord is really risen! They were like Thomas, but praise Him that He speaks and nourishes the Thomas’ among us for all of us at some time in our life have had or will have some of Thomas’ doubt. We can see in both instances that the Lord does not forsake us in those moments!!! Glory!!!
Notice that they did not mention Peter’s testimony of seeing Christ before. Is this because of his denial? Did they say like we would, “Yeah right, Peter saw the Lord alive just like he said he would never deny Him.” While they were incredulous of the women, did they have some disdain for anything that Peter said? Maybe, but that is all gone now as they believe the Lord is risen and kind to them who were slow of heart so they could also be kind to he that was quick of mouth.
Maybe a Peter is reading this and doubts that Jesus will appear to him or use him again after his denial or fall. Take heart, my brother!!! The angels at the tomb told the women to go tell Jesus’ disciples and Peter to go meet Him in Galilee. (Mark 16:7) At first glance, it looks like the angel is making Peter a separate case rather than a disciple because he uses “and Peter.”
Ah, but the Greek word kai can also be translated as even when two nouns are separated by it. Let’s see it as “go tell His disciples even Peter” and we see Peter as singled out to denote that he is still one of the disciples that needs to be told. Some of the other disciples may have felt like Peter was out of the group because of his denial. Peter certainly felt that way and may have decided he might as well go back to fishing as his career as a disciple was over.
Well, glory alleluia, let the angels do cartwheels, praise the Lord and pass the ammunition, it jist t’ain’t so!!! Jesus commissioned Peter to a ministry of strengthening the brethren the same time as He predicted that denial. Christ appeared to Peter alone to reaffirm His love for him and then commissioned him again in front of the others to reaffirm his position within the group. (John 21:15-17) Peter’s situation is a classic example of the gifts and callings of God are without repentance. (Romans 11:29) My friend, it matters not what you have done. Whatever God called you to do before your failure, He has nor changed His mind. You still have the gifts and the calling. Accept His love and forgiveness then be about your Lord’s business.

35 And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

Here is a divine calling to every Christian. Tell your brethren and the unbelievers what Jesus has done for you in the way and how you knew it was Him. This is not a hard or burdensome thing. It should come from a burning and rejoicing heart not as some duty that must be done. Have you responded to this call? Let Him set your heart on fire and like Wesley people will come and watch you burn.

36 And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. (KJV)

Do you want to see Jesus in your midst, brethren? Stop fussing and cussing and start meeting to praise Him for what He has done for you and through you. Speak words of His love and encouragement to each other and you will hear Him say, “Peace be unto you.” Do you feel the burn? Go then and tell His disciples and the world that He is risen indeed!! Maranatha!!!!





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