Friday, January 29, 2010

Heart Witnesses: The Emmaus Effect


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They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?"

Luke 24:32

This post-resurrection encounter with Jesus, unique to the gospel of Luke, is the one I find most compelling. There are several reasons why it appeals to me. It is popular in many circles to point out evidential statements for the resurrection of Jesus. It gets argued like a case before the court. The hundreds of eyewitnesses recorded in the pages of the New Testament make a strong case. It is fascinating to have the evidence argued this way.

But the two Emmaus disciples are more than eyewitnesses to Jesus. They are heart witnesses to His resurrection. There is a powerful personal effect that Jesus has on them that is convincing for them. The encounter begins with Jesus literally walking into the conversation of these two as they walk along the road. The text explicitly says that they are KEPT from recognizing him, a sort of supernatural recognitional fogginess is put over them at the time. They are travelers and He joins them in their journey. And the topic of their conversation is the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. They are trying to make sense of what is the talk of all Israel. Jesus obliges them by walking through the entire Old Testament to clarify the mission of the Messiah. It must have been a magnificent teaching time. It certainly left an undeniable mark on their thinking.

The day drags on and the two invite their traveling companion to overnight with them. He does so, and at their simple dinner, He breaks the bread, blesses it, and gives it to them and instantly the fog lifts and they recognize Jesus Who then vanished from their sight. It is then that they turn to one another, suddenly putting it all together. Jesus gave them that heart-stirring walk along the road!

Although I am not a highly emotional person, I still say this: God’s Word stirs me strongly… I’d say it is the most profound influence on me. I, too, now that feeling of my heart burning intensely as the Scriptures are opened to me. And that work of the Spirit accompanies the work of my risen Savior.

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