Summary: The story of Jesus' encounter with two followers the first Easter on a road; the excitement they received from his teaching of the Word and the message they shared with the Apostles.
BIBLE MESSAGES ON EASTER
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Annual Sermons: Vol. 12 Sermon 4
Bob Marcaurelle: Easter Lk. 24:13-35
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THE BURNING HEART
“They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’” (Lk. 24:32)
Who are these two men, one named Cleopas, whom we do not know, and the other unnamed? Who are these who were depressed over Jesus’ death, who didn’t believe the reports that He had risen, who were irritated when Jesus (whom they didn’t recognize in His risen form), asked them what was wrong and who were scolded by Jesus for their unbelief and ignorance of Scripture?
Who were these who heard Him teach the Old Testament prophecies about a divine, crucified, risen Savior; and took Him into their home to learn more; who recognized Him when He sat at their dinner table and who, when He immediately vanished, ran the eight miles back to Jerusalem and shouted to the disciples that Jesus had been in their home?
Who were they? They were two members of Jesus’ church. They were not apostles and probably not preachers or church leaders. They were two the world calls “nobodies,” two laymen who went from depression and defeat to joy and victory because they had experienced Easter. They knew from this day on they did not follow a memory. They had more than rules for life that Jesus had left behind.
They knew their Savior was alive; that God had accepted Jesus’ sacrifice by raising Him; that their sins were paid for, the payment accepted and they were forgiven. They could sing, not just from the head, but from hearts set on fire, “We serve a risen Savior/He’s in the world today/We know that He is living/Whatever men may say!”
And did you notice what set their hearts on fire, what they remembered and treasured the most. It was not their experience of actually seeing the risen Christ. If we ever were allowed to see the face of Jesus or hear his voice, we would never stop talking about it. We might even judge the spiritual maturity of others by whether or not they have seen Jesus or heard Him like we have.
But, no, they didn’t lift up their experience, something that happened by the Sovereign choice of God, they lifted up what is available to every believer, finding God’s presence in the study of the Word of God. They said, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he. . .opened the Scriptures to us?” (Lk. 24:32).
Oh, friends, do you know what the best part of being a preacher is? It is to sit down on Monday morning without a clue as to what you are going to preach. Put yourself in my place - this week you have to make three speeches on three different subjects. Is that hard enough? And suppose the people you speak to are ones you have been making speeches to every week for 25 years.
How on earth does a Pastor meet such a challenge? He picks up his Bible. He bows his head and prays with the Psalmist, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law” (Ps. 119:18). He begins to think, to pray, to search the Scripture, to think of people in his church and suddenly, because of the touch of the Holy Spirit, the truth comes alive, the needs of people come alive, the Bible comes alive and during that week a sermon is born. It is born a second time when it is preached. I know what the burning heart is. Every preacher worth his salt knows what it is. I hope you who hear me know it too.
And it is available to you. Sunday School teachers, don’t wait until the last of the week to prepare your lesson. Start early and ask God to give you insight. Read your Scripture and your commentaries.
Ask God questions. Think of other lessons and other Scriptures. In life, at work, at home, on TV, in your Pastor’s sermons, let God apply all kinds of truths to your upcoming lesson. You will find out what it is to go beyond a “lecture” on a religious theme. You will find the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit. You will find the burning heart in Bible study that comes from the risen Christ.
Illustration: And this high and holy encounter is open to all God’s children. A nearby Pastor, preaching his first Mother’s Day service in his new church, used his mother’s Bible. He told how she drew near to death in a hospital and had a tube down her throat. One day she revived a little, unable to speak, she motioned for a pad and a pencil. She wrote with words barely legible how she was not in a great deal of pain and how she loved each member of her family. Then she wrote her last line, “I sure do miss my Bible study.”