Who will open up the Word of God to us?

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Devotional Word for Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Isn’t the Bible wonderful! It is the Word of God. It contains all that is necessary for life and godliness. Have you ever prayed that God would open the Bible more fully for you? That somehow His light would shine on the pages of Scripture and illumine them for you? Many people pray that way and think in those terms. Good people. Godly people. But it is not the proper way to understand our relationship to the Bible. I want us to think about that as we look at two incidents from the first Easter Sunday. Both are recorded in Luke 24.

The first features two disappointed and disillusioned disciples making their way from Jerusalem to their homes in Emmaus some seven miles away. As they walk, they talk about all that has happened in the last week or so. While they’re walking and talking Jesus comes and walks with them. Here’s how the Bible explains what happened: While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them. But their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him. [Luke 24:15-16]

Even though Jesus is walking and talking with them, they don’t recognize Him. Eventually they get to Emmaus and they want this stranger to come in and stay with them because He had explained to them the things about the Messiah written in the Scriptures from Moses and all the prophets. As they begin to share a meal, the Stranger took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. [Luke 24:30]  

An amazing thing happens: Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. [Luke 24:31] How did they understand what had happened? They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was opening the Scriptures to us” [Luke 24:32] These godly men conceived of what had happened as the Scriptures being opened to them. We are prone to think in this same manner. But that is not what really happened. What was it that was opened? What does the Bible say was opened? It was their eyes that were opened! The problematic part of this picture was not the Bible and not the Lord Jesus, it was their eyes. We would say the eyes of their heart. 

They run back to Jerusalem, go to the place where the Eleven and those with them were staying, and tell them what happened. While they’re telling their story, Jesus, who vanished from their midst in Emmaus, suddenly appears in the midst of all those gathered in that room. Jesus tells them not to worry, assures them it really is Him, shows them His hands and His feet, eats a piece of fish. Yes, it really is Jesus. 

Then Jesus does something extraordinarily important. We need to hear it and understand it. Here’s how Luke describes it: Jesus said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. [Luke 24:44-45] Did you notice what it was that got opened? Not the Scriptures, but the minds of the disciples. The problem is not with the Scriptures, but the problem is with us! We need the work of the Lord Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit to work in us so that we can understand the Scriptures. That means we have to be engaged with the Scriptures – this is not a call for navel-gazing mysticism – but we need the Lord to bless our engagement with the Bible. 

You want a good prayer to pray in that regard? Well, I’m going to give you one. It may be one you know, but it is a good one, straight from the Bible. Here it is, Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law. The Bible is wonderful. It is the Word of God. It contains all that is necessary for life and godliness. May we read it daily. As we do, may we read it with opened eyes.

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, on the day of Your resurrection You came to Your followers and opened their minds so they could properly understand Your Word. You taught them according to the written word of Scripture. Teach us, as well, from the Scriptures by the revealing power of the Holy Spirit. We want to know you better; we want to follow You more faithfully. Come and open our minds to behold wonderful things from Your Word. We ask this so that Your name may be praised, even through us, mere jars of clay. Amen.