A Burning Heart
Lord Jesus, You are the author of all that I have ever seen or experienced. Yet You seem so remote and just plain absent so much of my days. Please help me to feel Your presence and make this time with You a meeting to be cherished. Amen
Read: Luke 24:32, NIV
“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?’ ”
This brief passage took place on one of the most wonderful walks in the country ever enjoyed by anyone - ever. Two followers of Christ were on a walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus. The events in the course of that walk have made the town of Emmaus famous for the road that leads to it. Jesus met up with them and talked to them as they continued to Emmaus. They were initially prevented from recognizing Him.
Can you imagine the impact of that meeting? The most important truth in human history was revealed to these forlorn followers by the Lord of the Universe. Jesus was alive. He talked to them, He broke bread for them, then He vanished. This and similar events in the days after the crucifixion are literally the start of Christianity.
Prior to this, Jesus was like many other religious celebrities that have appeared on the scene in Israel during the reign of the Romans. Jesus had a following of folks with high hopes that He was a new King David, and that Israel was going to become an independent country again. Then the new king was killed, publicly. His physical body was totally destroyed. He was really, really dead. So was His movement. This was how all the other celebrities had ended up as well.
With little else going on, and danger everywhere, these survivors were walking along the road to this nearby town when Jesus came up alongside them and gave them the Scripture study of the centuries. In short order while they still did not see that it was Jesus talking to them - they understood, with the help of the Holy Spirit, that these recent, tragic events all made sense. They were turning into an inn for the night and invited this stranger to join them. As Jesus broke the bread and started to share it with them, they recognized Him and He vanished. They were overjoyed. Their leader was back. The promised Messiah had come. At the last supper Jesus had told his disciples that in a little while they would grieve but that their grief would turn to joy. At this breaking of the bread, the prophecy was fulfilled.
Later they remembered how their hearts had burned within them as Jesus instructed them on the road. They had a profound inner reaction that they could only identify as a burning.
The fact (and I do mean well-established, historical fact) that Jesus did not stay dead was the spark that started the Christian fire that still burns its way across the globe today. These early Christians lived very hard lives and suffered greatly for their belief in Jesus as the Christ. They believed in Jesus because they experienced Him. A few hundred actually saw Him, but thousands more experienced Him as a burning in their heart. In “The Pursuit of God” A. W. Tozer wrote that a conscious awareness of God’s presence through the power of the Holy Spirit has always been the foundation and power of the Christian witness. Jesus told His followers that it was good for them that He was leaving because He would send a Comforter to lead then into all truth. The Holy Spirit is still available today for all who earnestly seek Him. Tozer also wrote that anyone who prayed a prayer like the one below and who applied some effort need not be satisfied with little, but could count on an abundant life, experiencing the burning heart that results from God’s presence.
God, it is my purpose to pursue You with all my will. Help me to succeed. Let the presence of the Holy Spirit grow into a fire that burns within me like a refining fire. Help me to be the person that You already know I can become. I cannot do this, but You can, O God. Help me to experience You and commune with You. Help me to glorify You and enjoy You forever, starting this very day.