Two men walk the road with sad hearts (Luke 24).
At first their hearts were full of fear. The Gospels tell us that as Jesus’ ministry progressed he moved closer toward Jerusalem. Jesus told his disciples (which included the twelve and many others who were following him) that Jerusalem would be the place of his death, and also his resurrection. When Jesus, “set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51), those who followed were afraid (Mark 10:32).
Their fears proved to be justified. Jesus was crucified.
A few days later some women from among the followers went to the grave. It was empty. These two men were among those who were told of the empty tomb, but the body of Jesus they did not see. Their fear turned to confusion as they wondered how this could be.
Soon they were just sad. These men had hoped. They thought that maybe Jesus was the one who would finally deliver Israel from her oppressors. In their minds, the cross made it clear that he was not.
Along the road they walk, talking about these things, when Jesus joins them.
At this point in the account we have to acknowledge that the ways of God are not like ours. Rather than just blurt out that he is alive, Jesus travels on with them incognito, guiding them through the Scriptures. At first their eyes are kept from recognizing Jesus. But slowly, as Jesus moves from Moses to the Prophets, their hearts start to burn within them. They sense something. The Word is at work, and the Spirit is opening the eyes of their hearts. When Jesus blesses and breaks bread before them, they recognize him. Then he vanishes from their sight.
With burning hearts and a new vision of Jesus, these men are now among those who will form the early Christian community that will testify of the crucified and resurrected Lord. Fear, confusion, unbelief, and sadness have given way to a burning passion to know the One who joined them on the road that Resurrection Day.
A.W. Tozer wrote that to find God and still to pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love and the happy experience of the children of the burning heart (The Pursuit of God). The heart opened by God to see the glory of Christ is both satisfied and stirred up for more. The burning heart never burns up, or out. The Lord Jesus appears to us as alive, in all his saving grace, so that we will press on to know him more.
I hope you will join the burning hearts for Good Friday and Easter services this weekend. Pray for more hearts to burn as we hear from Scripture the things concerning Christ, break the bread and drink from the cup of communion, and proclaim together in songs the marvelous grace of God.
He is risen!