Sunday, July 29, 2018

burning bush, burning hearts

artwork by Krista Hamrick


As I pondered Krista Hamrick’s beautiful artwork, which she titled, The Bible is our Burning Bush, I immediately thought of the two disciples who met the risen Christ on the road to Emmaus and 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?” This led me to a word study of the word heart, and a study of Luke 24:13-35
The word heart, kardia, does not refer to the physical organ, but is always used figuratively in Scripture to refer to the seat and center of human life. The heart is the center of the personality, and it controls the intellect, emotions, and will. Kardia gives us medical terms such as cardiac, cardiovascular, etc. Just as the integrity of our physical heart is vital to our physical life, in a similar and even more important way the integrity of our spiritual heart is vital to our spiritual life, for our spiritual life impacts not just our enjoyment of time, but of eternity. While kardia does represent the inner person, the seat of motives and attitudes, the center of personality, in Scripture it represents much more than emotion, feelings. It also includes the thinking process and particularly the will. The heart is the control center of mind and will, as well as emotion. The Scottish writer John Eadie writes, “The “heart” belongs to the “inner man,” is the organ of perception as well as of emotion; the center of spiritual as it is physically of animal life.” Biblical scholar W.E. Vine writes that kardia “came to denote man’s entire mental and moral activities, and to stand figuratively for the hidden springs of the personal life, and so here signifies the seat of thought and feeling.”

In Beginning with Moses: Christ in All the Scriptures, Pastor Steven J. Lawson writes: “The Bible is the inspired, inerrant, and authoritative Word of God. Although it consists of a collection of sixty-six writings by multiple authors spanning hundreds of years, it is one book with one message of salvation. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible reveals how God saves sinners through His one and only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The entire Bible is about the Lord Jesus Christ. The Old Testament says He’s coming. The Gospels say He’s here. The book of Acts proclaim Him. The epistles explain Him. And Revelation says He’s coming again. That’s the Bible in a nutshell. The very first verse of the Bible, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” — we know that that is the Lord Jesus Christ who was God’s agent in creation. John 1, verse 3 says, “Everything that has come into being has been created by Christ,” and Colossians 1:16 says that “all things are from Him and by Him and for Him.” And then the last verse in the Bible, Revelation 22 and verse 21: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” That’s the bookends around the entire Bible. And so the whole Bible is a “Him” book. It’s all about Him, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Luke 24:13-35 This is the passage that you’re familiar with — the road to Emmaus — and beginning in verse 13, we read “and behold two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem.” The setting is the very day of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. These two disciples on the road to Emmaus do not know. They’ve heard reports that Christ’s body is missing and that He’s been raised, and they are now leaving town. And as they are leaving town, they go back home to Emmaus. No doubt they are dejected. In fact, we’ll find out later they are very downcast and sad because this One, in whom they have put their hope, things didn’t turn out the way that they thought they were going to turn out. They thought He was going to redeem Israel and establish the Messianic rule, and it didn’t happen. Emmaus is seven miles — that’s important — seven miles northwest of Jerusalem.

Verse 14 — “And they were talking with each other about all these things which had taken place.” And that refers to the last week of our Lord’s life, and the trials, and the crucifixion, and His burial. And these two men are just engaged in this conversation. They’re trying to sort it out in their own mind. “What did we miss? What, what went wrong? What did we not grasp?”

Verse 15 — “While they were talking and discussing, Jesus Himself approached and began traveling with them.” The next verse tells us they don’t have a clue that this is Jesus!

Verse 16 — “Their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him. And He said to them, ‘What are these words that you are exchanging with one another as you are walking?’” He’s trying to elicit a response from them.

Verse 17 — “And they stood still.” They just came to a standstill. They are in shock, and it says they were looking “sad.”

Verse 18 — One of them named Cleopas — answered and said to Him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem and unaware of the things which have happened here in these days?” In other words, “Where on earth have you been!? Everyone knows what just happened!”

Verse 19 — “And He said to them, ‘What things?’” “And they said to Him, ‘The things about Jesus the Nazarene who was a prophet mighty in deed and word in the sight of God and all the people, and how our chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to the sentence of death and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel.’”

Verse 25 — Jesus says, “‘Oh foolish men, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?’ Then, beginning with Moses” — who wrote the first five books in the Bible — “and with all the prophets” — that would refer to the rest of the Old Testament canon of Scripture — “He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.”

Would you not have loved to have been a part of that small group Bible study? Just think about this: this is Jesus teaching on Jesus. That’s as good as it gets. He is the greatest expositor who ever walked the earth teaching on the greatest subject that there is in the universe! This is the living Word expounding the written Word. This is Jesus preaching on Jesus!

Where did He take them? It’s very clear that He sees Himself to be the central theme of all the Scripture. Here we see the primacy and the centrality of the Lord Jesus Christ! See the perfect unity of Scripture. Jesus here lays a very firm foundation. In verse 25, he talks about “Why are you so slow to believe,” note, “all that the prophets have spoken?” You see, Jesus understood that all of the prophets have spoken with one voice; that they have never contradicted themselves; that, as the prophets have spoken, and as it is recorded in the Scripture, that there is perfect unity and perfect harmony. No one prophet contradicts another prophet. They speak one message, one truth.

Verse 27  “Then, beginning with Moses,” who wrote Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, “and with all of the prophets” — that would be from, what is in our Bible, from Joshua to Malachi, the entirety of all 39 books of of the Old Testament — “He explained to them the things concerning Himself,” note, “in all the Scriptures.” What the prophets spoke in verse 25 is what is recorded in the Scriptures in verse 27. The word “Scriptures” simply means “the writings.” It comes from the Greek word graphe which we use “graphics” in the English language. Jesus is referring here to the written Word of God. Jesus is asserting the perfect unity of the Scripture, from Moses to Malachi.

Here we see the perfect unity in the Old Testament, as affirmed by our Lord, that there is only one origin of the world. There is only one entrance of sin and death into the human race. There is only one diagnosis of man’s problem. There is only one way of salvation, and there is one standard of morality. There is one design for the family. There is one flow of human history. There is one end of the age. There is one final judgment. There is one final, eternal state. It is all taught with comprehensive, yet perfect precision in the books of the Old Testament. They looked forward to the coming of Christ just as we look back to the coming of Christ. But anytime anywhere anyone has ever been converted and brought into the kingdom of God, it is by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone. So that is the perfect unity of the Scriptures. Jesus now states that He Himself is the master theme of the entire Scripture. So He says, in verse 25, “Oh foolish men, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!” Well, what were they to believe? The next verse opens it up, and Jesus said, “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” There are three key words in verse 26: “necessary,” “suffer,” and “glory.” And Jesus is explaining to them that it was absolutely necessary that Jesus would suffer first before He would enter into His glory.

Verse 27 — “Then, beginning with Moses and with all the prophets” — and with that statement, Jesus is putting His arms around the entirety of the Old Testament — “He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” He understood that the overarching master theme of the entire Old Testament is the Person and work of Christ. As we come to the Old Testament, we are not surprised that Jesus would make such an expansive statement as this: that, beginning with Moses and with all of the prophets, they testify of Him, and that He explained Himself in all of the Scripture.

The road to Emmaus, verse 13 tells us, was seven miles. The average person walks one mile in 17 minutes. The total walk would’ve been 119 minutes, which is less than two hours.

Verse 26 — “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into glory?” It was necessary for Him to suffer and necessary for Him to enter into glory because the Old Testament had prophesied of these things. “And the grass withers and the flower fades away, but the Word of our God abides forever,” and everything that was recorded in the Old Testament of the prophecies of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was necessary that they would be fulfilled with great precision. Now Jesus, according to verse 26, addressed those portions of the Old Testament that foretold and foreshadowed that it was necessary for Him to suffer. That was the part that they had missed. That was the part even the disciples missed. They saw only the glory. They did not see the groanings and the crucifixion. And so Jesus now must correct their misunderstanding that, before He would enter into His glory, the Old Testament stated again, and again, and again, that He must suffer. And His suffering is inclusive in His sin-bearing, substitutionary death upon Calvary’s cross.

Where in the Old Testament do we find the sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ? It begins in Genesis 3 and verse 15 — the protoeuongelion, the first mention of the gospel. God Himself is the preacher in the garden, and the congregation is the Devil, the serpent. God proclaims that the heel of the seed of the woman must be bruised, but He will crush the head of the serpent. He will be bruised, and He will suffer, but He will recover from that suffering, even in that is a foreshadowing of the Resurrection. Then there was the animal in the garden that must be slain and be skinned in order to clothe Adam and Eve, and that too, a foreshadowing of the suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ. In Genesis 4, the blood of Abel’s sacrifice must be shed in order for it to be a better and more acceptable sacrifice. The ram caught in the thicket must be offered up by Abraham in Genesis 22. It was a foreshadowing of the suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ, a substitutionary suffering. The Passover lamb must be slain, and the blood must be applied to the lintels of the door. But there must be a death. There must be a death of the one who is innocent on behalf of the one who is guilty.

The entire Levitical sacrificial system was a foreshadowing of the sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ. In Leviticus 1 through 5, we read that the head of the house must slay the young bull and offer up the blood. He must skin the burnt offering. There is suffering in the Old Testament in foreshadowing the coming of Christ. The goat must be slain on the day of atonement. The bronze serpent must be lifted up in the wilderness. The cursed man must hang on a tree, in Deuteronomy 21. And the greater Son of David must cry out, in Psalm 22:1, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And this psalm goes on to talk about the suffering of this one. He would be surrounded by many enemies who are like roaring lions. They must pierce his hands and his feet. They must count his bones. They must divide his garments. It was foretold in the Old Testament of His sufferings that He must be betrayed by a friend who eats bread with Him. He must be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver. He must not have a bone broken. He must be pierced and looked upon as a public spectacle.

The Servant of the Lord passages in Isaiah 42, 49, 50, and 52 and 53 speak of how He must suffer. He must be the despised one. He must be abhorred by the nation — Isaiah 49:7. He must give His back to those who strike Him and His cheeks must be plucked out, or His beard must be plucked out. It says in Isaiah 52:14, He must have his appearance marred more than any man. Isaiah 53:3: He must be despised. He must be forsaken of men. Same verse: He must be a man of sorrows. He must be acquainted with grief. He must bear the sins, bear our griefs and carry our sorrows. He must be pierced for our transgressions. He must be crushed for our iniquities. He must suffer our chastening and our scourging. He must be oppressed. He must be afflicted. He must be cut off from the land of the living. There is this clear message that this Messiah who will come, He must suffer rejection. He must suffer death. He must be One who will be cast down before He will enter into His glory. That is what His own disciples missed. That is what these two disciples missed. This is what we more clearly understand in the light of New Testament Scripture. The message of the cross is an offensive message. The message of the cross is one of the suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ as He bled and died in the place of sinners. He laid down His life a ransom for many. It is a message of great sorrow, and suffering, and sin-bearing that runs throughout the Old Testament.

Verse 26 — It was necessary also for Him to enter into His glory. His suffering was not the end of the story. The suffering was simply the means by which He would enter into glory, because following His rejection would be His reign, and following His death would be His diadem.

In Isaiah 53 and verse 10 so clearly speaks of this prophetic necessity that He would enter into His glory after His suffering. We read, “He will see His offspring.” Now that’s strange. A man will be put to death, but He will see his offspring? “He,” referring to God the Father, “will prolong His days,” referring to the Son of God. “The good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul He will see it and be satisfied.” Verse 12 of Isaiah 53: “I will allot Him a portion with the great and He will divide the booty with the strong.”

Daniel 7, verse 14, speaks of Him entering into this glory as He approaches the Ancient of Days. And it says, “To Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples and nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion and will not pass away.” This, too, is the entire message of the Old Testament.

It’s basically two-part. It is His suffering and it is His glory. In the short time that Jesus had on the road to Emmaus, He put His arms around the entire Old Testament. It says, “It is filled with the gospel message. It is filled with the message of Me.” While Christ is not the subject of every Old Testament passage, He is the speaker in every Old Testament passage. Every Old Testament passage plays its part, like putting bricks in a wall, to support the whole message that the Lord Jesus Christ — the Messiah, the Son of David, the Seed of the woman, the Seed of Abraham — He is coming, and He will bring salvation to His people. What Jesus is doing here, on the road to Emmaus, is what we must understand that the thread that runs through the Old Testament is the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ into this world. He is there in prophecy. He is there in type. He is there in foreshadowing. This is the central message of the Old Testament.

Verse 32 — They continue on into Emmaus, and Jesus gives the appearance that He is going to continue His journey. They beg him and persuade Him to stay. So Jesus stays with them and actually serves them food. And then suddenly vanishes. “And their eyes were now,” at last, “opened, and they, they recognized Him,” and as soon as they recognized Him, He vanishes into thin air.  “They said to one another, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?’”
 
Rembrandt's Supper at Emmaus
You want your heart to be on fire for the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you want to have a zeal for God? And do you want to throw off lukewarm-ness? Do you want to be lit up for God? And do you want to have a spiritual pulse and a spiritual heartbeat? Do you want to be able to say, “My heart is burning for God and burning for the Lord Jesus Christ?” Then read the Old Testament, and let Jesus show you Himself in the Old Testament. Read the New Testament and see the greater light of the New Testament shining upon the Old Testament.

What is important is that you see Jesus. The main thing in the Bible is the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ on a mission of salvation, on a mission of redemption, that He would save His people from their sins. If you are coming to the awareness that “I have never believed upon Jesus Christ. I have never committed my life to Christ,” you are invited to believe upon Christ tonight. He entered this world born of a virgin. He lived a sinless and perfect life. He lived the life that you and I could never live, and His perfect righteousness is what is credited to our account when we believe upon Christ. He was qualified to go to the cross, and there He was lifted up to die upon Calvary’s cross. God transferred the sin of all the people who would ever believe upon Him and He transferred that sin to Christ. And Christ, who knew no sin, God made to be sin for us. He suffered, and bled, and died upon that cross. He gave His life that you and I might have life. He shed His blood to make the only atonement for our sin. He was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. They took Him down from that cross, having made the atonement for sinners. They buried Him in a borrowed tomb. And on the third day, He was raised from the dead, and He then entered into glory on the day of His ascension. He is now seated at the right hand of God the Father. And the Bible says, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

You must believe in this One who suffered upon Calvary’s cross. He suffered the wrath of God in the place of those for whom He bore their sin. And He has now entered into glory. And if you’ll commit your life to Jesus Christ, He will take you into glory one day, when He returns or when you die. There is salvation in no other name. “For there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” There is one God and one Mediator between the Lord — One God and one Mediator which is the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave His life a ransom for many. If you will commit your life to Jesus Christ; if you will deny yourself, and take up a cross, and become a follower of Christ, if you will enter through the narrow gate that leads into the kingdom of God, if you will take that decisive step of faith, and surrender and submit your life to the lordship of Jesus Christ, He will receive you. And one day, when you die, He will take you home to be with Him in glory. He is preparing a place for all those who will commit their life to Him.

This is the message of the entire Bible — that our all-loving, gracious God has provided salvation in the Person of His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus, as He walked on the road to Emmaus that day and looked into the Scriptures with them, He said, “They testify of me. And they speak of my suffering and my glory.” May you know what it is to enter into the kingdom of God and enter into His glory one day when He comes for you.

Heavenly Father, thank You for the preeminence of the Lord Jesus Christ in all of Scripture. We praise you that He steps out of the pages of even the Old Testament as the central message, as the object of our faith, as a Savior and Lord. And Father, thank you that you have opened our eyes, that we might behold our need of Christ and see who Christ is. If there is anyone who has never come all the way to faith in Jesus Christ, oh God, we pray that they would surrender their life to Christ and enter in to the kingdom of God. Father, we pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen. 


Look up – Meditate on Luke 24:13-35  Pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.


Look in – Meditate on Luke 24:13-35  Pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: “Because God is ______________, I will ______________.”


Look out – Meditate on Luke 24:13-35  Pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory. 


* If you liked this post, you'll
 love this bookName Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ



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18 comments:

  1. I had never thought about the idea that the Bible is our burning bush, the place where God meets and talks to us. I'll be pondering that idea!

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    1. Donna, I so agree with you! As soon as I saw Krista's title for this beautiful artwork, it resonated in my Spirit--His Word is the Holy Ground where I meet with my Lord and Savior. Thanks so much for stopping by. Many blessings to you!

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  2. So often I come crashing into the presence of God, forgetting to take off my shoes, forgetting Whom it is that I have an audience with. May we always see the flame and turn aside to hear His voice.

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    1. Amen, Michele, I feel the same way! I think that's why my spirit immediately went to the "burning hearts" of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. How I pray for that to be my experience each day as the Spirit of Christ illuminates His Word to me. Thanks so much for stopping by. Many blessings to you!

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  3. Beth, hi! A burning heart is a powerful spiritual / emotional image. What would our lives look like if we left each encounter with the God we worship with our souls aflame with love, purpose, and worship ...

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    1. Love that, Linda...”souls aflame with love, purpose, and worship”... amen! Thanks so much for stopping by. Many blessings to you ❤️

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  4. I admit, I'm not a religious person, but your writing was beautiful. Thank you.

    #dreamteam

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    1. Thank you for stopping by. I'm not a religious person either, since religion is all about legalism. I do have a relationship with Jesus Christ, there was a time and a place where I realized that I was dead in my sin, and I turned to the Cross of Jesus Christ and freely received His finished work on the Cross as payment for my sins. Through a simple prayer, "Lord Jesus, please save me. I believe You died on the Cross of my sin, and I make You my Lord and Savior," the Spirit of Christ came in to my heart, and I have never been the same since. I am praying that you choose to have a relationship with Jesus Christ too. Many blessings to you!

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  5. Great teaching Beth! Did you know that there is actually a part of our physiological hearts that is called the "Centre of His" which controls the heart separately from the neurological processes of control! So interesting!

    You're most welcome to drop by for a cup of inspiration,
    Jennifer

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    1. WOW! Jennifer, that is so-o-o-o interesting about the "Centre of His" which controls our heart separately from the neurological processes of control! I always knew my heart was indwelled by the Living Lord Jesus--that it was "His," I just didn't know it had a title! Thanks for sharing this information! Many blessings to you!

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  6. This is awesome Beth, a fantastic, in-depth teaching! and Krista's artwork is beautiful. I love the comparison of God's word being our burning bush. It's true and yet, I have never thought of it that way. I do want the fire to burn in me too, I want it to be contagious and spread to others as well. Thanks for linking up with #TuneInThursday

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    1. Debbie, thank you so much for stopping by from #TuneInThursday. It is a joy to share with others what our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has used to encourage me. Many blessings to you ❤️

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  7. What an awesome post! Thank you for sharing at Words on Wednesday. I don't think I've ever considered the Bible as my Burning Bush. Fascinating new perspective! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

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    1. Marci, I so agree with you...it’s amazing how just a title like, “The Bible is our Burning Bush,” can shift our perspective and help us stop and take a second look at Scriptures we’ve read many times. Oh, the depth and riches of God’s infallible Word! Thanks so much for stopping by. Many blessings to you ❤️

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  8. Interesting read Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by. Many blessings to you!

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  9. You taught me something new today. I did not know that heart in the Bible refers to the seat and center of human life. It makes sense and I also love that the word for heart is kardia.

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    1. Mary, thanks so much for your encouraging comments. I love learning new things about God's Word, like you, I'm a life-long learner. Many blessings to you!

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