Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Burning Hearts

Death inevitably strikes a universal fear in every human heart. Those who stood near the hill of Golgotha that Friday when Jesus was crucified felt the sting of that fear. They saw and heard him speak his last words. Then they saw him breathe his last breath and fall limp as he hung on the cross. There were so many emotions churning inside their hearts that day. They felt disappointment, confusion, loss and helplessness.

It seemed impossible to process what they had seen. Jesus was their Messiah, the one who was going to bring deliverance, but now he was dead. Jesus was already in his grave. Early Sunday morning some women went to finish preparing the body of Jesus because there hadn’t been enough time on Friday. They worried how they would remove the stone. When they arrived they found the tomb empty and the stone rolled away. Still none of them could fathom the idea of resurrection. Even after angels announced to them that Jesus had risen, they couldn’t comprehend it. Not even the disciples realized the thought of resurrection, despite the fact that Jesus had told them on several occasions that he would die and then be resurrected. It seems that it is almost impossible for the human heart to grasp the idea of resurrection. No wonder they never expected Jesus to rise from the dead, but he did!

The resurrected Jesus came alongside two disciples on their way from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They didn’t know it was Jesus. They shared as Jesus listened.  They told him that Jesus was their hero. He was a powerful prophet who spoke like no one who had ever lived. He had touched their hearts with his words and miracles. He was courageous and stood up to the chief priests like no else was able to do. We had hoped that Jesus would set us free from Roman rule and become our king, but now he is dead.

The whole desperate situation seemed to have no explanation, but Jesus came to give them one. They were looking for answers, and Jesus didn’t leave them to wander in their perplexity but came near to explain the unexplainable. Jesus listened to them before he talked. Isaiah said that he had come to bind up the brokenhearted, and no one does such a wonderful job as he does here.

No matter how many pieces of the puzzle are missing from your life, Jesus is the one who can show you the big picture. It doesn’t matter what you’ve lost, Jesus can put the pieces you do have together in a way that finally makes sense. If you are living with hopelessness, it’s time to let Jesus give you hope.

After Jesus talked with them, they said, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?" (Luke 24:32). I don’t know if you have ever felt what Cleopas and the other disciple described here at this moment, but if you have come to know Jesus, then you have. When you finally realize that Jesus died for you and was resurrected and that he is alive—your heart is set aflame.

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