Tag Archives: disciples

Burning hearts

Luke 24:32  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?”

The Word of God has an effect on all who experience it.  As Jesus walked with the disciples that were headed to Emmaus, He opened up the Scriptures to them in a very real way, showing them the overall theme of the Bible – Himself.  As they heard all of this, presumably for the first time (though they “knew” the Scriptures), their hearts burned within them.  After inviting Jesus to stay with them their eyes were opened and they saw clearly who He was and that God had revealed Himself, through Jesus and through the Scriptures.

And what happened immediately after that?  The result was exactly what it was for anyone whose heart burns from within – they had to go share what they now knew.  When your heart is burning, you can’t help but tell the world what made it so.  After hearing Jesus’ words, experiencing Him, and having their eyes opened to the truth, they immediately went out and spread the news that the Christ had risen.  There was no doubt left in their minds that it was true and that everyone needed to know.  They knew the value of this news.  They knew what it meant to all mankind.

Experiencing Jesus does this to a person.  He has such an impact on us that our hearts burn from within and we can’t help but share the Gospel with all of those around us.  No one has ever had such an effect on all the world.  Those who experienced Him for who He is turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6) and we can continue to do so for His glory.

The Invitation

Luke 24:29  but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them.

On the road to Emmaus, the disciples didn’t see Jesus for who He was.  Even after He had opened up the Scriptures to them as an ongoing story concerning Himself, they didn’t realize who was in their presence.  They were intrigued, maybe even amazed by His brilliance, but they did not yet see Him as the Christ because their eyes were still closed.

As they came upon their destination, Jesus acted like He was going to keep walking (knowing full well what was going to happen).  The disciples invited Him to come along with them.  They wanted to know more.  They wanted to spend more time with this man.  Only after this invitation were their eyes opened.  All that they knew in their heads became real finally when it hit them that they were talking with the Christ all that time on the road. He became more than they had ever expected.

The journey of a disciple requires an invitation to Jesus.  This doesn’t mean salvation, because He does the inviting in our hearts and we respond.  This is an invitation for Him to join us along the road as we travel into spiritual maturity.  We can’t understand it all on our own, we need Him walking with us.  As the disciples headed to Emmaus saw, Jesus is more than willing to accept and open up our eyes.

 

Head knowledge is not heart knowledge

Luke 24:25  And he said to them,“O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!

Our friends who encountered Jesus along the road to Emmaus days after His death on the cross were very knowledgable of the Scriptures.  They longed for the promised Jewish Messiah because they had been taught from a young age all about the manuscripts and the Law, the oral traditions and the customs.  They knew the stories of their ancestors inside and out.  But Jesus pointed out to them that their head knowledge did not equal knowing the Scripture in their hearts.

He rightly pointed out to the disciples that they were being foolish for knowing the promises of God through the prophets without realizing that they were being fulfilled right in front of their eyes — by the very man who stood before them!  They were so concerned with what they “knew” that they didn’t know anything.  They couldn’t see the forrest for the trees.  All of that teaching did them no good if they couldn’t recognize the One whom the prophets had foretold.

Before we get down on the poor disciples of this story let’s take a look at the modern day church, at ourselves.  We’re a very educated society, with so many schools and so much at our disposal for learning about God and His Word.  Many of us have quite a few verses memorized and have learned the stories of the Bible from a young age.  We could tell someone who asks almost anything about any story…but how do those stories apply to our lives?  Do we know that answer?

“Knowing” the Scriptures is not the same as seeing Jesus for who He is and what He’s done by seeking Him.  Knowing God on a personal level enables us to really know the Scriptures and see them with eyes wide open.  Jesus has enabled us to know Him if we’ll just seek Him out.  If we look for Him, we’ll see that the entirety of God’s Word is about Jesus. From Genesis to Revelation.

Jesus in the Scriptures

Luke 24:27  And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

Can you see Jesus?  There He is, in the Garden of Eden, as the serpent is cursed by God and promised that One would come who would crush him (Genesis 3:15).  He’s there as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stand among the flames without being burnt up (Daniel 3:24-25). He’s the one foretold by the prophets (2 Samuel 7:12–16; Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; 50:6; 52:13–53:12; 61:1; Jeremiah 23:5, 6; Daniel 7:13, 14; 9:24–27; Micah 5:2; Zechariah 6:12; 9:9;12:10; 13:7 and so on) and ushered in by The Baptist (John 1:29). And yes, we find that even in the very beginning, He was there (John 1:1). But so much more than these examples, He’s the central character of every story in every book of God’s Word.

As the disciples who walked to Emmaus spoke to Jesus, He pointed out to them how all of the Scriptures they knew concerned Him, they all had a purpose of shedding light on the man who was also God.  God revealed Himself to mankind through Jesus and He revealed Jesus through the Scripture.  When the eyes of the disciples were opened, they saw it.  When our eyes are opened to who Jesus is, we see it too.  It’s all about Him, every story, every prophesy, even the Law is given to show that we needed Jesus to come (Galatians 3:24-25).  It’s genius, if you think about it.  Who else, ever, in the entire history of the world, has written such an extensive story with so much action, so much rich dialogue, such beautiful poetry, such love, such applicable moral teaching, that reveals in the end to be about a great Hero that was the basis for the rest of the story up to that point?  It’s brilliant!  And it’s God-inspired.

What the disciples got that day is that Jesus is the central character.  He’s the one that matters in the big scheme of things.  We can learn a lot from Moses, David, Solomon and other heroes, but their main purpose was to point to Christ. Their good deeds and their flaws alike were to show us Jesus.  The prophesies, the plagues, the desert wandering, the flooding, all to point us to Jesus.  Not every view of theology agrees with this notion, but what matters is that Jesus did.  He’s the one who said Moses wrote about Him (John 5:46) and made claim to be the One that the prophets spoke of (Luke 4:21).  If Jesus believed it, it’s best to follow His lead.

Hoping for something more

Luke 24:21a  But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel…

Have you ever looked back on something in your life and realized how foolish you looked for not seeing what was right in front of you?  The story in Luke’s account of the Gospel about two disciples who were talking while they traveled, just days after Jesus’ death on the cross, makes one wonder just how foolish they felt as they looked back at their encounter with Jesus.

As they walked along sulking that this man they had followed, who that had placed their trust in as the promised Messiah, the one who would redeem His people Israel, the resurrected Jesus actually joined them.  These two of His disciples recounted the story of Jesus’ crucifixion to Him (because they didn’t recognize Him as being Jesus) and expressed lament over the fact that He hadn’t lived up to their hopes.  We look back now and wonder how on earth the risen Lord could have disappointed anyone’s hopes, but these Jewish men had been awaiting a Messiah who would establish an earthly kingdom to save them from their oppressors and Jesus did not do that.  No, instead He was killed by those oppressors.  This fell short of what they had wanted from Him.

But Jesus came to do so much more than just save Israel from an oppressive government. He came to bring reconciliation with God, to all, Jews and Gentiles alike.  But the men didn’t know this yet because they were so focused on their own expectations.  Can’t we do that sometimes?  Don’t we sometimes expect God to answer us in some small way and when we don’t see it we get all upset with Him, when really there’s a much bigger blessing in store if we’d only open our eyes?  The guys in this story opened their eyes and eventually saw Jesus for who He was and what He came to do.  That’s hope for all of us.

Christ Following

Matthew 4:19 “Follow Me,” He told them, “and I will make you fish for people!”

There are a lot of distractions in the world but for the Christ follower that wants to be obedient, the number one focus should be on making disciples, it’s what Jesus spent his time doing everyday. He started his ministry with the call to the first disciples and he ended his ministry by telling his disciples to go make some more disciples.

Jesus told his potential disciples up front what we was going to do with them but I don’t think that they really understood and I am pretty sure that they didn’t realize the process as it was going on. Jesus subtly brought them along one tiny step at a time, just the same as he has done with me, he knew that there would be a process and that I wouldn’t suddenly become a mature, faithful follower right away.

Jesus spent three years in close daily contact with this group of men, showing them the new way of life and the new way of thinking, he did so through his teaching but most important he did it through his lifestyle.

Disciples don’t get made by themselves, I need to be intentional and make it a part of my lifestyle, I need to be about building relationships that God can use.

Help me Lord to step out and intentionally work at making disciples, I want to live so that my walk is consistent with my talk, so that you will get the glory.

Send

On mission

Romans 10:15  And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

What if I can’t go on a mission to spread the Gospel?  Am I being disobedient to God?  Realistically speaking, not everyone is capable of mobilizing for the kingdom of God.  Not everyone can walk away from their life situation to visit another location to preach the Good News.  But, everyone can do something to send someone.

Some have been gifted with financial ability and can help fund a missions trip or even a local mission project.  Some have less means but have great faith, faith greater than many others, and those people can pray and believe for great things to be accomplished.  Some may not have money but have connections.  To get into some nations it takes a great miracle to pull things off.  Connections may be what makes it happen.

Whatever it is that God has given you, you have something that will help make His name famous in all the world.  Whether it’s your skills, you money, your friends in the right places, or your prayers, you need to take an inventory of how you can make things happen.  If you can’t go, you can send.  So send for the glory of God, that others may hear His Good News and believe.

Make

On mission

Matthew 28:19  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

How do we make disciples?  Most of us probably know how to make converts; we share the Gospel.  If someone responds to the Good News of Jesus Christ, there has been a rebirth.  A new Christian has been made.  But has a disciple been made?  How do we know?

A very well known disciple-maker has said that if a person is reading God’s Word daily, praying with his or her spouse, obeying God, and sharing his or her faith at every opportunity, you can be pretty sure you’ve made a disciple.  Discipleship is not simply about behaviors and disciplines, however.  The Fruit of the Spirit?  A disciple should be showing those characteristics.  It won’t all happen overnight, but you can tell when someone is growing more mature and when they’re not.  Sadly, most Christians today are not growing and not becoming more like Jesus.  They’re just sitting on the bench, waiting for Him to come back.

But what do we do to make disciples?  How do we get people off the bench?  The most essential element in disciple-making is relationship and time.  You’ve got to share one-on-one time with a person to make a disciple.  Classes and theological training are good, but caring for the person and talking to them directly has more impact.  Probably second most important is modeling discipleship.  You can’t make a disciple if you aren’t living as one.  Preach what you practice.  Encourage, love, pray with, study with, and be there for people and you will make disciples.