Prays Together: Holy Heartburn

Jim Newman

There were many appearances of the risen Christ after he rose from the dead. In First Corinthians chapter 15, also called “the Resurrection Chapter,” it says: “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep (died),” (vs. 3-6). Notice the essential things Paul emphasized in those verses: “Christ died for our sins” (fulfilling Scripture); “He was buried” (He really died); “He was raised from the dead the third day” (again in fulfillment of Scripture); and “He appeared to Cephas” (that is, Peter), as well as many other eyewitnesses, as recorded in the Gospel narratives.

I’m especially moved by the appearance recorded in Luke 24:13-35. It took place on Easter Sunday, possibly in the late afternoon. Two of Jesus’ followers were on their way out of Jerusalem walking toward the village of Emmaus, about seven miles away. They were discussing together “everything that had happened” that day. Verse 15 says that “Jesus himself came up and walked along with them,” but that “they were kept from recognizing him.” You may remember how Mary Magdalene, as she wept in the early morning darkness near the tomb, also didn’t recognize Jesus at first when he spoke to her.

As they walked, Jesus asked them what they were discussing together. Their response was almost humorous, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that happened there in these days?” Jesus, like a good teacher, asked, “What things?” Perhaps he was wanting to see if they understood what had taken place. The disciples then summarized all that had happened, (verses 19-24).

Jesus responded by telling them that they were being foolish and also reluctant to believe what all the prophets had said about him throughout the Scriptures. I love what Jesus did next. It says in verse 27, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” Wouldn’t you have loved to have heard Jesus explain the meaning of what all the Bible passages said about him?

There’s a painting hanging in my office that portrays this scene of Jesus and those two disciples as he explained the Bible to them on the Emmaus Road. You can see them leaning in, trying to catch every word he was saying. How I would have loved to have been walking along with them!

As they approach the village, they asked him to stay with them for the evening meal. There he took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and began to give it to them. That’s when their eyes were opened and they recognized who he was. Jesus was then suddenly gone. Their words of questioning amazement were, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

“Holy Heartburn” is that yearning, deep within our souls, to know Jesus more deeply, to love him more sincerely, to walk with him more closely, to understand his Word more completely, and to grasp more fully the meaning of his death on the cross for you, and his resurrection which guarantees eternal life to all who put their trust in him.

Jim Newman is pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Exeter. He may be reached by calling 559-592-2367 or by emailing [email protected]. Prays Together is a rotating faith-based commentary and advice column between the pastors of the First Presbyterian Church of Exeter, Church of Christ of Exeter, Nazarene Church of Exeter, Church of God of Exeter, the New Life Assembly of God and Rocky Hill Community Church as well as the Lemon Cove Presbyterian Church.

This column is not a news article but the opinion of the writer and does not reflect the views of The Sun-Gazette newspaper.

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