Theme: Three Kinds of Openings
From these lessons we see that the suffering, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ were necessary in order for us to have the one true Redeemer who would deliver His people from their sins.
Scripture: Luke 24:26
Yesterday we said that the first opening that God does is that of opening the Scriptures to us. It is only from the Bible that a true knowledge of God can be known.
Secondly, having opened the Scriptures, He opened their eyes. You find that in verse 31. “Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him and He disappeared from their sight.” At this point in the story, He was breaking the bread. I suppose it was a connection there. They had seen Him break the bread before. They perhaps remembered what had happened at the upper room. Certainly they had seen Him at other occasions, but notice that when their eyes are opened to see Him, what they think of and what they talk about is not the sacrament, not the breaking of the bread, but the Scriptures. In other words, it was through Jesus’ explaining of the Scriptures to them that they were enabled to see Him for who He is.
Then there’s this third opening. You find it later on in verse 45. They went back to Jerusalem and He appeared again, and it says in that connection: “Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.” That is, He opened their understanding.
There’s a great spiritual truth in that. If you would grow in the knowledge of God and have spiritual understanding, there must be this sequence. First of all, there must be the opening of the Scriptures. Secondly, by the grace of God, our eyes must be opened to perceive Christ in the Scriptures. And then thirdly, having perceived Christ in the Scriptures, we come to have our minds opened to understand the Scriptures more fully concerning God and His ways.
Let me say this one thing in closing. Each of these three openings was accompanied by a corresponding blessing. When He opened the Scriptures to them, their report was, “Did not our hearts burn within us?” In other words, there was excitement in such things. It’s as if they were set on fire by the Holy Spirit, as the Word is taught to us by the living Christ. What a great blessing that is.
Secondly, when their eyes were opened to perceive Jesus, there was the blessing of a mission, because what did they do? The first thing they did when they perceived Him was say, “Well, we’ve got to get back to Jerusalem and tell other people about this.” They had left Jerusalem and traveled home. It was the end of the day and they had eaten a meal. It perhaps was even getting dark and therefore was difficult to travel at night. But they didn’t say, “Oh, it’s difficult. Let’s put it off to morning when things are better.” They said, “Oh, no. This is news that other people need to hear.”
So regardless of the difficulty, they made their way at breakneck speed back to Jerusalem, undoubtedly covering the ground in far less time than it took them to leave. They went back to Jerusalem to the disciples and they said, “We’ve seen Him!” Meantime, the disciples had seen Him, too, and they said, “Yes, we know! Jesus has appeared to us. He appeared to Simon.”
While they were there, Jesus appeared in their midst. When your eyes are opened to perceive Christ through the Scriptures, pointing to the necessity of His death and His resurrection, you’ll want to tell other people, too.
Finally, when their eyes were opened and they were given the opening of their minds with understanding, they began to see everything differently. You see, before this time, the Old Testament must’ve been something like a closed book to them, certainly in its spiritual sense. Oh, they knew the history that was there. They understood what God had done with the Jewish people. They could tell you the events of the Passover, but they didn’t understand the full significance of these things. Now, having seen the Lord Jesus Christ, and having their minds opened as He explained the Scriptures to them, all of the Old Testament must’ve come to them in a new light. When they read in Genesis of that creative word of God, they must’ve seen the power of the Lord Jesus Christ at work in the creation. Even as John himself says in his gospel: “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. All things were made by him.”
When they came to the story of Jacob they must’ve seen in it something of an illustration of the life of Jesus Christ, who was to come. They come to the Passover and they recognize Him as the Passover lamb. They come to the prophets and they would’ve understood all of the prophecies concerning Christ, as pointing to Christ and being fulfilled in Christ. Last of all, they’d have come to the book of Malachi and seen there that picture of the Messiah to come, the one who is risen with healing in His wings.
That’s a great blessing. That’s one I am sure that Christ covets for all His people. Did not Christ have to suffer these things and then to have entered into his glory? The answer is not in the reasonings of men but in the teaching of the Scriptures concerning Him.
What are the second and third things Jesus opened to these disciples?
List the blessing that went along with each of the three things Jesus opened.
Application: Through the work of the Holy Spirit, God continues to open people’s minds to understand spiritual truth and come to a saving knowledge of him through faith in Christ. What is the Lord calling you to do as a Christian in order to make the Bible better known by people who need to hear about the redemption that can only come from Christ?
For Further Study: In John 9 Jesus asks what is really the most important question in the world. Download and listen for free to James Boice’s message, “A Question for Everybody.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)