Did Not Our Hearts Burn Within Us?

TODAY’S READING: LUKE 23-24

“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?'” – Luke 24:32

“Did not our hearts burn within us?”

The two disciples on the road to Emmaus asked this of one another after they finally realized that it was Jesus talking to them as they walked from Jerusalem to Emmaus and had dinner together.

“Did not our hearts burn within us?”

In Luke 12:49, Jesus said he came to cast fire on the earth. I wrote about this in “What Is the Fire Jesus Casts on the Earth?” In the two disciples walking on the road to Emmaus we have the first example of the fire that Jesus came to cast upon the earth.

The Greek word for burn is kaio. It means to set on fire, to kindle, to consume. According to An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon, kaio means

  • to light, kindle
  • to set on fire, burn up, burn ( to burn, scorch of the sun or to be burnt or parched of fever)
  • to burn and destroy (in war), to waste with fire
  • to cauterize

In Luke 24:32, kaio is passive, meaning that the act of burning was done to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus by Jesus. Jesus burned their hearts.

Jesus used kaio in Matthew 13:40 when he said, “Just as the weeds are gathered and burned [kaio] with fire, so will it be at the end of the age.”

And, he also used kaio in John 15:6, when he said, “If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned [kaio].”

Kaio is the root word of kaminos, which means a furnace. Jesus used this word in Matthew 13:41-42 when he said, “The Son of Man will send his angels, and they gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace.” Jesus said virtually the same thing in verse 50.

Kaio also is the root word for katakaio, which means to burn down, to burn completely, to consume wholly. John the Baptist used this word in regards to Jesus. Luke 3:16-17 says, “He [Jesus] will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn [katakaio] with unquenchable fire.”

Jesus baptizes with fire. He burns the chaff. We should remember that the chaff comes from the wheat. Every single grain of wheat has chaff, or a husk, surrounding it. The wheat and the chaff do not represent two different groups of people. Every person is both wheat and chaff. Therefore , every person has chaff that needs to be burned away by Jesus’ unquenchable fire.

Therefore, Paul used katakaio in 1 Corinthians 3:12-15. “Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw – each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up [katakaio], he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”

So, Jesus used the same word and it derivatives throughout his life to describe the fire and the burning he was going to bring as Luke used to describe how the hearts of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus burned within them.

Why did their hearts burn within them?

Their hearts did not burn within them because they read the scriptures literally and understood them literally with their own reasoning and intelligence.

Instead, their hearts burned with them “while he talked to us on the road.” Their hearts were burned by Jesus when he talked to them. The two disciples heard Jesus’ voice.

What did Jesus speak to these two disciples?

“He opened to us the Scriptures.”

The Greek word for opened is dianoigo. It means to open, interpret, explain. Dianoigo means to open thoroughly, literally as a first born.

We first find dianogio in Mark 7:34 when Jesus proclaimed “Be opened” to the deaf ears, ears that could not hear, of a man.

Luke uses dianoigo in 2:23 to describe the opening of the womb by the first born male. Luke’s reference is to the reason Jesus was presented in the temple and called holy to the Lord. Jesus is the first born male that thoroughly opens the womb. Colossians 1:15 says that Jesus is “the firstborn of all creation.” And Romans 8:29 says that Jesus would be “the firstborn among many brothers.” So, when Jesus opens our ears it is as if we are being born again and coming into a new reality.

Stephen used dianoigo when he was stone to death.

Acts 7:54-58 says, “Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him.”

When we hear Jesus, heaven is opened to us. We see the glory of God and Jesus. The result is that we become like Jesus. Stephen laid down his life. He did not fight. And, no one fought to defend him. And, Stephen cried out that Jesus would forgive them just as Jesus did from the cross. But, those who stopped their ears accused him, wrongfully, and stoned him to death. Those who stopped their ears took vengeance.

How did Jesus open the scriptures to the two disciples?

Luke 24:25-27 says, “And he said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”

Jesus told them he had to suffer, be rejected, be crucified, and rise again three days later. He spoke this plainly to everyone during his life. These things were written in Moses and the Prophets. But, you will not see these things if you read Moses and the Prophets literally, word for word. Otherwise, Jesus would not be need to interpret them. Therefore, you can only understand the Scriptures, you can only understand what Jesus did and why he did it, and therefore you can only understand God, if Jesus interprets talks to you, interpreting the scriptures for you so that your hearing will be opened and you understand them truly.

To interpret, to translate, something means that you transform one language, one way of speaking, into a second language or another way of speaking. Again, you cannot understand the true meaning of the Scriptures, what they say about Jesus, unless he translates them for you.

Therefore, Hebrews 1:1-2 says, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.” God spoke in many different languages – creation, the exodus, the tabernacle, offerings, psalms, history, etc. – but today he speaks in Son. God’s language is Jesus. Jesus interprets for us all these other ways that God spoke. Therefore, “He [Jesus] is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.” (Hebrews 1:3)

Why does need to interpret the scriptures for us? Why does he need to open our ears and minds to the true message of the scriptures?

Because on the surface they seem to reveal a vengeful, angry, and violent God that destroys. But, that is just the outer husk, the chaff, that needs to be burned away from every grain of wheat.

The truth about God is something different. He suffers. He is rejected. He is crucified. He does not take vengeance. He forgives. He says, “Peace to you!” (Luke 24:36)

“Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and the repentance and the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.'”

Jesus interprets the scriptures and opens our understanding of them so that we will no longer proclaim a vengeful, violent, and angry God that will destroy you.

Jesus interprets and opens the scriptures so that we will proclaim repentance. We are to proclaim the changing of minds about who God is. Instead of the old and wrong view that God is angry, vengeful, and violent, waiting to destroy you, we are to proclaim that God is good, only good, loving, kind, merciful, forgiving, a life-giving spirit who suffers with you and dies for you.

And, Jesus does this so that we will proclaim forgiveness.

To all nations.

Every person.

Indiscriminately.

For all sin.

As many times as it takes for them to see God for who he really is – loving, merciful, forgiving, and peaceful.

When Jesus interpreted and opened the scriptures for the two disciples, their hearts were burned by Jesus’ unquenchable fire. The chaff around their grains of wheat was burned away. Every wrong idea they had of God was burned up.

Surely, as Jesus opened the scriptures to them they experienced pain as and sorrow concerning how badly they had misunderstood who God is. Yet, the end  result of their hearts being burned surely was an incredible joy as they immediately returned to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples what had happened to them.

So, stop reading the Bible literally through your own understanding.

Let Jesus speak to you, interpret for you, and open up to you, the truth of the scriptures.

Let Jesus burn away all your false ideas about God.

Only Jesus can do this for you.

What Is the One Thing Jesus Spoke Plainly?

TODAY’S READING: MARK 10-11

“And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, ‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.'” – Mark 10:32-34

This is the third and final time in Mark that Jesus tells the twelve disciples that he was going to be delivered to his death and rise three days later. Mark writes something very interesting the first time Jesus speaks about his death and resurrection.

Mark 8:31-32 says, “And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly.”

“And he said this plainly.”

The Greek word for plainly is parresia. It means boldness, confidence, plainly, frankness. According to the Theological Lexicon of the New Testament parresia means freedom of speech, candor, boldness, public speech, categorical affirmation. It was originally a political term, which was the sign of one’s political liberty. The very act of speaking with such freedom implied the truth of what was being said. But, speaking with such freedom exposed the speaker to significant danger.

So, when Jesus spoke of his death, he spoke boldly, confidently, plainly, frankly. He did not mince words. Jesus was clear. He was not trying to obfuscate what he was saying or making it hard to understand.

His suffering, death, and resurrection is the one thing that Jesus spoke about plainly.

Mark 4:2 says, “And he was teaching them many things in parables.”

Mark 4:33-34 says, “With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.”

Why would Jesus speak so plainly about his suffering, death, and resurrection with his disciples but only speak in parables to everyone else?

Mark 4:11 says, “And he said to them, ‘To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables.”

Jesus gave the secret, the mystery, of the kingdom of God to his disciples. He spoke to them plainly about it. The secret, the mystery, of the kingdom of God is that the Christ must suffer, die, and be resurrected three days.

Why did Jesus tell his disciples this one thing – his suffering, death, and resurrection – so plainly?

I believe because it is so antithetical, so opposite, to the way we naturally think.

Mark 8:29 says, “And he asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, ‘You are the Christ.'”

It was immediately after Peter’s confession, on behalf of all the disciples, that Jesus began to teach that he would, be killed, and rise three days later. But, even though Peter had just confessed Jesus as the Christ, this plain teaching of Jesus made no sense to him.

Mark 8:32 says, “And he [Jesus] said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.”

The one thing Jesus taught plainly, Peter said no way.

Jesus taught about his suffering, death, and resurrection a second time in Mark 9:30-32. Immediately after the second teaching, Jesus and the disciples journeyed to Capernaum. Along the way, the disciples argued, not about Jesus’ teaching that he would suffer, die, and rise even though they did not understand it, but about who would be the greatest in the kingdom. So, Jesus told them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

The third and final time Jesus teaches that he will suffer, die, and rise, James and John ask Jesus that he would grant them to sit on his right and left hand. Yet, again when Jesus teaches plainly the secret of the kingdom – that the Christ, the Messiah, the king would suffer, die and rise – the disciples are still trying to be great according to the way of the world. They want to rule.

The other disciples became indignant at James and John. They are still arguing about who is going to be the greatest. In Mark 10:42-45, Jesus responded, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Jesus had to speak the secret, the mystery of the kingdom, plainly to his disciples because it was completely the opposite of everything they thought and believed about the way the world worked, who the Christ was, and what he would do.

Not only did Jesus speak plainly that he would suffer, die, and rise, but he acted plainly. In John 16:25, Jesus said, “I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly [parresia] about the Father.”

Jesus would tell them plainly about the Father in the hour. The hour is a reference to Jesus’ crucifixion. It was on the cross that Jesus’ actions would plainly reveal the Father just as he had spoken plainly to the disciples about his suffering, death, and resurrection.

Colossians 2:13-15 says, “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to an open [parresia] shame, by triumphing over them in him.

The crucifixion of Jesus was God disarming the rulers and authorities, those that had all mankind bound in sin and death. The crucifixion was Jesus plainly showing us who God is.

Did you catch the significance of this plain speaking about the Father in Colossians 2:13-15?

“Having forgiven us all our trespasses.”

Jesus taught his suffering, death, and resurrection clearly because he wanted to boldly, confidently, frankly tell us that God forgives us.

Why did Jesus speak clearly to the disciples the secret of the kingdom yet in parables to those outside?

Mark 4:11-12 says, “and he said to them, ‘To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that ‘they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.'”

Here Jesus links his plain speaking as opposed to his teaching in parables with forgiveness.

When Jesus was on the cross, when his actions most plainly told us about the Father, what did Jesus say?

Luke 23:34 says, “And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.'”

The secret, the mystery, of the kingdom is so foreign to us that despite Jesus’ plain teaching and acting out his teaching on the cross, the disciples still did not understand.

Luke 24:25-27 says, “And he said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

So, Luke 24:44-48 says, “Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled,’ Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for [the correct word is and] the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”

Why did Jesus speak plainly about his suffering, death, and resurrection?

So, that repentance and forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed.

How did you Jesus start his ministry?

Jesus first words in the gospel of Mark are, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Repentance is the first message of the kingdom.

How did Jesus end his ministry?

Luke 23:34 says, “And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.'”

Forgiveness is the last word of Jesus’ ministry.

So, Jesus told the disciples to proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sins to the whole world. This was the evidence that the disciples had been transformed. See yesterday’s post.

Proclaiming repentance and forgiveness of sins to the world is just what the disciples did. And, they did it plainly.

In the first sermon, Peter preached “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raise him up.” Peter preached that the Christ must suffer, die, and be resurrected. Peter did not preach, “Believe in Jesus, get saved, or you are going to burn in hell forever.”

The disciples never once preached hell. They preached the secret, the mystery, of the kingdom – Jesus Christ suffered, died, and was resurrected. They preached the gospel.

In acts 2:29, 32, Peter said, “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence [parresia] about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb us with us to this day…This Jesus God raised up, and of that we are all witnesses.”

When confidently, boldly, plainly taught the secret of the kingdom, the gospel, those who were gathered were cut to heart and asked what should they do?

“And Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)

The disciples knew the secret of the kingdom, the gospel – Jesus Christ suffered, died, and was resurrected. Therefore, they proclaimed repentance and the forgiveness of sins to all.

Acts 4:13 says, “Now when they saw the boldness [parresia] of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.

Acts 4:29-31 says, “‘And now, Lord, look upon their hearts and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with boldness [parresia], while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’ And when they had prayed, the place in which there gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness [parresia].”

Acts 28:30-31 says, “He [Paul] lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness [parresia] and without hindrance.”

To speak the word with boldness is not

  • proclaiming the ten commandments
  • quoting the law and the prophets literally
  • telling people to obey rules and moral commands
  • preaching get saved or burn in hell forever.

To speak the word, the word of God, Jesus Christ with boldness is to proclaim that Jesus is the Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords. And, as the Christ, the true king of the world, Jesus became the least of all, a servant, a slave. He willingly suffered and was crucified at your hands. But, God raised Jesus up. Jesus did this so that you could repent of your violence, your desire for vengeance, and receive God’s forgiveness for your sins and proclaim God’s forgiveness to the world.

This is what Jesus spoke plainly.

How Are We Transformed by the Renewing of Our Mind?

TODAY’S READING: MARK 8-9

“And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them…And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, ‘This is my beloved Son; listen to him.'” – Mark 9:2-3, 7

In Romans 12:2, Paul says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”

This is arguably one of the most famous verses in the Bible. It is quoted all the time.

But, exactly how is our mind renewed so that we can be transformed?

And, what is the evidence that we are transformed by the renewing of our mind?

The Greek word for renewal in Romans 12:2 is anakainosis. It means a making new, a renewal, a renovation. Paul is talking about an overhaul of our mind.

The only other use of anakainosis is in Titus 3:4-5, which says, “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” So, the Holy Spirit plays a role in the renewal of our mind.

Just what does the Holy Spirit do though to renew our mind?

In John 14:26, Jesus says, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring your remembrance all that I have said to you.” The Holy Spirit renews our minds by reminding us of what Jesus said.

The Holy Spirit speaks to us the words of one person, and one person only, Jesus. When the Holy Spirit speaks to us the words of Jesus our minds are renewed and we transformed.

The Greek word for transformed is metamorphoo. This is where we get our word metamorphosis. So, we can instantly understand the word by calling to mind the complete change of appearance of caterpillar goes through in becoming a butterfly.

Metamorphoo is not used often in the Bible. In fact, it is used only four times. We’ve seen one in Romans 12:2. We are to be transformed, to completely change appearance.

One of the other four uses in found in today’s reading. Mark 9:2 (and Matthew 17:2) says that Jesus was transfigured, or transformed. When Jesus was transformed he was clothed in light. Elijah and Moses appeared with Jesus when he transformed.

When Peter saw Elijah and Moses with Jesus, he thought that three tents, or tabernacles. The tabernacle was where the presence of God dwelt among Israel as they journeyed through the wilderness. So, Peter thought he would build a tabernacle for Jesus, Elijah, and Moses because he, James, John, and the other disciples could meet God through each one of them.

But, a cloud overshadowed them. And, a voice spoke from the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”

What happened after this voice spoke?

“And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.” (Mark 9:8) Elijah and Moses disappeared.

So, Jesus was transformed. Elijah and Moses appeared. A cloud, the Holy Spirit, showed up. God said from the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” And, Elijah and Moses disappeared.

So, Jesus’ transformation resulted in only his voice being left. The voice of Elijah was gone. The voice of Moses was gone.

And, we are transformed when the Holy Spirit speaks the words of Jesus, and Jesus only, in our minds.

So, how are we transformed by the renewal of our minds?

We are transformed when we listen to only the voice of Jesus.

This cannot be stressed enough.

If we do not want to be conformed to the world but transformed, then we can only listen to Jesus.

We are not to listen to Moses. This means we do not listen, or take heed, to the law.

We are not to listen to Elijah. This means we do not listen, or take heed, to the prophets.

Moses and Elijah have disappeared. They are gone.

Moses and Elijah are only useful to the extent that Jesus translates, or interprets, them into his voice. Luke 24:27 says, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he [Jesus] interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”

Luke 24:44 says, “Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.'”

Jesus said “my words that I spoke to you.” We are to listen to his voice. And, the Holy Spirit brings to our remembrance what Jesus said.

Does Jesus say that everything in the law, the prophets, and the psalms would be fulfilled?

No, he does not.

Jesus said, “Everything written about me…must be fulfilled.”

What was written about Jesus in the law, the prophets, and the psalms?

“Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.'” (Luke 24:45-47)

The writing of the law, the prophets, and the psalms that need to be fulfilled, that Jesus had to open our minds to understand, was that Jesus should suffer and rise from the dead the third day.

Therefore, repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed. The word for is not in the Greek, but the word and is there.

So, we are transformed when we listen to Jesus only.

We are transformed when the Holy Spirit renovates our minds to only hear Jesus in the Old Testament.

We only hear Jesus in the Old Testament when we understand the Old Testament to reveal that the Christ would suffer and be resurrected three days later.

We know that we are transformed and only hear Jesus when we proclaim repentance, the call for changed minds, and the forgiveness of sins.

Therefore, if we are proclaiming eternal damnation, eternal torment, and hell, then our minds have not been renewed and we have not been transformed.

If we are proclaiming eternal damnation, eternal torment, and hell, then we are still conformed to the world.

Jesus proclaimed forgiveness from the cross even as we crucified him. And, if we have been transformed then we will proclaim forgiveness too. This is the glory of the Lord, the forgiveness of sin.

2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

We are transformed into light just like Jesus. We partake of his glory. We proclaim forgiveness of sins as he did.

Colossians 1:13 says, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

We are transformed by the renewing of our minds when we listen to Jesus, and only Jesus.

The evidence of our being transformed and no longer conformed to this world is that we proclaim the forgiveness of sins just as we have heard from Jesus.