THE twenty-fourth chapter of Luke tells the sweet story of the appearance of our Lord to the two disciples on the way to Emmaus. They were trudging along, half-believing, half-doubting, communing together and reasoning—which never amounts to anything without our Lord’s Presence. He draws near and begins to talk with them, drawing them out first, then showing them how He was fulfilling the Scriptures.
In this chapter, our Lord starts out as the Great Opener. First, He opened to them the Scriptures, and their hearts burned within them (v. 32). God’s Word, rightly interpreted, will produce spiritual heartburn. It penetrates, for it is sharper than a two-edged sword (Heb. 4:12). Believers do not hunger and thirst after righteousness because they do not read God’s Word. They fill up with the lollipops of this world and have no appetite for spiritual things. They do not read their Bibles nor go to a church where the Scriptures are really opened, and they are not smitten with spiritual heartburn and a yearning for a deeper life. If we will give Christ an opportunity to open to us His Word, our hearts will burn and we will cry, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening and the day is far spent.” To be sure, He dwells in every believer’s heart after regeneration, but we need to cry out, “Abide with me in a deeper consciousness of Thy Presence.”
We observe next that, while Jesus sat at the table with them, “their eyes were opened and they knew Him” (v. 31). Up until then, their eyes were restrained (v. 16) and they did not know Him. So many believers walk with a veiled Christ, for their eyes are not focused. They need that their eyes shall be fully opened to know Him, and while they may be seeking some spectacular experience, they need to remember that He was revealed here in the very lowliest way, “in breaking of bread” (v. 35). Perhaps you want Him to dazzle you with a mighty vision, while He wants you to know Him as the other member of your family in the kitchen and as your partner in the office.
Finally, we notice in verse 45 that “He opened their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures.” First, Jesus opened the Scriptures, then their eyes, and then their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures for themselves. It is the Divine order. It is fellowship with the Lord, and not scholarship, that opens to us the Word. Colleges cannot do it, seminaries cannot do it, He must do it. There are clever theologians who can divide the Word, but they cannot rightly divide it until He has opened their eyes to the knowledge of Himself. This explains why so many scholars are dry and why some simple souls have such a grasp of the Bible. There is a key to it that hangs low, and only the lowly stoop to find it.
Many read the Bible but need to be asked, as was the eunuch, “Understandeth thou what thou readest?” The best way—the only way—to know the Bible is first to know its Christ. The Scriptures may be opened to bring conviction and heartburn as here, but until the eyes have been opened, teaching deep things of the Word to those with deadened eyes is casting pearls before swine! “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God”; there must be a miracle.
“Open thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law” (Ps. 119:18) is the only true approach to understanding the Scriptures.