Bible Reading: Luke 24:1-35 (Devotional Commentary link)
When we read the Bible…the Holy Spirit speaks to us through it. He not only helps us to understand what it meant when it was written, but also how the truths it contains apply to our lives.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
In 1939, Adolf Hitler, the Fuhrer and Reich Chancellor of the Nazi party, led Germany to invade Poland. Within a year, Germany had expanded their war efforts against most of the other countries in Europe, as well. The German army was on the verge of successfully defeating the French army and the general consensus was that it would then focus its attacks on England.
It was at this critical moment in history (May 10, 1940), that Winston Churchill became the Prime Minister of England. During the first days of his service to his country, Churchill made three powerful speeches to the citizens of England. The German army was an incredibly organized military force. It had systematically destroyed one country after another and Hitler was determined that Germany would rule the world. And now, it was heading towards England. The speeches that Churchill gave inspired and motivated the English people to continue to fight for their country until the end…regardless of the outcome. His three speeches are generally titled…
- “Blood, toil, tears, and sweat” (May 13)
- “We shall fight on the beaches” (June 4)
- “This was their finest hour” (June 18).
All three of these speeches gave hope to the English people. They motivated them to continue in the struggle against Germany during the most perilous, most dangerous days of war that their country had ever faced. Churchill refused to quit…and his speeches led the English people to refuse to quit, as well. Here is part of the second speech…
Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.
Some say that it was the words of those three speeches…that kept the light of freedom burning in England during those darkest of days. Those words burned hot in the hearts of the English people and became a war cry of victory.
Words have incredible power. They can enlighten us, give us courage and hope, challenge and motivate us, and lead us to attempt things far beyond what we would normally consider.
Jesus was crucified on Friday…and rose from the grave on Sunday. On Sunday morning, several women who were among His followers, had gone to the tomb of Jesus and found it to be empty. Shortly after, Jesus appeared to Mary, and then later in the morning, He appeared to several of His other disciples. Word spread like wildfire…”Jesus is alive!”
Not knowing what to do after the crucifixion of Jesus…some of His followers had fled. They were initially afraid that the Jewish authorities would hunt them down and crucify them, as well. But now, there were these rumors that He was alive. Not everyone had seen Him…just a few. What were they to do? No one seemed to know. So some of them headed to their homes in nearby communities.
Two of Jesus’ followers were from a town named Emmaus. One was named Cleopas, and some people believe the other person was his wife, whose name was Mary (John 19:25). Emmaus was about 7 miles away from Jerusalem. As they were walking down the road another man approached them and asked if He could walk with them. They agreed. He asked what they had been talking about and they told Him about Jesus and all that had taken place during the last week. They were surprised that He hadn’t heard about it. Then, they told Him that they had hoped that Jesus was the Messiah. But then, He had been crucified, and their hopes were dashed. It had been three days since that happened and now there were strange reports that He had been seen alive. They were totally confused. It just didn’t make sense.
Then the man began to explain to them that everything that had happened to Jesus was exactly as the Scriptures had said it would happen. When He explained it…it seemed to be so plain and simple. “Of course, that was it.” They walked and talked until they came to Emmaus. By that time, it was getting dark and they invited the man to spend the night at their home. When they sat down to eat supper, the man prayed and started to pass the food around the table. Suddenly…Cleopas and Mary couldn’t believe it…they recognized the man…it was Jesus. Until then…God had kept them from realizing that it was Him. But now, they knew it was Him. At that very moment, He disappeared…vanishing right before their eyes!
Quickly, they headed back to Jerusalem and found the other disciples. They told them what had happened and that Jesus had been with them. Then they said, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” They then explained the Scriptures to them…just as Jesus had explained it.
Someone has said that those two people had “holy heartburn”. When they listened to Jesus explain the true meaning of the Scriptures…it set their hearts on fire. Why? Because it made sense, they understood it…and it set their hearts on fire for God!
- They realized that God knew what was going to happen long before it ever happened…this was no surprise.
- They realized that nothing caught God off-guard and that in reality He was in control of everything that happened…this was no chance.
- They realized that if God could control those things…then He could control anything that happened in their lives…this was no mistake.
Those truths burned hot in their hearts…and it encouraged, and motivated, and set them on fire to be faithful followers of Jesus.
And that holy heartburn doesn’t stop with them. No! It continues with you and me. Every time that we read the Bible…the Holy Spirit explains it to us. He helps us to understand its meaning and how it applies in our lives. What difference it makes in us. He motivates us to be faithful followers of Jesus.
The words of men like Winston Churchill are powerful. They can give hope and courage to people. But at the end of the day…they are only the words of men. But the words of Jesus…are the words of God. The God Who knows all things. The God Who is in control of all things. And we can trust His words completely. Read your Bible. Study it. And as you do…listen with your heart for the Holy Spirit to speak to you. He will give you understanding, and insight, and wisdom, and direction…and holy heartburn!
Love you more than bunches and bunches,