In one of his first post resurrection appearances, Jesus walked with two disciples as they made their way to Emmaus. The story is recorded for us in Luke 24.
While he walked with them Jesus gave them a lecture on the Old Testament. As Luke records, “beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, he expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” I almost called it an impromptu lecture, but there was nothing unplanned or unrehearsed about it. Jesus, as the author of Scripture, showed them how the Old Testament pointed to him all throughout.
What jumps out at me this morning as I reflect on this passage is how the disciples responded to Jesus’ teaching. Luke quotes them as saying, “did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?”
Their hearts burned; they had a noticeable response to the Scriptures as they were opened to them. This prompts the thought that I should have higher expectations when I sit down to read my Bible.
I would think that most believers have had the experience of reading a passage of Scripture when it really seems to jump off the page and minister to the need at hand. We sometimes get glimpses of the holy heartburn that is mentioned in Luke 24.
But why is this not the typical case? Perhaps it is because we lose perspective of what we are reading and why we read it.
In the movie Shadowlands, starring Anthony Hopkins as C. S. Lewis, there is a line that I like. As I recall the scene, Lewis catches a student who is stealing books from the bookstore. When Lewis confronts the student, he offers the excuse of “at least I read them.” In further discussion, the student answers the question of why he reads the books, he responds, “I read to know I am not alone.”
Perhaps that is the best reason to read the Bible. We read it to know that we are not alone. We have a God who has written, is writing and will continue to write the story of how he will redeem a people from the mess around us. The exciting thing is that he chooses to involve us in the story.
We should be reading with expectation of learning how our involvement in the story will change us. We should be reading with expectation of learning the extent of God’s love for us. We should be reading with the expectation of getting a glimpse of what we will become when God finishes his work in us.
We should be reading with expectation of holy heartburn.