Most of us are familiar with the experience of having had too much of a good thing. That salsa loaded with hot peppers was a bit much with those nachos, but while it tasted good going down, our stomachs were in rebellion. I have no idea why it’s called heartburn, since my stomach is the only thing on fire. My heart felt just fine.
Well this heartburn isn’t caused by eating too much spicy food, rather this heart burn can only be experienced when we’re listening to Jesus speak to our hearts about who He is. Whenever we set time apart to be alone with Him and His Word, and the Holy Spirit begins to open our hearts and minds to see His Truths, our hearts do burn. It burns with a desire to learn more about Him. A similar situation occurred after Jesus’ resurrection. It was a very sad time for His followers. Their hope for deliverance and change, it seemed, had been dashed by the crucifixion of their beloved leader.
It was now three days since His death and burial. Mary had seen Him. Peter and John had seen the empty tomb, but except for Mary’s testimony, and the other women with her, no one else had seen Him physically. Then this happened.
“That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus Himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognizing Him. He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?” They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.” “What things?” Jesus asked. “The things that happened to Jesus, the man from Nazareth,” they said. “He was a prophet who did powerful miracles, and He was a mighty teacher in the eyes of God and all the people. But our leading priests and other religious leaders handed Him over to be condemned to death, and they crucified Him. We had hoped He was the Messiah who had come to rescue Israel. This all happened three days ago. “Then some women from our group of His followers were at His tomb early this morning, and they came back with an amazing report. They said His body was missing, and they had seen angels who told them Jesus is alive! Some of our men ran out to see, and sure enough, His body was gone, just as the women had said.” Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering His glory?” Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on, but they begged Him, “Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.” So He went home with them. As they sat down to eat, He took the bread and blessed it. Then He broke it and gave it to them. Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him. And at that moment He disappeared! They said to each other, “Didn't our hearts burn within us as He talked with us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?”
Luke 24:13-32 NLT
Their hearts were burning as He walked and talked with them. The more He explained the prophetic words that had been written concerning Him, the more their hearts burned. Yet they didn’t recognize Him. I have no idea why the Lord kept them from knowing that it was the risen Jesus. But it did reveal that there was a level of unbelief taking place in their hearts. In order to recognize Jesus for who He is, it requires that we have believing faith. Hebrews 11:6.
When Jesus enquired as to their discussion, their answer gave way to the doubt that was in their hearts. They said “we had hoped He was the messiah who had come to rescue Israel.” Unbelief will blind us to recognizing who He is, even though He’s walking and talking with us. If their hearts were burning, weren’t they a little bit curious when He began to open up the scriptures to them? He was sharing things they should’ve known. Their grief coupled with disappointment and doubt, prevented them from recognizing Him. It wasn’t until He did something they were familiar with, that the scales fell off of their eyes.
At their invitation, He went home with them. He had given them a history lesson while they walked, but only as He blessed and broke the bread, and served them, did they recognize Him leading them to exclaim, “That’s why we had heart burn!” A seven mile walk with the resurrected Word must’ve felt like seven minutes. Wow! The more He taught the more their hearts burned. But not enough for them to even ask His Name. Sometimes we can stare the answer to our needs in the face and not recognize Him. I praise Jesus that He never leaves us in the dark about who He is. His desire for us to know Him, exceeds our willingness to accept by faith alone what the Bible teaches us about Him.
He challenged their unbelief by opening up the scriptures to them. Reminding them of the things that had been written, but also of the things He had told them, leading up to His death. The problem Jesus had then and now is, Christians not believing His Words. For our hearts to burn, we need to take Him at His Word. Believing is key to recognizing Him. Our faith won’t be shaken by bad news or evil attacks of the enemy. Our foundation and confidence are firmly established in Biblical truths. We can stand on His every word. Jesus has a way of making our hearts burn through recognition of who He is.
Ready for the great reveal? It’s the BIBLE! We will never recognize Him without the scriptures. That’s what He chose to use on that road to Emmaus. You can find Him on every page. He cannot be found independently of His Word. John the apostle introduced Him in this way.
“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through Him, and nothing was created except through Him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”
John 1:1-5 NLT
The men identified as followers of Jesus may have known about Him, but they didn’t know Him, until their eyes were opened. That’s when they discovered the reason for their heart burn. The same is true of us. Our hearts will burn as we get a revelation of who He is. Only He won’t disappear when we do, His Holy Spirit will remain to open our eyes to see Him in the written Word. The more we believe in who He is, the more we grow in our fellowship with Him, the more intense our heart burn. Take a walk with Him. A Bible walk, discover the resurrected Jesus on your Emmaeus road.
Heart burn anyone? Jesus, the Word is the TUMS.
Holy Father in Jesus Name start a fire in me! Let my heart burn from the revelation of You. Fan the embers into a flame, a flame of passion and desire for more of Your Word. May I search for You with abandonment, never allowing anything or anyone to distract me . May I never mistake you for a stranger, knowing about You, but not knowing You. Give me a heart burning encounter once again. In Your precious Name.🙏
Written by permission of the Holy Spirit