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Did Not Our Hearts Burn Within Us?

How many of us recognize the words of the title?.

I have often wondered what it must have been like for those who heard Jesus preach directly to them. Their hearts must have burned within them as the Holy Spirit used the Savior’s own words to create and sustain faith.

As the risen Savior joined them on a walk to Emmaus, Cleopas and a friend had this amazing opportunity. Jesus asked them what made them sad. They told Him that “He who was to redeem Israel” had been crucified.

They were disillusioned because Jesus had yet to be seen after three days in the grave. Jesus rebuked them as “foolish” and “slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets had spoken.” He then went on to chronicle how the prophecies of the Old Testament had been fulfilled in Him.

Imagine God Himself as your teacher! Surely there was power in Jesus’ preaching!

Are we jealous of such an opportunity to hear our Savior speak? We have no need to be, for Jesus speaks directly to us too. His words to the Emmaus disciples are no more powerful and effective than the other words recorded in Holy Scripture are for us today. “Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). Likewise, St. Paul points out to the Corinthians: “…We also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches” (1 Corinthians 2:1)!

There are those who would have us believe that direct revelation in Biblical times is in some way more authentic and powerful than what is recorded in Holy Scripture. Others suggest that direct revelation today supersedes anything recorded in the Bible.

God’s Word does not teach that! God’s Word and the gospel remain “the power of God to salvation
to everyone who believes”
(Romans 1:16)!

Jesus is in our living room when His Word is spoken. “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20).

Jesus is in the church pulpit when the pastor proclaims God’s holy Word, for Jesus said, “He who hears you hears Me…” (Luke 10:16).

It is also important for us to remember that Jesus and His Word were rejected by the majority of  the people to whom He spoke. So it will be with us when we proclaim His truth. “For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it” (Matthew 7:13). “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14).

It is tempting to tell people what they want to hear—if only to avoid confrontation; but if it is only man’s wisdom being presented and not God’s, it will do them no spiritual good. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).

As this month we again celebrate the Lutheran Reformation, it is important that God’s Word “burned in the heart” of Martin Luther, for he relied on the Bible alone (Sola Scriptura!) as the source
of truth.

The Roman church at Luther’s time—and still today!—believes that religious truth can be found outside of Scripture; the Roman church teaches that the pope and church councils could establish doctrine in addition to or even contrary to Scripture.

May God grant that the Word of God ever “burn in our hearts.” Through His Spirit may He give us the courage to confess with Luther: “Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen!”

Preserve Thy Word and preaching,
The truth that makes us whole,
The mirror of Thy glory,
The power that saves the soul.
Oh, may this living water,
This dew of heavenly grace,
Sustain us while here living
Until we see Thy face!
(TLH #264:5)