Open the Eyes of My Heart

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Text: Luke 24:13-32; Eph 1:18

Introduction: The Knowing Heart

  • Breakfast with a minister whose heart was downcast because of the shallow reality of successful big church dynamics.
    • It all seemed divorced & distant from what he read in Scripture.
  • In the Bible, the heart is understood as the very center of who a person is and what they do. Our hearts determine our thinking, feeling, & willing.
    • The Hebrews thought of the whole human being and personality with all its physical, intellectual, and psychological attributes when they used “heart.” It was considered the governing center for all of these. It is the heart (the core) which makes and identifies the person (Prov. 4:23). Character, personality, will, and mind are modern terms which all reflect something of the meaning of “heart” in its biblical usage.[1]

Explore the Text:

Sad and Downcast Hearts: Luke 24:13-18 (The Problem)

  • Two disciples walk and talk together.
  • A conversation of disappointment and discouragement: Jesus is dead.
    • They heard reports about an empty tomb.
    • The women brought the report and it made no sense to them.
    • We do not know what they thought happened to his body.
    • Their conversation reinforced their shared despair.
  • The risen Jesus joins them, but they are kept from recognizing him.
    • A face I should recognize but fail to perceive as a person I know.
    • Does the Spirit keep them from recognizing him because they need to listen to what he is going to say about the meaning of Scripture?

Slow and Foolish Hearts: Luke 24:19-25 (The Diagnosis)

  • They view this stranger as ignorant & unenlightened.
  • Jesus begins to work with them to change their hearts and minds.
    • He asks them to tell him what they believe happened in Jerusalem.
  • For most people, the idea of Jesus being crucified is not a difficult idea, but the idea of resurrection seems an impossibility.
    • Empirical Realism! A body decays & the soul departs. It may go somewhere, but bodily life is over.
  • What you believe about Jesus can blind you to knowing him as he is.
    • Blinded by Misunderstanding: Have you ever met someone whose mind was so full of gossip about you that they could not see you?
    • Deconstructing and recreating Jesus. Many pick and choose what they can easily believe about Jesus and leave the rest behind.
  • Jesus’ stunning spiritual diagnosis: How foolish you are & slow to believe the prophets.
    • I wonder how they heard those words!!!

Burning and Desiring Hearts: Luke 24:26-29, 32 (The Treatment)

  • Jesus now deals with the cause of their spiritual depression: they are familiar with the scriptures, but their understanding is distorted.
    • They have been trained by their religious culture how to think about God, the Messiah, & the hope for the future of Israel.
    • Their beliefs, understanding, and hopes collapsed at the cross.
  • The solution: Jesus teaches them about the true meaning of the Hebrew Scriptures that were fulfilled in and through the cross.
    • He does not give them a short, motivational pep talk.
    • He provided a careful exposition of scripture that required their close attention to correct their deep beliefs.
  • Key Point: He addresses their minds to transform their hearts.
    • They are fascinated by what he is teaching them, and their hearts are burning as he opens the scriptures to them. (24:32)
    • When they reach their village, they invite Jesus to stay with them because it is nearly night. They desire to know more.

Enlightened and Joyful Hearts: Luke 24:30-31, 33-35 (The Result)

  • As Jesus breaks & blesses the bread at the table, their eyes are opened.
    • They suddenly perceive the risen Jesus, the one they thought was dead and whose body had been reported missing.
    • He Really is Risen! They have spent their journey in the presence of a new reality, a new kind of person!
  • Suddenly he disappears! There are differences in the risen Jesus!
    • The moment of spiritual awakening is not the end, rather it is a new beginning that leads to unexpected thoughts & actions.
    • This new reality will work in every direction to transform their understanding of Jesus and the meaning and purpose of life.
    • A deep heart-change will not leave any thought untouched.
  • Their burning hearts are filled with joy as they run back to Jerusalem at night as convicted witnesses to the reality of the risen Jesus.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know. Eph 1:18 (The Prayer)

  • Paul writes to people who have faith in Jesus and love for his people, but he wants them to discover the depths of all we have in Christ.
    • In Ephesians 4, Paul expects his readers to grow & mature in every way in their relationship with Jesus and with one another.
  • If God answers Paul’s prayer in our lives, there will be a radical transformation in us that will startle us and those who know us.
    • Many hold precious in their hearts old patterns of thought & action that we were trained to have. Are we willing to let go?
    • Michael’s story of Maddie grasping her own hair & crying because it hurt so much. She refused to let go and held on with closed fists, crying even louder! Michel had to release those clinging fingers.

Lord’s Supper:

  • Allow this story and prayer to focus our time together as we celebrate the Lord’s Supper together as a family.
  • Sing Open the Eyes of my Heart as we break bread in the presence of the risen Jesus.

Invitation: The heart & Jesus’ parable of the four soils. Lk. 8: 4-15

  • We have different kinds of people here today:
  • Some with hardened hearts so resistant that no seed can take root unless the Spirit of God softens your heart of stone.
  • Some whose belief in Jesus has withered because its shallow roots were unable to endure the storms of suffering.
  • Some whose belief is choking because of the thorns of life’s worries, riches, and pleasures that continue to cause hinder growth towards maturity.
  • For some, the word has taken root and is flourishing. God wants you to continue to draw close to His heart, to know him, and to bear fruit through faithful perseverance.

Texts: Please Read the Entirety of Luke 24 for More Insight

Luke 24:13-35 (NIV) 13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him. 17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

19 “What things?” he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.” 25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!

26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. 28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” 33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

Ephesians 1:17-20 (NIV) 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,

[1] Walker, L. L. (2000). Heart. In D. N. Freedman, A. C. Myers, & A. B. Beck (Eds.), Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible (p. 563). W.B. Eerdmans.