The Two Disciples’ Heart Burning Experience

(Luke 24:13-35)

By Rev. Dr. Sergio E. Arevalo, Jr.

Eagle Rock Lutheran Church

Los Angeles, Ca

May 04, 2014, (3rd Sunday of Easter)

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Introduction

Have you heard the phrase “strange heartwarming experience” of John Wesley?

Wesley was the founder of Methodism, and Methodism brought millions of people to Christ. John Wesley did not start as a powerful Christian leader. He was just a regular Christian like us, although he entered the pastorate like his father.

He was zealous in his religion, but later on like a candle he experienced burnt out in his religion. He was in despair and wanted to quit preaching, but one day, he had a “born again” experience.

In his journal, Wesley wrote the following, “In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”

As time went on, Wesley was mightily used of the Lord to reform his country, England. His converts became a national force. Wesley rode thousands of miles (as many as 20,000 a year) preaching the gospel to all who would listen. He acted “as though he were out of breath in pursuit of souls.”

Wherever he preached, lives changed and manners and morals altered for the better. It is often conjectured that his preaching helped spare England the kind of revolution that occurred in France (christianity.com, ccel.org).

The popular “heart strangely warming” experience of John Wesley was also felt by the two disciples in our passage (Luke 24:32)–an unknown disciple and Cleopas or Alphaeus. John Gill says, he was one of the seventy disciples, and father of the Apostles James and Jude, and brother to Joseph, the husband of Mary, the mother of Christ (John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible).

In our passage, while the two disciples were walking towards the village Emmaus, Jesus did butt in to join in their walk, and talk. While they were talking the two disciples felt their hearts strangely warmed (Wesley) or their hearts were burning (Two disciples).

They felt . . .

I. Heart Burning While Walking With Jesus.

1. The two disciples were blinded from knowing Jesus. The RSV says, “Their eyes were kept from recognizing him (Jesus).” Although they were blinded from recognition, they did feel the heart-warming experience while they were walking on the way to Emmaus.walking with Jesus

When was the last time that we felt the presence of Jesus when we were walking? Do we feel God’s presence when we are dealing with our fellow workers, fellow students, family members and friends? Or do we light up the presence of God when we are dealing with people? Do they see in our values and actions the presence of God?

Long time ago, when I was evangelizing the communities in Cabiao, Nueva Ecija in the Philippines, I have had this feeling of “heartwarming.” One time I told to young people about my strange feelings that when I did feel the heart warming, I knew that a lot of audience in our outreach Bible studies, and when I didn’t feel it, I was so sure that our Bible study had few attendance. Since my young people knew it, every time we went to our outreach they did ask me if we were going to meet a lot of people or not. You might say it’s weird, but I know it was “strange heartwarming.” It was heartwarming experience when I was working with Lord through evangelism.

Do we feel the presence of God when we are serving our church? When we are inside the church listening to God’s message? When we listen to music and songs? Do we feel his presence when we help people in need? Do we feel the presence of God when we cook, clean, wash dishes, vacuum or mop the floor of our church?

The two disciples felt. . .

II. Heart Burning While Talking With Jesus.

Although the disciples were blinded from recognition, they did feel the heart-warming experience while they were talking with Jesus. One disciple said, “Our hearts kept burning within us as he was talking to us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us, didn’t they?” (24:32).talkingwithjesus1

When was the last time that we felt the presence of God when we were sharing the gospel, when we were talking about Jesus to our family and friends? Do we feel the presence of God when we talk behind our church members, our enemies and friends? Do we practice daily talking to God through prayers?

The two disciples felt . . .

III. Heart Burning While Listening With Jesus.

Although the disciples were blinded from recognition, they did feel the heart-warming experience while they were listening with Jesus. Indeed they listened attentively.

President Franklin Roosevelt always complained that no one really paid any attention to what was he said. One day, during a reception in the White House, he decided to try an experiment.

To each person who passed down the line, and shook his hand, he murmured, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.”

The guests responded with phrases like, “Marvelous! Keep up the good work. We are proud of you. God bless you, sir.”

It was not till the end of the line, while greeting the ambassador from Bolivia, that his words were actually heard. Immediately the ambassador leaned over and whispered, “I’m sure she had it coming” (sermonillustrations.com).

franklinroosevelt2Out of many guests, only one paid attention to his trial statement. Only one listened to him. How many of us listen to God when he speaks to us?

Although the disciples were blinded from recognition, they did feel the heart-warming experience while they were listening with Jesus. Indeed they listened attentively.

When was the last time that we listened to Jesus when we were praying, when we were reading the Bible? Do we listen to God when we do our plans? Do we listen to God when we have some challenges, and problems? Are we humble enough to listen to God through people around us? Do you know that God can speak through people around us? Read Matthew 25:31-46 and we will learn something.

One time a Christian radio station received a phone call from an elderly homeless woman. A lot of Christians were listening on that program, including a member of satanic cult. The old woman was asking for help since for long time she had no work, no food and no shelter.

The satanic cult member got an idea on how to sow evil to that old woman. He sent his secretary to send food and clothes, and commanded her that if she asks who send the food and clothes tell her that they are sent by the evil one.

The day has come, and the secretary gave all the food and clothes to the old woman. The old woman just said, “Thank you.” The secretary said, “Wait! Are you not asking who gave you these food and clothes?”  The woman replied, “What for? I know they are coming from the Lord, I know when the Lord speaks, even the evil one listens.”

          How to listen to Jesus?

(1) Through reading our Bible (Old and New Testaments). Jesus interpreted to the two disciples the things about himself in all the scriptures (Moses and all the Prophets). Some of us do not want to read the Old Testament, but they are also saying about the Lord. Jesus used them to interpret about his life and missions. How many of us read our Bible daily? When we miss our meals, we become sick and “hangry” (angry due to hunger). When we miss reading his Word, are we not hungry spiritually?

(2) Through listening in prayers. Most of the time we fill our prayers with requests and pleadings. We forget to stop in requesting, and listen to God. Remember, prayer is communication with God. Communication includes listening, and knowing other party’s ideas and will. In prayer, have a pause and ask God, “Lord, what’s your will for me today?”

(3) Through observing and helping people around us. Matthew 25:31-46 gives us an idea that when we help other people in need, we do that to Jesus. In other words, when we help we do communicate with Jesus that we love him. When we help other people I am sure you will feel the presence of God and even goose bumps!

Conclusion

The Apostle Paul says that Christ dwells in our heart through faith, and when he is there faith and love will be rooted and grounded, and we will grow in God’s wisdom (Eph.3:17).We need wisdom to light up Jesus around us. We need faith and love to walk for the Lord. We need faith and love to talk for the Lord. We need faith and love to listen to the Lord. We need faith and love to do the will of God.martinluther1

A significant and often overlooked way that we serve God is in our everyday tasks. Martin Luther understood this when he wrote, “The maid who sweeps her kitchen is doing the will of God just as much as the monk who prays — not because she may sing a Christian hymn as she sweeps but because God loves clean floors. The Christian shoemaker does his Christian duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because God is interested in good craftsmanship.”

C.S. Lewis once said, “The work of a Beethoven, and the work of a maid, become spiritual on precisely the same condition, that of being offered to God, of being done humbly ‘as to the Lord.’ This does not, of course, mean that it is for anyone a mere toss-up whether he should sweep rooms or compose symphonies. A mole must dig to the glory of God and a cock must crow” (sermonillustrations.com).

In other words, whatever is our work or service inside the church or even in our places of work, if they are done with humility, love and faith in God, we are glorifying God and the presence of God is with us.

 

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