II Samuel 1,2 Luke 24:36-53
‘Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures” Luke 24:45
I looked forward to the weekend. It had been a particularly busy time in the church. My wife was out of town on a speaking engagement leaving me to fend for myself. I had a strategy. I planned to lock myself in my office, away from any distractions. It was to be my time alone with God. With my Bible in hand and some other good reading material I closed the door, and with a sigh of relief, sat down for my own personal retreat. You know how it is, there are those times when you feel like, “I deserve this.”
I had forgotten one important thing, the telephone. I had failed to shut it off. As you might predict, it happened, the phone rang. I have never been one who could just let a phone ring. Who knows, it might be an emergency. The voice on the other end of the line was a bit desperate. “Sir, I know you don’t know me, but I am stranded here in South Bend. I need a ride. I have identification. I would really appreciate your help.”
I couldn’t help but wonder how in a large town like South Bend, Indiana, he happened to choose our church to call. Following a string of excuses as to why I couldn’t, I gave up. Traveling across the city, I groveled in self pity, thinking that this is the price one pays for being a servant.
There he was, just where he said he would be. In one hand he carried a duffle bag; in the other, a somewhat tattered Bible. Josh went out of his way in expressing appreciation for my good deed. For me, it felt like this would be a journey of mild resentment for this kid who couldn’t find his own way in the world.
Entering the Indiana toll road, the conversation began, one sided that is. Josh began sharing his life and testimony with me. I learned that he was a Jewish boy who had fallen into friendship with a group of Christians. Through study of the Scriptures, Josh became convinced that Jesus was the Messiah, the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. Readily, Josh had turned his life over to Jesus the Messiah.
My spirit lightened as I listened to this excited follower of Jesus express his love for his Bible. I began to re-interpret this invasion of my private space as a kind of personal seminar on what it means to discover Jesus in the Scriptures.
Before I knew it, ninety miles had been spent in this new “foisted upon me” friendship. The final exit was just ahead. I pulled off and stopped. Thanking me profusely, Josh left my car and went on his way.
Heading back home, I mused, “I wonder if Josh thought I was an angel.” Quietly, the Spirit whispered, “Josh was the angel.” Unquenchable tears flowed as I continued that journey back to what I had thought was a well deserved time alone. Conviction mounted as I contemplated the power of loving and understanding the Scriptures. I found myself wanting to study more, to know more, to be fruitful in ministry.
I find it interesting that Jesus closes his discourse with the apostles by opening their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. It has been said, “Christianity is a thinking person’s religion.” Jesus didn’t open their emotions so they could understand. He opened their minds.
Included in the greatest commandment is this one, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your MIND.” (Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27)
Reflecting on this vignette from my life prompts me to keep opening my Bible. I encourage you to do the same.
Read it! Love it! Live it!
Timothy was taught by Paul to “study yourself to be approved to God…”