I read in Proverbs how a culture would rejoice when the righteous increase but groan when the wicked rule (Prov. 29:2) and think to myself, really? Then I read in Isaiah 58 the LORD God’s take on the difference between fake fasting and real fasting. And it sounds a lot like you gotta perform before God will hear your prayers. So, I sit back and scratch my head. And then Hebrews tells me that my “struggle against sin” is for discipline and I need to endure because “God is treating you as sons”, so buck up and “lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees” (Heb. 12:4-7, 12). And I’m like, “What’s that about?”
This voice in my head, which is trying to process the hard things of Scripture, needs another voice to speak to my heart to provide understanding. And it’s something I read in Luke 24 this morning that reminds me I need an interpreter.
And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
(Luke 24:27 ESV)
It’s a story made for the imagination (Lk. 24:13-35). Two dejected followers of Jesus heading out of Jerusalem and home to Emmaus. The One who they thought might be the Messiah, “a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people”, had been delivered up by their religious leaders to be condemned to death and crucified. And though there were reports of an empty tomb and a risen Christ as they left Jerusalem that day, their hope is all but gone that He would be “the one to redeem Israel.” Then Jesus Himself joins them on the road and walks with them. Though, writes Luke, “their eyes were kept from recognizing Him.” And so, they chat.
These disciples try and make sense of what has happened over the past several days in Jerusalem, He patiently waits to make Himself known to them. And the pre-work for opening their eyes and hearts to see Him? “All the Scriptures.” He begins at the beginning and ends at the end and shows them that Christ had to suffer before entering into His glory. He interpreted to them . . . the things concerning Himself.
I read this, pause, and think to myself, “Self, He did it then; He’s still doing it now.”
No. He’s not here in the room beside me. But He’s here in the room within me. And, just like those confused disciples traveling the road to Emmaus, I need Him to reveal Himself and His ways through the Scriptures.
I need Him to make sense of a culture which calls good evil and evil good and seems to care less when the wicked rule. I need Him to reconcile saving grace with required works before prayers are heard. I need Him to help my heart understand how my struggle against sin is not to add to my shame but is evidence of His on-going salvation, as a loving Father disciplines me through all-manner of hardship to produce in me the everlasting fruit of righteousness. I need an Interpreter.
This morning, I’m reminded that I have an Interpreter.
“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you. . . . When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
(John 16:7, 13-14 ESV)
He will take what is mine and declare it to you. The Spirit of God will open your understanding of the word of God which is about the Son of God and give insight to those who are the children of God.
Every morning I open my Bible, I’m on the road to Emmaus. Whatever questions, concerns, confusions I have, He engages in the conversation. Not saying that every morning there’s always clarity, or clear-cut answers, but there is an awareness of communion.
And so, we continue the conversation. A pondering pilgrim listening for the voice of His patient Lord. The heart hearing Him by His ever-present Spirit.
By His grace. For His glory.