Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Forty Days Opening Their Understanding

And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. (Luke 24:45)
Jesus had been with the disciples for three years, living with them, leading them, teaching them, ministering with them, even sending them out to do the work of the ministry. But for some reason, they still just did not get it. Even His death and resurrection came as a surprise to them, though Jesus had foretold them of these things more than once.
Now He suddenly appeared before them, inviting them to touch His hands and feet. This was no ghost they were dealing with. This was flesh and blood — Jesus in His resurrection. After eating some broiled fish and honeycomb, He said,
These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me. (Luke 24:44)
Luke’s comment at this point is, “And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.” The Greek word for “opened” means to open thoroughly. The word for “understanding” is the word for “mind.” Jesus thoroughly opened their minds. There were now no obstructions to impede their understanding of these things. It had been in the Law and the Prophets and the Psalms all along, they just never understood it before. To be fair, we should recognize the truth of what Paul said,
For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. (2 Corinthians 2:11-12)
We have been conditioned by the world too much to recognize spiritual realities. The spirit of the world can never understand these things, they must be revealed to us by the Spirit of God. That is what happened with the disciples: Jesus caused them to “comprehend.” The Greek word means to “put together.” They were now able to add up all that Jesus had taught them and all the Scriptures had taught them and bring it all together into one magnificent picture. Jesus continued:
Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high. (Luke 24:46-49)
Now they got it. It was all making sense for them as it never had before. But there was more. They were about to receive the “Promise of the Father,” power from heaven. This was the promise of the Holy Spirit, who came upon them at Pentecost! Now they would be able to take this glorious portrait of Jesus and present it to the nations in a living and powerful way.

By His Spirit, God opens our understanding to comprehend that the Scriptures, the witness of God’s eternal plan and redemptive purpose for all the nations of the world, all comes together in the Lord Jesus Christ.