44 Jesus said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you. Everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms must come true.” 45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written. The Messiah will suffer. He will rise from the dead on the third day. 47 His followers will preach in his name. They will tell others to turn away from their sins and be forgiven. People from every nation will hear it, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You have seen these things with your own eyes. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised. But for now, stay in the city. Stay there until you have received power from heaven.” 50 Jesus led his disciples out to the area near Bethany. Then he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them. He was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshiped him. With great joy, they returned to Jerusalem. 53 Every day they went to the temple, praising God.
Jesus last words, last instructions and also his last gift (at least while on earth), “Then he opened their minds to understand”.
I could stop right here and simply pray, “Jesus, open my mind, so that I can understand the scriptures”.
But this short sentence reveals to me the reason why so many people can read the bible and not understand what it is saying. Unless God himself opens our minds we will not be able to understand what is written.
You may have shared an all to familiar experience of reading a passage from the bible, probably for the 100th time, when suddenly, it is as though a veil was pulled away, it is as if you are reading it for the first time. In this moment, knowledge becomes revelation by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, God who now dwells in us, speaks to us through the Word, and the Word becomes alive to us.
I have heard of atheists who have Doctorates in Divinity and wondered how is that possible? It is possible, when the reader searches for knowledge and not the author. I have been frustrated when people read the bible and “don’t get it”. There are times when I just don’t get it. I wonder if Jesus, in his humanity ever cried out to his Heavenly Father with the same question, why dont they get it?
But here in this simple sentence, we have the answer, and for the disciples, this was the time when God opened their minds to understand.
And their response to this revelation? V52, So they worshiped him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy. And they spent all of their time in the Temple, praising God.
Our response will be the same, one of worship and great joy.
So my prayer today is not just for myself or for you, but for those we are witnessing to and for everyone who reads the Word, “Father, open our minds to understand, and give to us revelation” Amen.
Written by Andrew Martin