Encounter Jesus the Arsonist
Wonderful. Counselor. Mighty God. Everlasting Father. Prince of Peace. Grand Arsonist?
No. Jesus did not come to set fire to the Roman Empire. He was concerned with stoking the flames in our hearts. He does this by being Immanuel when we read God’s word.
This Advent season we have focused on what Immanuel, God with us, means for us. Immanuel means hope, peace, joy, and love. Jesus himself is Immanuel. As many of us embark on the journey of reading through the New Testament or the whole Bible this year, let us think once more about how Immanuel will enrich that time.
In Luke 24 we see a story that teaches us something about God with us. After Jesus has been raised from the dead, he approaches two disciples who were discussing the events surrounding his passion. Jesus goes on to interpret the Old Testament to the disciples, helping them make sense of why the Messiah was crucified. All the while, these men have no idea that it is Jesus himself who is speaking to them. Jesus vanishes and it dawns upon these men that they had just been reading Scripture and interpreting it with Jesus (Immanuel). “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”
We can learn at least two things from this story:
- We can only understand Scripture the way God intends us to when God opens our eyes. Therefore, we must diligently seek God in prayer as we read the Bible this year. We must ask him to open our eyes so that we may encounter Him.
- When we read God’s word God’s way and we encounter Jesus, we can expect our “hearts to burn within us”. This does not mean that your daily Bible reading is going to bring you to tears every time. It does mean, however, that you can expect that when you approach God’s word dependent on God for revelation and expectant to encounter Jesus, God will be stoking a fire in your heart.
Church, let Jesus, the grand arsonist, set our church aflame this year as we pursue God with Us in his Word.