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Luke 24 paints a vibrant picture of events following the resurrection of Christ. In this passage, we find a couple of men walking along a road talking about the events of the past weekend.
The crucifixion was horrible, and yet the resurrection was unbelievable. How preposterous to think that the dead Christ had risen. These men had followed Christ and heard him teach. In one sense, we might say they were believers; yet not in the inner circle of the close disciples.
A third man joined them, and he asked them to tell them the events of the past few days. They practically made fun of the guy for being uniformed. Entering the next town at evening, they encouraged him to eat with him. As he ate and broke bread, they realized that he was Jesus. Looking back at the encounter, they said: "So they said to each other, 'Weren’t our hearts ablaze within us while he was talking with us on the road and explaining the Scriptures to us?'” (Luke 24:32)
Christ was still speaking and teaching with authority. The post-resurrection Christ was still changing lives.
The events that followed the next several weeks for the followers of Christ were phenomenal. They saw Christ in person, saw him ascend into heaven. They then gathered and worshiped together. The early church grew. The disciples preached and taught. Scriptures teach that many were added to their number daily. The church was off to a great start. People cared about and for each other. The sense of belonging and family for the post resurrection believers was a key part of the growth of the family. People wanted to be a Christ follower because they truly cared for one another. They followed the example of Christ with loving and caring. Today, we are challenged as believers to do the same. We must be about developing wholesome relationships and caring for others.
The early Christians set a great example for us. They were loving, caring and met together to study and come closer to God. We, too, are and can be post-resurrection believers in Christ. We must be about the same things the initial church was.
When I think about my routine of daily living, I think that I have missed a couple of essential points. The first point is that my focus in everyday living must be that of honoring God as I care for others. The caring of Christ must always shine through in my daily living. It takes a little time to communicate caring to people, yet that is the desire of Christ for all believers. The second point I seem to miss on a regular basis is that of teaching others about God. This is far beyond preaching. In every encounter I have with people, I need to share a bit of God with them. This is the life-changing power of God that comes from his word. God, through Christ, was in the business of the changing lives in the early church and he is today. Every believer in Christ is a post-resurrection Christian.
The phrase “Weren’t our hearts ablaze within us?” (found in Luke 24:32) has captivated my imagination. The burning of a person’s heart may come from over eating. Is it possible to have so much of Christ in my heart that it truly burns? The imagery here is for you and me to be so intensely focused on Christ that we feel him inside of us. The original post-resurrection believers had the blazing passion in their hearts. They experienced a life-changing God. They sold out to him, and we are the result of the passion.
We, too, must have the same blazing hearts to change our society. I am convinced that the transformation of our society and world can only come through the life change of a blazing relationship with Christ.
Christ is still in the business of changing lives. Jesus said in John 10:10: "A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life, and have it in abundance." Jesus contrasts himself to a thief. Thieves are up to no good, taking what is not theirs by force or deceit. Yet Jesus says his mission on earth and in heaven is different. His mission is to give us life – and life in abundance.
I think that this first addresses our spiritual life. That is what he first wants to give us, a life with Christ that is a life changer. Secondly, Jesus comes to change our life from one of poverty to abundance. His view of abundance begins with spiritual freedom of soul and heart. Jesus then works his life-changing attitudes into every part of our life. Abundance comes from our relationship with Christ. He changes us not into a financially abundant person, but into a person who can be content in life and look at life through the lens of Christ.
The burning heart that may still be felt today is that of Christ within us. Many who profess belief in Christ are torn between wholeheartedly following God and taking the minimal effort of investing in God.
Christ demands, woos and pleads with us to live life with him to the fullest.