AND HE OPENED

(Luke 18:31, NKJV) Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished. (32) For He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon. (33) They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again." (34) But they understood none of these things; this saying was hidden from them, and they did not know the things which were spoken.

(Luke 24:44, NKJV) Then He said to them, "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." (45) And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. (46) Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, (47) "and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (48) "And you are witnesses of these things. (49) "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." (50) And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. (51) Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. (52) And they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, (53) and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.

Reading these passages many times, over nearly twenty years as a believer, I have constantly missed a very important message. A message that only faith can prove. As you read this, prayerfully consider that we are taught by The Holy Spirit those things that are God’s special messages to His children.

We are constantly working with all our effort (or at least some effort), to comprehend the messages of God to us. The apostles walked and talked and ate, and slept and had their being with Jesus for about three years. Here, in their midst, was the Living God, made flesh, and interacting with them. He taught them, counseled them, encouraged them , exhorted them, and perplexed them. When the end came for Him to be with them in the flesh, they knew Him but didn’t know Him. They were not yet of Him even though they had tried and tried to be with Him.

In this last encounter with the earthly walking Jesus, Jesus gives them a very special gift. A piece by piece study of this passage will develop a flavor of this wonderful gift Jesus gave to them and gives to us who persevere in our believing and behold Him.

"These are the words I spoke to you while I was still with you..." Jesus was setting up to reiterate truth He had already spoken and what had been spoken of Him from the Hebrew Scripture. These were not new words but the apostles had not understood what the words said. "...that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me." Jesus had taught from and lived from these scriptures all His life and in an especially noticeable way for the three years. He walked with the apostles and walked and spoke most notably in the days previous to His crucifixion. There could be not doubt that God had spoken in the scriptures of the Messiah, all of Israel believed that to one degree or the other. Jesus showed them that He actually lived the words recorded in the Law, Prophets and Psalms. I can imagine the apostles now leaning with open ears toward Him as He talked and with expectancy because no one had ever seen or heard a resurrected man before.

"And..." There is an additional act coming. "...He..." Jesus is the He here. This is His sovereign additional act. "...opened..." Jesus made something that was closed open. He did this as an additional act in those men who had followed as closely as they could for three years. What did Jesus open? "...their understanding,..." that part they were not using in their getting to know Jesus. Something that was deeper than just intellect. Something more refined than intuition. Something less used than just thinking about things. Something we cannot open. Something that we are no even aware of unless someone else points it out. Jesus pointed it out for them.

Why? What for? How come? "...that they might comprehend the Scriptures." It is like He turned on the light for them. He turned on the light in them so that they could know Him in their inner being and not just with the natural senses designed for this temporal world. He opened another part of faith in them so that they could be one with Our Father as He is one. This would open understanding well beyond the wisdom of men.

The apostles were apparently not comprehending the scriptures. How could they not be comprehending the scriptures? They were with Jesus constantly, they saw Him minister, they saw Him heal, they heard Him preach, they saw the miracles, they saw him contest the powers of Judaism, they saw him captured, tried, scourged, slapped, spit upon, condemned, and hung on the cross. How could they not comprehend the scriptures? There was something about them or in them that was not in order yet. When Jesus opened their understanding, they comprehended immediately - they came into order.

Look at your own understanding of the scriptures and the see if you really get the full measure of what is there. You may search and stretch and chew and struggle with it and still not know if you are understanding it all. There is one sure way to know. Does reading the scripture tell you more about the truth so that truth becomes life in you? Are you changed? Does the scripture seem to open another dimension of understanding that takes charge of your being and you will not give up what you now believe? Does it seem to just make absolute sense and you are not sure why? If the scripture does not seem to open up, it is time to submit your understanding to Jesus for opening. This is not easy so don’t try to open your own understanding, you cannot. Ask God to show you what is needed. Pray The Father, in the name of Jesus through the Holy Spirit, to open your understanding to behold Jesus, The Truth made manifest in the flesh for our redemption.

Jesus went on after opening their understanding to say, "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." Does that make sense to you? Word for word, line by line, precept upon precept? Struggle with it. These are His parting commands prior to His ascension. They are important words, not just a "Good bye."

Behold Him and see Him open your understanding to the fullness of the scripture.