Luke 24:44 Then (Jesus) said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
It’s clear that, despite Jesus’ repeated explanations, his disciples still did not understand what was happening. It wasn’t until Jesus “opened their minds to understand the scriptures” that they began to make sense of what Jesus had been trying to tell them for some time via the teaching of scripture. Yes he would die, but he would rise again.
I remember the first time I tried to read scripture in any systematic way. I was a college senior, in my early 20s. Parts of the bible, like the gospel accounts of Jesus, were easier to read, even if it didn’t all make sense. Much of the rest of scripture was a complete mystery. More often than not I was left thinking – huh? Bizarre. Unintelligible. Like reading another language. Maybe you’ve had that experience as well.
But what I found was that the more effort I put into reading and learning scripture the more things made sense. Part of that is simple familiarity. When you read something over and over you get a feel for what it’s trying to say. But I also believe the Lord honors the honest effort we put into the process. The disciples in our passage had committed their entire lives to Jesus. Now that he was leaving, Jesus extended to them grace to understand scripture. Understanding was a gift given in the context of great commitment.
If you’ve been trying to read and understand scripture, stay with it. As I do. I’ve been at this for many years now and still read things I don’t understand. But little by little the Lord honors our desire, our humility, our commitment to know the Lord through his word. Don’t give up!
Lord, open our minds to understand the scriptures. Give us grace to read and apply your holy word. Amen.