Luke 24:44 Then (Jesus said to his disciples after his resurrection from the dead), “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.
V.45 got my attention this morning. Jesus had told his disciples he would die but then be raised up again. And that such was necessary to fulfill the word of God in the prophets. Yet even after he rose from the dead and appeared to them in person they did not comprehend. And so we are told that Jesus “opened their minds to understand the scriptures”, which was needed since they would have to carry Jesus’ message to the world without Jesus present.
I remember the first time I made an effort to read scripture in a consistent way. I was a senior in college and started to read an NIV Study Bible recommended by the Lutheran campus pastor. It didn’t take long for me to become totally lost. I may as well have been reading a book in another language. If you’ve ever experienced that kind of frustration, I feel you.
Over the years things have gotten better. Yes, going to seminary helped in this regard, but I’ll be honest. The practice of reading scripture each day has helped me understand the bible much more than my seminary studies. Seminary taught me to read the bible using the tools of literary criticism, but it didn’t help me to familiarize myself with the bible as a whole. Only repetition can do that – reading the entire bible over and over and over.
The Moravian Daily Texts, which I use as a reading guide, covers the Old Testament in three years and the New Testament in two. That sounds like a really long time, but it goes by pretty fast. I’m grateful for all of you who read my blog on a consistent basis. It demonstrates a commitment to engage scripture and to reflection which is a big part of being a follower of Jesus. And if you’d like to take your practice to the next level let me know in the comments section and I’ll show you how.
Lord by your grace open our minds to understand the scriptures. For as is written in the book of Proverbs, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Amen.