Updated: May 11, 2020
What does the Scripture mean by “burning heart” in Luke 24:32? At football games we speak of “getting fired up”. When we speak of “a burning heart”, we usually mean some kind of inner excitement and motivation and passion. Do you have a burning heart for the Lord? Do you have an inner drive to serve Him and glorify Him and witness for Him?
In Jeremiah 20:9, the prophet Jeremiah speaks of his heart that is burning and he cannot hold the message back; He has to speak forth the word of God.
After He rose from the dead, Jesus gave the greatest OT survey ever and interpreted the main meaning of the OT to the 2 disciples on the Emmaus road and to the 11 in the upper room in Luke chapter 24.
Please read the whole chapter of Luke 24, for context and understanding.
Luke 24:1-12 – The Empty Tomb
Luke 24:13-35 – Jesus’ Resurrection appearance to the 2 Disciples on the Emmaus Road
Luke 24:36-53 – Jesus’ Resurrection appearance to the 11 Disciples.
It is essential for me to note verse 39, “see My hands and feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” This is proof of Jesus’ bodily resurrection. He rose in the same body that He died in. He was not a ghost or spiritual resurrection. (As the cultic group, the Jehovah’s Witnesses teach.)
I just want to highlight these 3 sections as they relate to the idea of missions and preaching the gospel to all the nations.
25 And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 Then beginning withMoses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.
They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?”
Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets andthe 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 Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed s]” style=”box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 22px; position: relative; vertical-align: top; top: 0px;”>[s]in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Truths from this passage:
1. Jesus surveyed the scope of the OT. “Moses and all the prophets” (v. 25) It is also interesting that the word we use for “hermeneutics” (“the science and art of properly interpreting the Scriptures”) is used there in verse 27. “explained”, “expounded”, “interpreted throughly”, “explained the meaning”, etc. “He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” (verse 27)
“the law of Moses, the prophets, and the Psalms” (v. 44)
2. Jesus revealed and interpreted the main theme of the OT Scriptures: Himself. “the things concerning Himself” (v. 27); “the things written about Me” (v. 44)
3. The main verb of verses 46-47 is “it is written”. When Jesus says, “it is written”, He is communicating a strong conviction that He has. He is saying there are 3 main convictions about Himself as Messiah from the OT. The main verb of “it is written” is followed by three infinitives that modify the main verb and tell us what is written. The structure of the sentence goes like this:
“Thus is it written
that the Christ
a. to suffer
b. to rise from the dead
c. to be preached
4. So, Jesus exposed 3 convictions about Himself:
a. that the Messiah would suffer and die (v. 46)
b. that the Messiah would be resurected from the dead. (v. 46)
c. that the Messiah’s message should be preached to all the nations. (v. 47)
In other words, Jesus says the 3 main convictions about Himself as Messiah in the OT are:
1. The cross or the atonement for sins
2. The resurrection from the dead
3. missions – that the message is to preached to all the nations
the message = “repentance for the forgiveness of sins”
When Jesus opened the Scriptures to the disciples on the Emmaus Road, they said, “our hearts burned while He was opening the Scriptures to us”. (v. 32) There was conviction, understanding, passion, motivation, excitement being generated in their hearts and minds. The miracle of the resurrection was big, but they didn’t say, “wow, our hearts were burning because of the miracle of the resurrection!” rather, they focused on the word of God, the Scriptures, and how when Jesus gave the right interpretation of the OT Scriptures, they had a heart response of understanding, conviction, motivation, passion and excitement. They were no longer sad (Luke 24:17) and no longer without hope (Luke 24:21), but they had a renewed sense of hope and motivation because of Jesus’ teaching and His resurrection.
So, we see, “the secret of the burning heart” is for Jesus to come and “open the mind” (verse 45) and give us the right interpretation of the OT Scriptures and the main emphasis in three convictions.
Also, we see, for effective mission to take place, we need:
1. The Scriptures – (verses 25-27, 32, 44-47) and we need Jesus to do something spiritual on the inside of us. “to open our minds” (v. 45)
2. The Saints – verse 48 – “you are witnesses of these things” – the disciples have to go and preach and they will later become the church in the book of Acts. “you shall be My witnesses” – God uses people, disciples, willing believers who are willing to be used and willing to go and be obedient. The church is God’s method of spreading His message, and the church is God’s people who are called “saints”. See most every beginnng of every epistle in the NT. “to the saints at Corinth”, etc.
3. The Spirit – (verse 49) – “the promise of My Father” and “power from on high” refers to the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which we see in Acts chapters 1-2. “you shall be My witnesses when the Holy Spirit comes upon you” (Acts 1:8) Acts 1:5-8; 4:30; Galatians 5:16-26; Ephesians 5:18 – we need the power of the Holy Spirit for effective witness and to live holy lives. Without holy lives, our witness will not be effective, and even can be scandalous by sin.
Acts 4:30 – “after they prayed, the place was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”
We need to walk by the Spirit – Galatians 5:16-26
We need to be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18
The baptism (or receiving/getting) of the Holy Spirit happens once to a person at the moment of repentance and faith in Christ – John 7:37-39; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 1:13, Romans 8:9, but the filling of the Holy Spirit is something that happens many times after we are converted, and it depends on us submitting, trusting, walking in obedience, and surrendering to the Holy Spirit.
These are keys to a heart that burns with passion and conviction and motivates us to move out in obedience in living holy, witnessing, and missions.