Attending the Burning Heart Bible School!
Luke 24:32, "They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within uswhile he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?"
Our text is the response of the two followers of the freshly resurrected Jesus after they had been His students in the "Burning Heart Bible School" for one incredible afternoon walk and talk.
Having listened to their grief-filled disappointment due to the dashing of their Messianic hopes concerning Him, Jesus confronted their despair with a rebuke of their foolish ignorance and unbelief of the Scriptures: "And he said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?"(Lk. 24:25-26)
If Jesus lecture had a title, it would probably have been, "It's All About ME"! His text was huge - Moses, all the prophets, and all the Scriptures. There were two main points to His teaching - His suffering and glory. In other words, the whole of what we call the Old Testament was about HIM, specifically His sufferings and glory.
Recently, Andy Stanley, the pastor of the North Point Church - a mega-church near Atlanta - has come under fire for the comments he made concerning the Old Testament: "(First Century) Church leaders unhitched the church from the worldview, value system, and regulations of the Jewish scriptures," Stanley said on the series. "Peter, James, Paul elected to unhitch the Christian faith from their Jewish scriptures, and my friends, we must as well."
In the interview, he went on to say: “I’m convinced that we make a better case for Jesus if we leave the Old Testament or the old covenant out of the argument.”
Did Jesus, Peter, James, and Paul “unhitch the Christian faith from their Jewish Scriptures?” NO, nor can we. The church cannot “unhitch” from the Old Testament without unhitching from the gospel Jesus preached. Speaking of the Old Testament Scriptures, Jesus said “it is they that bear witness about me.” (John 5:39)
Graeme Goldsworthy asserts correctly and powerfully that "Christianity without the Old Testament is like a man without a backbone- flabby, misshapen, grotesque. It is a building without foundations (Eph. 2:20). It is the fulfillment of nothing, the goal of a path from nowhere. Let us learn from our Lord Himself and the men of the New Testament, who quote the Old Testament hundreds of times. Let us make it the warp and woof of the fabric of the gospel.
Goldsworthy goes on to say that just as Jesus referred to His two Emmaus road disciples as fools, "so are we if we pronounce the Old Testament dead by our neglect. Who was this Christ who rose victorious from the tomb? He was not the Jesus of sentiment and ethical religiosity. He was not the Jesus of inner peace or respectable conformity. Nor was He the vague spiritual presence of “Jesus-in-my-heart” piety.
"He was none of these. He was Jehovah’s Word. He was, and is, the incarnation and fulfillment of the spoken and written Word of God in the Old Testament. When Jesus Christ rose from the grave, He brought the Old Testament with Him. In proclaiming Himself from the Old Testament, He declared that to bury it was to bury Him. In the apostolic preaching of the gospel the fulfillment of the Old Testament and the resurrection of Christ are the two most frequently mentioned elements. They go hand in hand. To separate them is to remove the Christ event from that which testifies to its meaning."
"The Old Testament tells the story which Jesus completed; it declares the promise which he fulfilled; it provides the pictures and models which shapes his identity; it programs a mission which he accepted and passed on; it teaches a moral orientation to the world which he endorsed, sharpened, and laid as a foundation for obedient discipleship.
"These were the depths of wisdom and revelation and prophecy that shaped His whole view of life, the universe, and everything. This is where He found His insights into the mind of His Father God. Above all, this is where He found the shape of His own identity and the goal of His own mission. In short, the deeper you go into understanding the Old Testament, the closer you come to the heart of Jesus" (Christopher J.H Wright).
Scripture is to be read and studied as a single Story with a single Hero - the Lord Jesus Christ. Without ignoring the obvious fact that the Bible contains many stories, spanning thousands of years, with many participants, we must see that the individual stories were threads woven into the pattern of a single tapestry: the Big Story of the Creator-King whose inscrutable wisdom, justice, and love devised and enacted a unified, multifaceted plan in, by, and through Jesus the Christ, to redeem, reconcile, reconquer, and recreate his rebel creatures, transforming them into his trusting children, his glad and grateful servants, his beautiful bride.
The Bible is the story of God’s Unfolding Drama of Redemption. It isn’t a philosophical treatise, a systematic theology, a confession of faith, or a book of success formulas that reveals how to make it big in life. It is a book of stories that are designed not to just inform us about God, but to suck us into God’s Big Story and involve us in a never-ending love-relationship with the True and Living God. The written Word – the Bible, is designed to get us to the Living Word – Jesus. It’s designed to transform us and not just inform us; to stir our hearts and not provide us with a lot of charts; to satisfy our minds, fire our imaginations, fuel our emotions, kindle the flames of worship, and be a lamp for our feet and a light for our path!
In Jesus all the promise-plans of God converge. The Israel story is conclusively redrawn, the world’s story is redeemingly rewritten and the story of God is fully revealed to us.
Paul teaches Timothy that the goal of all scripture is faith in Jesus the Christ. He is the only mediator between God and man. He interprets the Scripture that God has inspired and preserved for us. Since He is the goal and the subject of all God’s purposes on earth, the correct lens through which we interpret scripture is Jesus the Christ.
As for me, I want to enroll afresh in the Burning Heart Bible School and have my heart continually warmed as I see Christ on virtually every page of the Bible, especially the Old Testament. Then as He opens my heart and mind to see and savor Him more clearly and dearly, I want to share Him with the whole world. I long to live with "spiritual heartburn" as a student in the Burning Heart Bible School the rest of my days!