“Were Not Our Hearts Burning?”

Leah Janik


Were not our hearts burning within us? (Luke 24:32)

Often it takes going through the “hearts burning” walks of life to see Christ’s Glory.

Recently, I read Luke 24:13-33 during my quiet time. Then, I read it for the next three days because it spoke to me so profoundly.

The story takes place the same day as the Resurrection. Two disciples were walking and reflecting on everything that had happened in Jerusalem, including the news that Jesus’ body was not in the tomb.

Jesus approached, but they were unable to recognize Him.  Then He asked them what they were talking about. By their own answers, they showed their lack of understanding about the very man they followed, until He was crucified three days prior. The longest stretch of dialogue in this story consists of these men telling Jesus who they thought He was. They referred to Him as “prophet,” and “powerful,” but did not use Old Testament references such as Immanuel, Wonderful Counselor, or Prince of Peace. They didn’t even use words that Jesus had spoken of Himself like “Light” or “the way the truth and the life.”

These well-meaning followers knew the checkboxes and the current and relevant events, but when Christ didn’t measure up to how they expected the Redeemer of Israel to be, it shook their confidence.

Jesus was disappointed in their blindness. They couldn’t see the connection of the Scriptures and prophecies that pointed back to Him, but He still took the time to teach as they continued to walk. (Is 7:14, 9:6)

One of my favorite parts of this story is that they were unable to recognize Him until they shared a meal with Him. They had taken a 7ish mile walk, talking about Scripture. They had a Bible study about Jesus, led by Jesus, but it took sharing a meal before they could truly see Him.

My life benefits from social media and electronic communication. Friendships that might otherwise have waned over the years and distance continue on like we still live close by. But for me nothing beats shared meals. I respect Gary Chapman, but I really think he needs to add food as a love language. The connections that can be had over now empty plates can be formative and heartening.

If you have time, do some meditation on the fact that Jesus broke the bread and had begun to give it to them when their eyes were suddenly opened, and He disappeared. It is fascinating to think about.

Okay, but the whole reason I am going over this Scripture is this line, “Were not our hearts burning within us, while He talked with us on the road and opened the scriptures with us?” (Luke 24:32).

Have you ever reflected back of a season of your life and felt an adequate description of what was happening inside you was, “your heart was burning?” I’m not talking about acid reflux, I’m talking about the days that refined you and altered where you are going and how you get there.

In the midst of those seasons, have you been encouraged by Scripture, fellow believers, a song on the radio, or even an inspirational poster in a doctor’s office, only to look back later and see something which seemed so small helped you to keep going?

The hardest years of my life are outlined and shaded like the most intricate “connect the dot” moments I could have ever imagined. People left that I would have never chosen to do without, but they were always making room for something amazing. Life at many points felt beyond my control. Romans 8:26, was an immense comfort because, despite a prayerful and supportive community, I truly had no idea what I should be praying for.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” (Romans 8:26).

On the other side of these seasons of life, vision is 20/20. A lot of the clichés about life are true, but I know that doesn’t change the fact that someone in the middle of their journey can’t always see the answer right in front of them. And that’s okay.

Here’s my hope for anyone in a “heart burning” season. My hope is that you come to the assurance that one day you will turn around and look at the path you followed and say, “Oh, that was Jesus!”

Take a moment to ask yourself these questions:

  • Have I felt the burning, then looked back to see where promises were fulfilled?
  • Am I willing to look back and acknowledge the glory?
  • Am I in close enough communion with God to see it? If not, why not?
  • When was the last time you strongly urged someone to stay and have dinner with you?
  • They asked Him to dinner when they still didn’t know who He was, am I that open to the unknown?