“He opened their understanding that they might comprehend the Scriptures”Luke 24:45
Jesus had told His disciples on several occasions that He would die and rise again as the Scriptures foretold. How could the Son of God, Israel’s Messiah, allow Himself to be crucified and die? They believed He was going to redeem Israel (v21). But because they did not take His words literally they were unprepared for what was to come.
Two of Jesus’ disciples were going home very disheartened because their expectations were not met. Their expectations were wrong because they had not listened to, believed and heeded Jesus’ words. Like these two, we may believe who Jesus is but, also like them, our expectations of what that means may be wrong such that we are disheartened. Being downhearted in our walk with Jesus will be because we have not really heard, believed and heeded what He has said.
These two disciples had heard the report of the women who saw the empty tomb and spoke with the angels (v22) yet they left in unbelief. They had heard the report of Peter and John (v24) yet they left in unbelief. Not surprisingly Jesus said they were foolish because they were slow in believing the Scriptures concerning Himself so He spent the rest of the trip explaining the Scriptures to them (v27) but still they didn’t understand. As He shared the Scriptures with them their hearts “burned” but not until Jesus revealed Himself to them and opened their understanding did they comprehend and believe (v31).
Only then were they ready to return to the other disciples and tell what Jesus had revealed to them. When they arrived they discovered that, since they had left, Jesus had appeared to Peter (v34). While they were sharing about their meeting with Jesus with the other disciples He appeared in their midst. But even with all the witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection the disciples were terrified and doubted (vv37,38). Jesus reminded them of the things He had told them prior to His crucifixion and what was written in the Scriptures (v44) and then He opened their understanding so that they could understand the Scriptures (v45). Two things happened; Jesus revealed Himself and He explained the Scriptures. Many people read the Scriptures but it is as a story to them. Others read it and their hearts “burn” but only Jesus gives understanding.