The Work of the Holy Spirit

The work of the Holy Spirit is vital for us to understand anything concerning Jesus.

Luke 24:28 – 35

28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going further. 29 But they urged him strongly, ‘Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them.

30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognised him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’

33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, ‘It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’ 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognised by them when he broke the bread.

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The previous section (verses 13 to 34) describes two people who met the risen Jesus and walked with him on the road to Emmaus but did not recognise him.  He spoke with them and explained that the whole of the scriptures told of the events of his death and resurrection.

As they stop for the night, Jesus indicated he was going further but they pressed him to stay with them.  He did and they reclined to eat a meal when Jesus “took bread, blessed it and having broken it he gave it to them.”  At this point we are told that their eyes were opened, and they recognised it was Jesus.  He immediately disappeared from their sight.

This and the following provide some helpful instruction to us regarding the work of the Holy Spirit.  Throughout this encounter with Jesus the Holy Spirit was working in the hearts of these people.  In verse 32 they testify to their hearts burning as Jesus had been speaking to them.  He had made it clear to them that the Bible spoke of the events of Jesus dying and rising.  They had already heard the message of the angels that Jesus had risen.  All these messages from God had been heard by others and not understood.  Through the work of the Holy Spirit, these words were having a deep impact on this pair’s lives. Similarly, they could not recognise Jesus until their eyes were opened by the Holy Spirit to recognise what was probably obvious.

It is this work of the Spirit that we all need in order to understand anything of the Lord.  We can hear the word of God, perhaps many times but not understand it.  The truth concerning the gospel can be staring us in the face but unless the Holy Spirit touches our heart and opens our eyes, we will understand nothing. Jesus spoke of those who have eyes but do not see and ears but do not hear.  The problem is not a sight or hearing problem but an aversion to the truth concerning God.  The depths of human sin are so great that we will defy everything about God, unless the Spirit subdues us to see and listen, to accept and believe.  It is a reminder to us that we are wholly dependent on the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit for our reconciliation to our God.

We then read that they immediately returned to Jerusalem and, finding the eleven gathered, they related what they had experienced.  It is interesting how often we see in the New Testament that when people come to a clear understanding of the realities of Christ, they seem compelled to tell others.  When we recognise our failures even to desire speaking to people about Jesus, we need to look at the foundation of the problem.  Our need is not just to learn better techniques, although they are important, but consider our perception of the Lord Jesus and ask if, by our sinful ways we have quenched the Holy Spirit.

Head and Heart: Seek to understand the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing you to faith in and love for the Lord Jesus.

Hands: Act on the drive, given by the Holy Spirit, to talk about Jesus.

Prayer: Father, forgive us that we often quench the Holy Spirit’s work in our heart and follow the attitudes of this world.  Forgive us Lord and help us to delight in that inward witness that directs us to Jesus Christ our Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

A song to listen to: This I Believe (The Creed)

David Johnston

Living Church – Creek Road