Christ Opens His Disciples' Understanding of the Scriptures
Then he opened their minds
so they could understand the Scriptures.
Near the end of the forty-day period during which Jesus appeared among his disciples at various times, they again returned to Jerusalem at his command. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he said to them, "This is what I told you while I was still with you." Then he continued, "Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms." Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He expounded the prophecies concerning his suffering and death, his resurrection and ascension, his kingdom and its extension, as these are to be found in the Bible. (If the Jews wanted to characterize the Bible as a whole they enumerated the three divisions that were current among them: Moses, including what we call the historical books, the Prophets and the Psalms, the poetical books.)
You can be sure that the disciples saw the Bible in an entirely different light after Jesus was through with his explanation. And finally as a kind of summation he said, "This is what is written: the Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised." The latter was, of course, a reference to the Holy Spirit who equipped the disciples and the early Christians in a special and unique way to carry out their function of being Christ's witnesses in Jerusalem and among the nations. They had as yet not received this gift of the Holy Ghost in full measure and that is why Jesus said to them, "Stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high." They did receive that special measure of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, a matter which we shall consider later on.
This certainly must have been a long and admirable sermon by means of which Christ opened the minds of his disciples so that they could understand the Scriptures. The whole thrust of the preaching was to show them clearly that the whole Old Testament was basically a book concerning Christ, and that the faith inculcated in the Old Testament was a belief in the Messiah or Christ. Furthermore, that that which the Old Testament taught about the Christ found its fulfillment in Him, the crucified and resurrected Jesus and that consequently he was that Christ, prophesied in the Scriptures. This meant that as they trusted in him, these his disciples, despised and persecuted by the leaders of the Jewish nation, were in reality the one, true people of God, the true spiritual children of the ancient patriarchs of Israel.
Now he was sending these, the true associates and successors of Israel's ancient prophets, forth as the witnesses and preacher. of his Gospel. So they stood in that long line of men of God beginning with Adam, and continuing on through Abraham and Moses all the way down to John the Baptist. Surely now that their Lord and Master was again with them they drank in all his instruction and were filled with new courage and comfort for their task.
What they were taught and learned, this they not only preached, but also recorded in their writings so that you and I and whoever reads them or hears preaching based on God's revelation can be properly instructed and understand Christ's redemptive work. Only in this way earl we be strengthened and comforted in our faith in the face of this world's scorn for Gcot and his Word and be proof against the deceptive arguments of today's high p priests, teachers of the Law, Pharisees and Saduccees.
O dear Christian. continue to study the Scriptures and allow the Holy Ghost to open your mind and understanding to the Christ they preach. Permit the Old Testament to cast its light on the New Testament and let the evangelists and prophets open your understanding of the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms. Then, by God's grace, with joy and confidence you will see that your faith in Jesus Christ, the crucified and resurrected Son of G God and Man, is the only true faith in God there is.
O Jesus, King most wonderful,
Thou conqueror renowned,
Thou Sweetness most ineffable,
In whom all joys are found!
When once Thou visitest the heart,
Then truth begins to shine,
Then earthly vanities depart,
Then kindles love divine.