Take a peek at this passage today before reading my thoughts. It’s one of my favorites, Luke 24: 13-32 taken from the NIV: On the Road to Emmaus.
"Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.
He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
“What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.
In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”
He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 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.
When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him,and he disappeared from their sight. 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?”
Can you imagine what it must have been like to have the Word made Flesh explain the Word to you in the flesh? The disciples traveling on the road couldn’t take it in fast enough. They begged Jesus to stay with them and eat so they might continue to chew on his every word, drinking in its goodness to the very last drop.
I have this passage framed in my home because I just can’t get over their reaction, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"
The word “opened” in the Greek is the word dianoigo and its imagery is vivid. It means to open what was once closed with a dividing action. Think of the temple veil being torn in two, a current event that likely sprinkled their conversation. Dianoigo is used to describe the arrival of a first born son coming through the folds of the womb. It can also mean to open one's soul, i.e. to rouse in one the faculty of understanding or the desire of learning.
Can you see it? The Firstborn of all Creation’s emergence into the world and onto the dusty road towards Emmaus that day opened the hearts of the disciples. Their encounter aroused in them a desire to understand the Word of God and their hearts were set ablaze.
I suspect, if you are a teacher, someone walked with you down the road and opened your mind, dianoigo, to the very passion that burns within you for the subject you teach. You may not have recognized the impact this person had on your journey until they were gone, but the encounter was real because your heart is still burning.
Today, reflect on your teaching journey. Who walked with you along the road, opening you up to learning?