Luke 24:45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.
Have you ever been frightened to the point that it could be described as being terrified? We use the term ‘scared to death’ rather casually, but taken literally it describes serious fear. And we’re not talking just being startled or frightened by the unexpected. We’re talking about a fear provoking reality that is also startling and unexpected.
These words describe the reality experienced by the disciples when Jesus first appeared to the group of them together after He was crucified. The disciples were excited because the evidence was mounting that Jesus had risen. He had appeared to Simon! But their excitement was tempered by that fact that their fear of the Jews caused them to have the doors locked. I assume they were fearful that those who killed Jesus could be hunting for them.
Then the two men returning from Emmaus shared their wonderful story about Jesus being with them and their eyes being opened when He broke the bread! Can’t you just feel the electric atmosphere that would have been in that room as they talked about all this? Their Lord was alive! Then “lightning” struck! One minute they’re talking excitedly about how Jesus has risen – and the next minute Jesus appears in their midst and they were terrified!
Think about that. They were terrified at seeing Jesus appear suddenly in the room. He didn’t knock on the door – and they didn’t unlock it to let him in – He just appeared! They thought they were looking at a ghost. He asked them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?” (Lk 24:38) Then Jesus showed them His hands, feet and side, and told them to touch Him. A ghost doesn’t have flesh and bones as He did.
They still were having difficulty believing because of their joy and amazement. Then He asked them for something to eat. After eating He explained again what had happened and why and, “Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.” Think how powerful it was for them to all of a sudden have everything make sense. Praise God that He does the same for us!
Why was it important for them not to understand what was going to happen to Jesus prior to this? I don’t know – but I do know that it was! God has His reasons. It is so exhilarating to see how this group of frightened men and women were so utterly transformed by an encounter with the risen Christ! Isn’t it amazing that He transforms us as well when we encounter Him!!