Opened Minds (3)
And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24.32
When Jesus opens a mind
The consistent teaching of Scripture is that, when Jesus opens the mind of a person, things begin to happen.
Multitudes of people in this country sit through countless hours of preaching and Bible teaching every week. Many of them seem content merely to have been in attendance. Some of them, if they heard something interesting, well, that’s fine. They’ll be back next week for more. Whether any evidence of mature thinking and living will come from their time of being taught, will only be seen during the rest of the week, as they carry out their everyday relationships, roles, and responsibilities.
At any rate, most of those who submit to weekly Bible teaching will consider that they have heard the Word of God and understood the teaching, with or without any evidence of a maturing faith. In fact, many of those who are exposed to Biblical teaching have yet to have their minds opened by Christ; and many others would not be able to explain whether their minds had been opened at all.
Many more people have never had the opportunity to hear the Word of God or the Good News of the Kingdom, whether through their own choice, or for want of a faithful witness. What will it mean for the Lord to open their minds to His Word? What should they expect as evidence that a new perspective on life has been introduced into their experience?
In the experience of the disciples of Jesus in Luke 24, we may discern three convincing evidences that their minds had been opened. In the light of these, it seems presumptuous to conclude that we have ever heard the Word of God or ever understood the meaning of Christ’s death and resurrection, unless and until we begin to experience these effects as well.
The Word of God is alive and powerful, and when the Lord Jesus, by the inward work of His Spirit, opens our minds to hear and understand it, everything begins to change.
First, the Word of God overcomes the limitations of our experience or our reason. Put another way, when our minds are opened, “I’ve never done that before” and “I don’t understand how that can be true” cease to be default responses to our calling to the Kingdom and glory of God (1 Thess. 2.12).
None of us can claim to have experienced everything that is possible, or to think clearly about every subject. We are finite, limited people; and the more we live within the limits of what we’ve known and can figure out, the less adventuresome and mature we will be in our approach to life. What we know, what we’re familiar with, becomes a comfort zone for thinking and living; and the comfort and familiarity we experience there can keep us from being open-minded about what Jesus wants to do in our lives.
But the Gospel is the power of God for salvation – wholeness, renewal, and a life lived toward eternal and glorious horizons. When Jesus opens a mind, our experience is enlarged, and our thinking embraces a new perspective and glimpses new possibilities – like a flash of lightning on a dark night. Suddenly, in the light of the truth of God, everything becomes new and possible and filled with hope.
At the same time, our settled understandings about life begin to be re-configured. In other words, “That’s what I’ve always believed” or “That’s just what everyone thinks” no longer constrains our thinking about what God might do in our lives and our world.
Those disciples on the road to Emmaus couldn’t get their minds around a man rising from the dead, until that Man opened their minds. They could understand the idea of a resurrection, of course, but nothing in their experience or thinking prepared them to believe that such was possible. Then Jesus opened their minds, and the reality of Him risen from the grave burst upon them with new power, and began to reconfigure everything they’d ever known. Thereafter, this became the animating hope of their lives. They became new people, with a new message, and new power to declare this message to one and all.
Since God can raise the dead, what can He not do to bring glory to Himself?
Finally, when their minds were opened, the disciples acquired new affections – hearts warmed and emboldened and excited about the prospects of living for Jesus in every area of life. New understanding and a new mindset kindled new fervor in their hearts, filling them with joy and making them eager to share what Jesus had taught them. Having walked many miles to get to their home, they turned in their joy, and ran back to Jerusalem to share with their friends the good news that Jesus Christ is alive from the grave.
Seeing life with the mind of Christ not only makes for a sound mind, but it contributes to a well-kept heart and an overall strong soul. And strong souls animate and put into motion willing bodies for knowing, loving, and serving Jesus Christ.
When Jesus opens the minds of His followers, eternity unfolds before them, everything comes to be seen in a new light, and hope, peace, joy, and eager anticipation become the animating humors of their souls. Suddenly all things take on a new prospect and new possibilities. Those whose minds have been opened by the Lord have seen, if only in outline, the bright, broad horizons of the Kingdom of God, coming on earth as it is in heaven. The truth of Jesus sets them free from the confines of experience, the limits of human reason, and all their old beliefs and views about life.
Those who have once tasted of this mind-opening experience will desire more of the same, and they will press on toward a more mature realization of the mind of Christ and the life of following Jesus.
And the prospect of this happening, whether with our unbelieving neighbors or our infant-minded Christian friends, should move every believer in Jesus to work harder at growing in the sound mind and glorious worldview of the mind of Christ.
1. Can you recall a time when you became eager to grow in the things of the Lord? What was going on in your mind? In your affections? What sparked this desire for growth?
2. What role should we expect prayer to play in further opening our minds to becoming mature in Christ? How should we pray for our lost friends? Our Christian friends?
3. Meditate on Hebrews 10.24. How can Christian encourage one another to grow in the mind of Christ?
Next steps – Preparation: Consider your own way of thinking about your life as a believer. What evidence do you see that Jesus is opening your mind to the greater possibilities of life in His Kingdom?
T. M. Moore
For more insight to the broad scope of how Christians can think with the mind of Christ, order a free copy of our book, Vantage Point, by clicking here. This brief study will help you understand time and how we as Christians can redeem and make the most of it by thinking with the mind of Christ.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.