>Luke 24:44-49 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you– that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.”

45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
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As I continue to read this passage over and over again, verse 45 continually sticks out in my mind. “Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.” There is so much here that is speaking to me that I’m not quite sure how to settle the voices long enough to sort it all out. One word in particular that sticks out in my mind is “opened.” As I do this it is a cloudy day outside, but out on the horizon, there are clear patches of sky, where the heavens have been opened. This in turn brings my attention to two things.

First, and rather comically, I think of the scene in The Blues Brothers where Jake and Elwood are in the back of the church, and suddenly, the heavens open and they have “seen the light.” While this does seem to be a little out of place given the nature of this exercise, I also continue to think about what happens when we do indeed “see the light.” In the movie, Jake and Elwood become convinced that they are on a “mission from God” to put the band back together to make enough money to save the orphanage in which they were raised. We too have times like this. We see the light and our mission from God is suddenly clear. We know what our purpose is in life, and who we are in relation to God the Father and Creator. And in this purpose, we find a way to take on our mission, knowing that we do so in the grace of God which is available through the life, death and resurrection of the Son, which brings me to the second image in my mind.

The weekly discipleship group with whom I meet looked at the beginning of Luke’s gospel yesterday, and explored what significance there is in the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in framing how we begin to look at the atonement. Jesus goes to be baptized by John in the Jordan River, and “as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased’” (Lk 3:21b-22). In this instance, we begin to get our understanding of the Trinity and the relational nature of God. We see God as Father. Everything that Jesus does from this point forward is a recapitulation of the original creation story, but unlike Adam, Jesus does it right. The opportunity for new life is available in the life that Jesus is about to model. The story of the temptation in Luke 4, is what should have happened in the Garden when humanity originally fell into sin. Jesus stands firm and lets out a resounding “No!” through his understanding of the Scripture in the face of temptation by the devil. If only I can have my mind opened in such a way.

Just some musings from a traveling pilgrim.

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