Introducing our exploration of ‘The Burning Heart’ of the Gospel of Luke – Sunday series running through 2019
Sermon recordings are available for Sunday services where possible, you can listen to them online afterwards from our Listen again page.
Chapter 9:51 signals the start of a travelogue of Jesus’ final journey to Jerusalem. Jerusalem would be the place of trial, suffering, death, and resurrection for Jesus. From chapter 9:51 to chapter 24 we find the “Burning Heart” of the gospel of Luke. So rich is the material in this section which is entirely unique to Luke. The main theme contained in these chapters is Jesus’ relentless progression toward the cross and beyond this to resurrection. This was the very purpose for which Christ had come to earth (9:22-23; 17:25; 18:31-33; 24:25-26, 46), and He would not be deterred. The saving of sinners was His whole mission (19:10).
Sandwiched on either side of the crucifixion narrative of Luke 22:39 – 23:55 we have two main meal stories with the disciples and a story of a meal at Emmaus. We can see these meals as symbolic of the focus of Jesus on the cross. The meal preceding the crucifixion is where we have the institution of the Lord’s Supper and the transformation of the Passover meal into the meal of the cross. The meal in Emmaus is where the eyes of two disciples of Jesus are opened. It is here that these two disciples reflect on their Burning Heart as Jesus explained his death and resurrection on the road. This meal that proceeds after the crucifixion with the two disciples in Emmaus culminates in them recognising Jesus as the bread is broken in the meal. The meal immediately after this is with all the disciples and is where the commission comes to all the disciples that are present “Repentance and forgiveness will be preached to all nations” which is the primary result of Jesus death. Salvation for all. So we have the Burning Heart in these meals of the cross.
One could say that the Burning Heart is a good title for a preaching series in the gospel of Luke. Jesus certainly has a Burning Heart for the poor, outcasts, sick, and demon possessed. He has a Burning Heart for the journey to the cross. The disciples are to have the same Burning Heart for the life of sacrifice that ministry will demand (We see this in the Beatitudes on the Plain) as well as a Burning Heart for the salvation of God in the world, of which they are now witnesses. (We see this in Acts) Luke has a Burning Heart to record the life of Jesus in an orderly manner. He has a Burning Heart that Theophilus will have his faith strengthened “that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught” This certainty is to be Theophilus’ Burning Heart.
We see this theme of The Burning Heart continued in the ministry and service of the church in Acts. Where the mission to bring salvation to the whole world begins in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, and catches fre from there. In the book of Acts it is the Cross of Christ that ignites lives and that which faithful apostles preach. This “Burning Heart” we need to recover today with the same effects.