The Burning Within
Dr. Bruce Waltke was my main Old Testament professor in both my masters and doctoral program at Dallas Theological Seminary. Once I learned the basics of biblical Hebrew from other members of his department, he was the professor who opened up the Psalms and then the basics of a biblical theology in Deuteronomy and Proverbs in our core doctoral courses.
When he got going exposing the meaning of the Old Testament, there was no looking at the clock. He had our attention, and I will never forget one of his favorite stories. It was about his own student days when he studied with a rabbi in Israel.
“Every week I met with a rabbi to read the Hebrew text together. He asked me to choose a passage, read it, and then he would quote the next verse from memory. He could to this anywhere in the Hebrew Bible. One day I suggested we read Isaiah 53 and go through it verse by verse. Each of us would explain how we interpreted the successive verses. He took the classical Jewish view that the suffering servant was the nation Israel, and my view was that Jesus better met the details of the text.
As we began and the prophet spoke about the ‘root out of dry ground,’ ‘despised and rejected,’ and ‘carrying our sorrows,’ the rabbi made the nation of Israel work as who the prophet was talking about, but then we came to the verse that said, ‘the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all,’ ‘he was oppressed and did not open his mouth,’ and ‘they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death.’ Suddenly the rabbi stopped our reading. He was agitated and his assistant stepped in and our session abruptly ended.”
This rabbi with my beloved professor was facing the turmoil that hits us all when we must decide who Isaiah 53 is talking about.
Jesus faced the two disciples on the Emmaus Road with this same question and their hearts burned as Jesus opened the Jewish Scriptures to them. He proved that it did say that the Messiah would suffer, die as a sacrifice for sin, and then rise again. Luke tells us how they reacted when they finally recognized Jesus.
“They said to one another, ‘Didn’t our hearts burn within us as He was speaking to us on the way, as He opened to us the Scriptures?’ And that very hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem where they found the eleven gathered.” Luke 24:33-34
LORD, help my heart to keep burning with insight and conviction as I study Your Word this week. I pray that the Spirit of the Lord will use Truth Encounter through the messages on OnePlace.com, our Devos, and through teaching this week at Southern Bible to create this burn in the hearts of others. Especially help Jews this week to open their hearts to the One at the center of the Story their Scriptures is telling.
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