There’s a saying, cold hands, warm heart. The disciples walking with Jesus to Emmaus said, “were not our hearts burning within us?” A warm heart generally means someone kind, loving, and sympathetic. Here the disciples’ hearts were not only warm but burning.
God’s Presence is Often Associated with Fire
God shows Himself in fire often in the Bible. God called Moses from a burning bush. After the exodus, God gave the tablets of the Law. Fire and lighting showed the Lord’s presence on the mountain. In the wilderness, a pillar of fire showed His presence. At Pentecost, tongues of fire demonstrated the presence of the Holy Spirit.
The disciples’ hearts, not the muscle-pumping blood but their inner being, were not only warmed but burned as they listened to Jesus’ teaching. Jesus, also known as Immanuel or God with us, gave them insight into Scripture. This affected the disciples to the point where they could physically feel it.
A Burning Heart Versus a Cold Heart
If the disciples on the road to Emmaus had had cold hearts, they would have been indifferent toward Jesus’ teaching. They wouldn’t have even cared about what Jesus said. Instead, they invited Jesus in for a meal, perhaps to hear even more of His teaching.
A physical fire can be smothered and put out. This can happen in the spiritual realm, also. Unbelief will quench a spiritual fire. Paul warns the church in Thessalonica of this possibility. 1 Thessalonians 5: 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not quench the Spirit.
How Can We Have Burning Hearts for Jesus?
On the way to Emmaus, the disciples were spending time with Jesus even though they didn’t realize it until after Jesus disappeared. We, too, can spend time with Jesus as we read Scripture. When we ask for help to understand Scripture from the Holy Spirit, God’s presence will be with us. We can also follow the exact instructions that Paul gave the Thessalonian church. Rejoice and praise God. Pray continually and give thanks in every circumstance. As we invite Jesus to come through the Holy Spirit, we will not quench the Spirit, and we will open our hearts to the presence of the Lord Himself.