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God’s Word for You

Luke 24:44-45 he opened their minds to understand

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Monday, July 15, 2019

44 He also said to them, “These are my teachings which I declared to you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.

Perhaps there is a little break in verse 44, although Luke’s phrase, “He also said to them” doesn’t intrude into the narrative at all; the last thing that happened was that Jesus was eating fish and honey with his apostles. Luke does nothing more than resume the conversation here. “These… teachings” are the things Jesus taught before his crucifixion. The disciples had a limited understanding while they were being instructed; Luke actually says that they “did not understand what [he] meant” (Luke 9:45). This is surely the recollection of one or more of the apostles with whom Luke spoke when he was doing research for his books.

Jesus’ statement that everything had to be (“must be”) fulfilled is proof that his work as our Savior was completed. There was no further sacrifice to be made; no further act of obedience to be carried out. The satisfaction obtained by Jesus is complete. The Scriptures tell us that his payment was universal, that is to say, that his death paid for the sins of “many” but also the sins of “all,” and in fact the “many” and the “all” must be equal terms (Matthew 20:28; Romans 8:32; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15). Jesus did not only die for the elect or the godly, but even for the damned (John 1:29; 1 John 2:1-2; 1 Corinthians 8:11; Hebrews 10:29). The thoroughness of the satisfaction Jesus made for our sins is illustrated by the many ways it is described:

1, Release from the guilt of sin (Isaiah 53:4; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; Titus 2:14; Hebrews 1:3, 9:15; 1 John 1:7).

2, Release from slavery and indwelling of sin (Galatians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:18).

3, Propitiation for sin (Titus 2:14; 1 John 2:2).

4, Perfect reconciliation (Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Colossians 1:20; Hebrews 7:17-19).

5, Release from the wrath of God (Romans 5:8).

6, Release from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13).

7, Release from the power of Satan (Luke 1:71; Hebrews 2:14-15; 1 John 3:8).

8, Release from death and hell (Hosea 13:14).

9, Full redemption once and for all (Hebrews 9:12).

10, Justification before God (2 Corinthians 5:21).

11, Eternal life (Hebrews 5:8-9).

Jesus emphasizes this thoroughness by explaining that the salvation which was won by him was “written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms.” This was the usual way of describing what we call the Old Testament with its three divisions. Their content is most easily explained if we say that the Prophets includes two groups of four titles, the Former Prophets: Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings, and the Latter Prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve Minor Prophets. The other books were all lumped together in a group usually called “The Writings,” but Jesus calls it “The Psalms” because Psalms was the first book of the collection.

Verse 45 tells us that Jesus “opened their minds.” The Greek word translated “opened” is dianoigo (διανοίγω) a word that implies opening something for the first time. Mark translates the Aramaic word Ephphatha with this word, “Be opened,” in Mark 7:34. God talks about “bringing forth” (διανοίγω) the constellations with each passing season (Job 38:32). The devil, always the murderous liar, describes Eve’s eyes finally “being opened” (διανοίγω) in Genesis 3:5, as if she never really understood anything before. Luke’s use of the word here is far more accurate. Jesus opened their incomprehending minds so that now they understood, truly understood, the meaning of the Scriptures. This is also the way Luke describes Paul opening the minds and hearts of the Jews in the Synagogues (Acts 17:3) and of Lydia in Philippi (Acts 16:14).

The Holy Spirit has done the same thing for all of us. Through the Gospels and the Book of Acts and especially the New Testament Epistles, he has opened our minds and hearts to the meaning of what the Scriptures say: Jesus is our risen Savior.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith

About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.


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