So reading Luke Chapter 24, verses 32 to 53.
And they said to one another, did not our hearts burn within us while He spoke to us in the way and while He opened to us the scriptures and standing up in that same hour, they return to Jerusalem and found the 11 assembled and those who were with them saying the Lord has certainly risen and has appeared to Simon, and they related the things done in the way and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread. But as they thus spoke, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them and says to them, peace be to you. But being terrified and in fear, they thought that they beheld a spirit.
He said to them, why are you disturbed and why do reasonings arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet that it is I myself, handle me and see for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you behold me having. And as He said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. But while they yet believed not for joy and marveled, He said to them, have you here any food?
And they gave Him a part of a broiled fish and of a honeycomb. And taking it He did eat before them. And He said to them, these are the words which I spoke to you while I was yet with you. That all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses and in the Prophets and in the Psalms concerning me.
Then He opened their understanding that they might understand the scriptures, and He said to them, thus, it is written, and thus Christ had to suffer and to rise again from the dead the third day. And that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in His name to all the nations beginning at Jerusalem.
And you are witnesses of these things. And behold, I send the promise of my father upon you. But sit ye in the city of Jerusalem until you put on power from on high. And He led them out as far as to Bethany. And lifting up His hands He blessed them. And it came to pass while He blessed them, He was parted from them and taken up into heaven. And they having worshipped Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy and they were continually in the temple praising and blessing God, Amen.
All Scripture deals with the processes involved in the regeneration of the human mind. And certainly, from a Logopraxis perspective, that is what we are interested in so far as our understanding of Scripture is concerned. So we come to this remarkable passage which, really expounds upon the processes involved in the opening of the Scriptures as we willingly open ourselves to them so that that inner work can be done. Who hasn’t had the experience of their heart burning within them as insights begin to unfold within our conscious awareness as we engage with the Word?
“Did not our heart burn within us while He spoke to us in the way.”
The Lord speaks, “in the way,” that is, when we are “in the way” or, when we are engaging with truths from the Word, so then, the opportunity is open to us for the divine influx of the Lord’s life to put in front of us an awareness of things unseen in our normal mode of consciousness.
For the Scriptures to open, we have to be opened. Our hearts have to be opened in order to receive from the Lord. And so, as we engage in our practice or, as we are “in the way,” insights begin to flow. And because it is the Word that we are engaging with, we begin to see the Lord. We see the Lord, as the Word, as the Sacred Scripture, as divine revelation. And so our appreciation of the Word is elevated and along with it, so are we. And in that elevation we come to see what it means to be standing up or, to arise…
“and standing up in that same hour, they return to Jerusalem.”
And so it is that new insights dawn out of practice. We return to our understanding of the Lord and it becomes modified to reflect the new experience of the Word working in our life. A new understanding is beginning to be born here. That is something that is only possible when the Word is taken into our life and integrated through practice. For Jerusalem is our understanding of the Heavenly doctrine, which is our understanding of the Lord.
And what is it that we find there? We find that the 11 are assembled, that things are there in order, in the order of what has been our past experience. But now something new is beginning to dawn and as we come into contact and begin to reflect on our understanding of things from our experience arising from practice, so changes have to take place within the mind in order to accommodate things. Those changes alter our understanding of the Word and so we begin to see how things are actually able to be applied to the life of the human mind.
To find the 11 assembled constitutes the organic form that doctrine takes within the human mind. For doctrine, as a living form within the mind, is a body, a spiritual body, that houses our understanding of the Lord. This is the temple that the Lord spoke of that if destroyed, He would raise in three days.
For whether it is the 11 curtains of the tabernacle, the 11 stars and sheaves that bowed down in Joseph’s dreams, the Arcana Coelestia tells us in each and every case that by the number 11 is meant all the goods and truths of the church. And that these should be subject to Joseph, who is the Lord Himself, and to be subject to means to be extended from for all the goods and truths of the Word represented by this number 11, constitute the Lord as understood by those present here.
Indeed it is our own understanding of the Lord as found in what we hold to doctrinally that is under consideration here and the impact that a direct experience of the opening of the scriptures has upon that understanding which, to this point, serves as an historical faith but not as a living faith. And so now through direct experience of the Word working in someone’s life that whole structure comes under scrutiny and stress as it needs to accommodate the new revelation that arises when the Word is opened through its practice.
And we see that this is indeed the case for what they testify to is that the Lord has certainly risen and has appeared to Simon. From out of the death of a historical faith, now comes a living faith, that what was seen by Simon that is, what truths testified to intellectually is now known experientially.
And so it is from a Logopraxis perspective, when we take hold of the Word, when we find our task, when we begin to work with it, when we go out into “the way,” so as new insights arise, we return, and begin to see and understand what the implications are for our doctrine. For the things done “in the way” transform us. The things done “in the way” also transforms others. Through the sharing of our direct experience of the Word working in our life others can also be supported and transformed as they too engage and work with the Word.
Verse 35 reads .
“And they related the things done in the way and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread.”
In verse 36 we read…
“but as they thus spoke, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them and says to them, peace be to you.”
When we unfold our experience of the Word to others, so it is that the Lord Himself stands in the midst of them. He rises in our midst, if you like,
“and as He stood in the midst of them, He says to them, peace be to you.”
So it is that the Word speaks “peace.” It seeks our peace. Yet we have to go through a process by which those things in our mind that are opposed to the Word are brought into subjection to it.
And when that subjection is realised, so heaven is realised, this is the peace that the Word speaks into our life. The concept of speaking is one of influx and perception that comes from that influx. So as we perceive what is of heaven drawing nearer, so things come into a different light.
It is as we speak of our experience of the Lord working in our life as the Word that He appears in the midst. And so we’ve come to know Him in a different way. For the Lord appearing is insights arising and as He stands in the midst of us, so to, He orders all things from the centre to the periphery. And in ordering the mind, there is stress and strain placed upon it as we struggle to incorporate new insights into our old understanding of things.
So while the Word looks to bring the peace of heaven, so the mind that is in disorder resists that peace, that movement toward what is higher and seeks to understand things on its own terms. And so it is, we read in verse 37,
“but being terrified and in fear, they thought that they beheld a spirit.”
What can this possibly mean? Well, initially it has to do with something manifesting that is not of an earthly or material nature. It is seen to be otherworldly. Something that stands outside our normal understanding of things. Something that is beyond the capacity of our historical faith to explain and something that to our historical faith appears threatening.
This is the nature of any true spiritual insight for our attachment to our historical faith must be loosened if we are to enter into a living faith. Insights that arise directly from the practice of the Word can call into question long held belief structures. These come under threat when that which is of a living nature approaches. For it is a dead thing until it is resurrected and made living. For it is a dead thing, that sits purely in the understanding. It has to be resurrected. That is, it has to enter into the very life of our being. Otherwise, it just remains knowledge that is contained in the memory and something in the memory is never inside the person.
For something to be integrated into the life of a person the truth of it has to be seen and that truth is the Lord. They thought they “beheld a spirit.” That is, their understanding of things saw this new understanding as something disembodied, so high, so much more deeper was the direct experience of the Lord that the old understanding could not conceive how the letter of the Word could hold it as its body.
The old understanding saw it as something disembodied separated from itself. Yet the Word responds in mercy and love. For in verse 38, the Lord says,
“why are you disturbed and why do reasonings arise in your hearts.”
The new understanding the new insights that are arising out of direct experience of the Lord as the Word working in one’s life needs to be re-grounded in the letter of the Word.
Only now the letter must support a new way of seeing and being. So where the historical faith understanding was once in place now it is being dislodged and what we see is that the Word has to be understood at the level of the letter in a way that supports the new insights.
This is them being terrified and in fear. For to enter into these new insights so that they become integrated into life as our doctrine, there has to be a willingness to let go of the old way of being, the old way of knowing, the old way of seeing which can no longer serve to move the process of the regeneration of the human mind forward.
So the process involves a disconnecting from an old understanding and the integration of new insights into the self same letter that supported the old view. Now it has to be recast so that it can support the new understanding that is a rising out of direct experience. When that new experiential understanding is grounded in the letter of the Word, then it is established in us because it has become integrated into us. No longer will it be disembodied, no longer will it be seen as a spirit, which brings terror and fear, but it will be seen as that which the Lord has implanted within the mind. A doctrine born of life, resurrected from the death of that historical understanding which, was purely constituted of memory knowledge.
The Word places us in front of our disturbed mind. It places us in front of the reasonings that arise of the doubts that we face, and it says to us in verse 39,
“see my hands and my feet, that it is I, myself, handle me and see for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you behold me having.”
and verse 40…
“and as He said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.”
The hands and feet of the Lord are those parts of the Word that are open to us and bring us into connection with the deeper aspects dealing with the processes by which the human mind is regenerated. Those insights, those insights that relate to process are here being reconnected with the hands and feet of the Lord so that they can be seen to be supported by the letter of the Word.
In order to be able to see how new insights relate to the Word we have to follow the Lord’s injunction here and “handle Him.” That is, we have bring our experience into contact with the Word itself, with the letter of the Word, in order that the experience can be validated by the Word itself.
The letter of the Word holds all things within it, that is, every aspect of the processes involved in the regeneration of the human mind can be grounded and seen in the letter itself for the letter affirms and confirms what is of the spirit and so gives the spirit a basis and foundation within which it can sit within the human mind.
But it is not the letter literally understood. It is the letter understood as to its spirit that gives it life. For, as we handle or, engage with the Word, we come to see that it has flesh and bones, that is, it has goods and truths adapted to a natural mode of thinking from which the human mind can be elevated into a genuine spiritual life. For by flesh is to be understood natural forms of good and by bones, natural forms of truth which together forms the ultimates of the Lord’s Divine Natural.
That these ideas that constitute the internal sense of the Word are not something disembodied, they are not spirit in the sense of having no concrete manifestation and so it is, the admonishment is to handle the Word, to work with it, to engage with it. It is only as we do that, that we can come to see that it has flesh and bones, that it is something substantial and real, and something that can absolutely transform our life and understanding of reality.
Flesh and bones refers to the letter of the Word. That letter is present with us, yet through our experience of it, through our direct experience of working with truths from the Word, so the letter arises, is resurrected, becomes Divine in itself. The Word is seen to be the Lord. The important point here is that the letter is not removed, not separated from the spirit, but serves as a body by which the things of the spirit can be known.
The difficulty of integrating new insights continues. Having seen His hands and feet, having experienced His flesh and bones, doubt continues and the struggle to integrate new insights remains. The next phase of the process is one of assimilation. That those elements of the Word that have supported the old understanding have to be assimilated through a process of digestion. They have to enter back into the Word and be reborn as it were, so that they can be seen to be one and the same as the Lord Himself.
And so He requests from them what they possess that is truly His own. There is always a need to hand back to the Lord what we have taken to ourselves and claimed as our own. And so in the midst of our doubt, there arises a sense of the possibility that the Lord Himself is present with us as the Word. Dare we believe it! That He is never far from us and that, even in our darkest hour, we need only turn and acknowledge that He is life Itself, that He has not died and can never die and that He is constantly rising in order to bring new life into our life. And so He asks of us,
“have you here any food?”
And so it is the Word when engaged with questions us, it raises the question, what do you have to give that will nurture and sustain the spiritual life?
Return this to the Lord that His hunger for your salvation might be fulfilled. And what is it we have to give? But a piece of broiled fish and honeycomb. The broiled fish represents those things of the letter of the Word that have been processed through practice. For the broil, something is to cook it through the application of heat.
And as we know, heat is good, and in this case, the good of practice, which prepares the fish or those things of the letter of the Word for their assimilation into the body. This, like all things from the Lord, has to be returned to Him. And in a Logopraxis context it is when we bring what the Lord has given to us through the experience of having worked with something from the Word, we bring that to the group and offer it up back to the Lord in the midst.
It is our willingness to work with the Word, with its truths to examine our life that produces an offering acceptable to the Lord. Its acceptability is in the fact that it is able to bring life to our life. That through an experiential knowledge of the Word we find our salvation. To bring, as it were, broiled fish and to offer our experience through sharing it with our life group is to feed the Lord in each other.
Now, honeycomb represents the delights of the letter of the Word, and it’s the delight that arises from seeing the Word in terms of its application to life whereby new insights are made available. That delight, as much as the broiled fish which are the truths of the Word, needs to be returned to the Lord so that all that is attributed to Him is returned to Him. And when this is done from sincerity of heart, He takes it and He eats it. So verse 43 we read,
“And taking it He did eat before them.”
This describes the assimilation once again of that which is of the Word being restored back through acknowledgement to the Word. For all things received from the Lord are assimilated back into the Lord, and that is described by the process of digestion. That these things are indeed of the Word and not to be taken literally is revealed in verse 44 where it says,
“and He said to them, these, that is the broiled fish and the honeycomb, these are the words which I spoke to you while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses and in the Prophets and in the Psalms concerning Me.”
for when the Word is seen to be the Lord then our understanding is opened.
“He then opened their understanding that they might understand the scriptures. And He said unto them, thus it is written and thus Christ had to suffer and to rise again from the dead the third day. And that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in His name to all the nations beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.”
And so it is that we bear witness to the internal processes involved in the regeneration of the human mind and that we see that the Scriptures describe these processes so far as their spiritual meaning is concerned. For it is only through such an understanding that repentance and forgiveness of sins can take effect throughout the whole of the human mind.
As stated from verse 47,
“and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in His name to all the nations beginning at Jerusalem.”
That Jerusalem being our own understanding of doctrine, that that needs reforming and understanding in the light of spiritual process is clear from what the spiritual meaning of the Word reveals.
To be a witness of these things is to be in their practice so that we are witnesses to the power of the Word to transform our life. That is what we bear witness to. To bear witness means to testify to one’s experience, and in order to do that, one must first have an experience.
The final stage of having truths integrated into the life through their practice is described from verse 49 where it reads,
“and behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you. But sit ye in the city of Jerusalem until you put on power from on high.”
Every authentic, genuine, spiritual experience has to be integrated into the life. And that integration involves a reforming of our understanding of doctrine; doctrine seen in the light of process as opposed to that which is constructed around a historical faith.
That transformation requires a time of contemplation, a time of meditation, a time of sitting in Jerusalem that is sitting with those ideas of a doctrinal nature, that guide and direct our life. As we sit with these,
“behold,” the Lord says, “I send the promise of my Father upon you…” and once that promise has been fulfilled, so there is “power from on high.”
Power from on high relates to the idea that things have been integrated deeply into the life. For on high means within, and it is from within that all that is authentically spiritual can flow forth.
These are the blessings that the Lord bestows upon, those who wait upon Him.
“And He led them out as far as to Bethany and lifting up His hands He blessed them. And it came to pass while He blessed them, He was parted from them and taken up into heaven. And they having worshipped Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy and they were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.”
We see then that the process culminates in the Lord blessing His disciples. This blessing constitutes being endowed with all that is good and true. As those goods and truths fill the regenerate mind, so to the Lord is taken up into heaven. That is, He is seen to be the Word, the Word is seen, to be the Divine Human.
And so He departs from their sight at a sensory level to be held deep within the heart from which all things flow forth. For when the Lord or the Word is seen to be Divine, there is no longer any need for sensory proof. For to enter into a deeper understanding of the Word is to see the Word as the Divine Human itself. The Divine Human passes beyond all comprehension, all understanding, and so all finite forms depicting the Lord are seen to be appearances of the Lord, and the Divine Human is seen to be as it truly is, the infinite and the eternal God. Thus, we have a returning to Jerusalem or a new way of understanding the Sacred Scriptures so that they can be read spiritually rather than naturally. To see the Lord as the Word is to behold Him as that temple in which the Lord is praised and blessed continually.
“See my hands and my feet that it is I myself, handle me and see for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you behold me having.”