A 21-year-old musician woke up one morning with a song going around in his head. When he realised it wasn’t a song he knew but a completely new melody, he wrote it down and called it ‘Scrambled Eggs’. His band liked the song and they recorded it. The song was renamed ‘Yesterday’. The band was called ‘The Beatles’. And the young man was Sir Paul McCartney.
You know what a Eureka moment is don’t you? Maybe you call it the ‘aha!’ moment. It is also known as insight or epiphany.
Another example of this is the moment when Albert Einstein got the key to his theory of special relativity. Describing the moment, Scientific American says that Einstein was stuck after months of intense mathematical exercises. Then one day it just happened. “The floodgates in Einstein’s mind opened, and he laid down an ingenious description of the universe.” He was 28 years old and working in a patent office.
Isaac Newton was 23 and lazing in his garden when he saw an apple fall from a tree, and had the idea for gravity.
I don’t know how old Archimedes was when he leapt out of his bath and ran naked through the streets of Syracuse, but it does seem that you need to be relatively young to have this experience.
It is quite common for Christians to be accused of being closed minded. We are accused of rejecting alternative explanations and being intolerant. We are accused of ignoring the evidence that God doesn’t exist. We are berated for our belief that everyone is going to hell unless they repent of their sins and are born again as an obedient follower of Jesus.
Do you agree with that depiction of Christians?
Do you have an open mind? Are you a person with an open mind or a closed mind.
Luke says in verse 45 that the resurrected Jesus opened the minds of his disciples.
This means that their minds were shut and new knowledge couldn’t get in. They couldn’t understand. How many times did the disciples fail to understand? Again and again they were unable to understand what Jesus meant.
Jesus has just walked through a wall, or maybe through a locked door, or maybe he just materialised in front of the disciples. They are frightened. They don’t understand. They can see what is in front of their eyes, but it doesn’t make any sense to them.
They can hear him talking, but they are confused. Their eyes and ears are sending messages to the brain that they cannot interpret.
Jesus looks at them and says, ‘Why are your hearts filled with doubt?’
Their minds are closed.
So what does Jesus do? He opens their minds.
When Jesus opens their minds they can suddenly understand Scripture.
As we said last week, it is the Holy Spirit who reveals Jesus to us. It is not by logic or by study.
You can be an Einstein, a Newton or a Beatle. You can be the greatest Bible scholar ever – Calvin or Luther or Spurgeon. It’s not enough. All the world’s knowledge is not enough to see in an interior way, that he is the One to whom the Scriptures point. Only when the disciples could see that, would they understand that Jesus himself was the Word of God; he was the Word behind the words. When Jesus ‘opened their minds’ they experienced a whole new richness, a new spiritual enrichment, unlike anything else.
Like opening a door or a curtain to reveal what is on the other side, Jesus shows them the truth of his resurrection. It is really him standing there in front of them. It is not a vision or a fantasy. He is substantial. And suddenly they can see the truth. Jesus shines a light into the dark places, and the demons flee. He shines the light and reality is revealed.
The kind of knowledge we receive when Jesus opens our mind is not only intellectual. We are filled with a knowledge of the heart. We are given understanding.
This is how it is for us today. If you want to have an open mind, you have to ask Jesus to open your mind. You need to ask Jesus to show you the truth. You need to ask Jesus to give you knowledge and understanding.
The disciples had a Eureka moment because Jesus gave them one. But I think it is also important to remember that Jesus only gave this experience to people who wanted it. It was only people who sincerely wanted to know the truth who were there in that room. It was only his disciples.
I believe that when Saul had his Eureka moment of the road to Damascus it was because he was with his whole heart trying to serve God. Saul was not hit by lightning. God didn’t strike him down for his ignorance. God enlightened him. Jesus opened his mind and filled it with light and knowledge and understanding.
When Jesus opened the minds of his disciples, they understood not only Scripture but Jesus.
Luke says: “It was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations.”
As Jesus opens their minds, their minds are changed.
When Jesus opens your mind, your mind is changed.
In verse 47 we read what the message is that Jesus said will be proclaimed to all the nations: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’
The word ‘repentance’ in this sentence means ‘change of mind’.
The message that is to be told to all people in all nations is that Jesus can change your mind.
Jesus can open your mind. Jesus who is a real, substantial person can open your mind and change it, so that it is filled with knowledge and understanding.
And when your mind is changed another thing can happen. You will be released from slavery.
That is what the word forgiveness means. You will be set free. You will be set free from slavery to superstitions and lies. You will be set free from ignorance.
You will be let out of prison. Your sins will be dealt with.
Your sins will lose all power over you. What sins? This word includes all the wrong ways you think when your mind is closed and filled with doubt and ignorance. This word sin includes all the feelings you have that are selfish, arrogant, unholy. And it includes all the wrong actions of your life that result from the darkness of your soul, the ignorance of your mind.
When you receive Jesus, he will forgive your sins.
He does it every time you receive him. As we welcome Jesus he opens our minds. He fills us with light. He sends us out to perform right actions that result from having a heart and soul that is full of light, and a mind filled with knowledge and understanding.
Jesus tells his disciples they are witnesses of these things. He promises that now that their minds have been opened they will be filled with power from heaven.
This is the promise for you.
What you have to do is trust Jesus. Allow Jesus to approach you. Be humble. Desire to be changed. Desire to let go of sin and be filled with light. It doesn’t matter if your actions are so wrong that you are going around murdering Christians. That is what Saul was doing.
It matters if you will allow Jesus to open your mind and change it. It matters if you will be a witness to these things in all countries. If you aren’t telling others, it probably means you have not yet repented and been changed and set free from sin.
Call out to Jesus to save you by opening your mind. Only Christians in this world truly have open minds. The real Eureka moment is when you understand Jesus and his mission.
His mission is your mission and his authority is your authority.
Our work is to be disciples and make disciples. Our work is to go and tell people the message that if they repent, Jesus will change them and set them free.