Sermon, Scripture & Exegesis
On the Road to Emmaus
13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.17 He asked them, "What are you discussing together as you walk along?" 18 They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, "Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?"19 "What things?" he asked. 20 "About Jesus of Nazareth," they replied. "He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn't find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see."25He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. 28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. 29But they urged him strongly, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them.30When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were o pened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, "It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon." 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
The first resurrection appearance recorded in Luke’s Gospel is found here in 24:13–35. Two people are traveling to Emmaus from Jerusalem. The distance of sixty stadia is about seven miles. As they travel, they are discussing the events of the previous day, and Jesus catches up with them as they journey. They cannot recognize Jesus, not because he looks different, but because in God’s sovereignty they are prevented from identifying him. When Jesus inquires about the topic of their conversation, Cleopas (cf. John 19:25, which may refer to the same person; the identity of Cleopas’s partner is unknown, but perhaps it was his wife) responds by identifying Jesus as a prophet through whom God has worked in a mighty way. Nevertheless, he has been executed by the religious leaders, indicating that he could not have been the Messiah (24:21). To make matters worse, some women are saying that this Jesus is alive. They are right that the tomb is empty, but such a report could not be believed because no one has seen Jesus. The “unknown” Jesus counters the belief of these two by pointing to the Scriptures. The Old Testament Scriptures clearly teach that the Messiah must suffer before he enters into glory. For the texts that Jesus used, one should probably refer to the speeches in the book of Acts (Acts 2:14–39; 3:12–26; 13:16–41). The two persuade Jesus to spend the evening with them, and in a scene that recalls the Last Supper, they recognize him as he breaks bread and gives thanks. These two people, however, were probably not present at the Last Supper, and thus they may simply be recalling being with Jesus on other occasions when he gave thanks. Jesus immediately vanishes, and they decide to return to Jerusalem and tell the others the good news. But when they arrive the Eleven speak first, informing them that the Lord has arisen and has “appeared to Simon” (24:34). Then the two companions relate the story of their encounter with Jesus (24:35).