John T. Willis

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Jesus Reveals Himself to Cleopas and his Friend on the Road to Emmaus--Luke 24:13-35

After Luke's account of the burial and resurrection of Jesus, Luke reports certain events in which Jesus appeared to various people to demonstrate that God the Father had raised him from the dead. The first report has to do with Jesus meeting Cleopas and his friend as they were going from Jerusalem to Emmaus. This naturally falls into FOUR parts, found in Luke 24:13-35.

I. Jesus meets Cleopas and his friend. Luke 24:13-16.
   a. Luke says that "on that SAME DAY," clearly referring to the first day of the week mentioned in Luke 24:1, connecting the appearance of Jesus Christ risen with the day of the women discovering the empty tomb (Luke 24:5, 10, 12). Two the people who had attended the celebration of the Passover left Jerusalem and were going on the road toward Emmaus, which is approximately seven miles from Jerusalem. Archaeologists do not agree on the location of Emmaus. Of the three main options, most likely this was Ammaous known to Josephus, located 3.5 miles northwest of Jerusalem in the direction of Joppa, called in modern times Kuloniyeh, where Vespasian settled 800 veterans discharged from the Roman army. Emmaus lay on the site of ancient Mozah (Joshua 18:26), and the Hebrew Mishnah says it was the place from which willow branches were brought to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles. [For the different views, see Joseph A. Fitzmyer, S. J., The Gospel according to Luke X-XXIV, The Anchor Bible 28A, pages 1561-1562]. These two men were talking to each other about what had happened while they were in Jerusalem. 24:13-14.
   b. While they were talking, Jesus overtook them from the rear appearing as a pilgrim traveling to and from the annual Passover. When Jesus joined in the conversation, the two men did not recognize who he was because "their eyes were kept from recognizing him." Even though they saw the risen Christ physically, they did not recognize who he was. This calls to mind the occasion on which Mary Magdalene mistook the risen Christ for a gardener in John 20:14-15. 24:15-16.

II. Jesus and the Two Men have a Conversation. Luke 24:17-27.
     a. Jesus asked the two men, "What are you discussing with each other?" They responded by keeping silent and they looked sad. After a little time, one of the two men, a man named Cleopas, responded, saying to Jesus: "Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place in these days?" "Cleopas" is a shortened form of the Greek name "Kleopatros," the masculine form of Cleopatra. Jesus responded, "What things?" Cleopas and his friend replied, "The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel," i. e., deliver Israel from Roman occupation. Right now it is the third day since these things occurred. Some of these statements call to mind Luke 22:71; 23:24-33. 24:17-21.
   b. The two men identify themselves with the group in which the women were at the tomb early this morning. They are not some of the Eleven. The two men tell Jesus that the women found no one in the tomb but that "a vision of angels said Jesus was alive." Some of the people who were in the group of which the two men went to the tomb and found the tomb empty just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus. These two men are still skeptical that God the Father raised Jesus from the dead. 24:22-24.
   c. After hearing this response, Jesus said: "Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared!" The prophets had declared that it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and then enter into his glory. See Luke 17:25; 24:46; Acts 3:18; 17:3; 26:23. The statement that Jesus "entered into his glory" means that he already enjoys the presence of his heavenly Father. Here "glory" represents the term of Jesus' transit to the Father. As an encouragement, just as Jesus Christ had to suffer all this to enter his glory, so every Christian disciple must suffer many afflictions to enter into the kingdom of God--Acts 14:22. Then, Jesus, beginning with Moses and all the prophets, interpreted to these two men the things about Jesus in all the scriptures. 24:25-27.

III. Jesus Shares the Lord's Supper with the Two Men at Emmaus. Luke 24:28-32.
      a. As Jesus and the two men came near to Emmaus, Jesus went on ahead as if he were leaving them to go to his home. But the two men strongly implored Jesus to stay with them because it was almost evening and the day is nearly over. Luke does not tell the audience where this house was located, but obviously it was well-known to the two men. Jesus agreed to stay with them. 24:28-29.
      b. In the normal ancient Near Eastern fashion, Jesus "reclined" at a "table" or couch. Then he took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to the two men. Even though Jesus was the guest, he became the host. Here the risen Jesus Christ is performing the same basic acts that he had performed at the multiplication of the loaves in Luke 9:10-17 and at the Last Supper in Luke 22:7-23. Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. But just as suddenly, Jesus vanished from their sight. 24:30-31.
     c. Then the two men said to each other, Our hearts were burning within us while Jesus was talking to us on the road while Jesus was opening the scriptures to us. 24:32.

IV. Cleopas and his Friend return to Jerusalem. Luke 24:33-35.
       a. Even though it was late in the evening, the two men left Emmaus and returned to Jerusalem. After a little searching, they found the Eleven and their companions gathered together. It is very interesting that Thomas must have been included among the Eleven at that time. 24:33.
       b. The two men told the Eleven and their companions, "The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!" Simon is the first official witness of the resurrection of Jesus. See Matthew 16:16-19; 1 Corinthians 15:4. In this way, Simon reinforces his fellow Apostles--Luke 22:32. 24:34.
       c. Finally, the two men told the Eleven and their companions what had happened in connection with Jesus on the road to Emmaus and how Jesus had made known to them "in the breaking of bread," and not by seeing him. 24:35.

Share YOUR experiences and concepts and shortcomings and fears and beliefs with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis   


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