Making sense

The three saddest words in Scripture, or in our lives, are. “We had hoped….” For these travelers, it is “we had hoped he was the one to redeem Israel.”   “We had hoped,” but those hopes were dashed upon the wood of the cross and buried in a tomb. Now they are walking away from the rumors of Resurrection in a slow descent into despair. For years, the power of God had seemed so close. The disciples saw the miracles, heard the preaching, saw Lazarus emerge from the tomb, and so much more. Now it all lays powerless in the tomb. “We had hoped…” Continue reading

Where do you look?

Our gospel on this 3rd Sunday of Easter is St. Luke’s telling of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. It is a story about a journey of faith even as it is a journey to faith. The thing about journeys is that you often do not realize that you are on one, or if you do, may not recognize that the nature of the journey has changed. The two disciples had journeyed to Jerusalem with one set of hopes and expectations. They were following Jesus, were in Jerusalem for the events of Holy Week, and saw one journey seemingly end at Golgotha.  Continue reading

Emmaus: at table

At The Table With Jesus The disciples are struck by what Jesus has said and ask him to stay with them even has he appears to be traveling on. Alan Culpepper (479) offers an interesting insight into the simple passage (v.28):

Jesus’ first action is probably significant both thematically and theologically. He “walked ahead as if he were going on.” On the surface it is a gesture of social deference and polish. It implies that Jesus was not really going further but that he would not impose on the disciples to offer him hospitality. In Near Eastern customs, the guest was obligated to turn down such an invita­tion until it was vigorously repeated (see Gen 19:2-3). Theologically, Jesus’ action demonstrates that he never forces himself upon others. Faith must always be a spontaneous, voluntary response to God’s grace. Thematically, the action is sugges­tive, because all the way through the Gospel Jesus has been going further. When the people at Naz­areth rejected him, Jesus “passed through the midst of them and went on his way” (4:30). When the crowds wanted to prevent Jesus from leaving them, he responded, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also” (4:43). He preached in synagogues and with­drew to desert places to pray (4:44; 5:16). In Galilee he was constantly on the move, and from Luke 9:51 until 19:44 he is on the way to Jerusalem. The Lukan Jesus, therefore, was always going further, and in the book of Acts the gospel of Jesus will spread “to the ends of the earth.” Continue reading

On the way: the Word

he_qi_road_to_emmausLuke sets the scene with markers of time (that very day), place (on the road between Jerusalem and Emmaus) and situation – two disciples who earlier had been with the disciples, heard the women’s testimony and apparently discounted their testimony has idle wistfulness. The community of believers has been fractured.

Unable to see. Elsewhere in the Gospel according to Luke “eyes” and “sight” have been correlated with comprehension, faith and salvation (cf. 1:78-79; 2:30; 6:39-42; 10:23; 11:34; 18:35-42; 10:42). For most the gospel referred to as the “Journey to Jerusalem” (9:51 – 18:14) the disciples have witnesses Jesus’ teaching, mighty deeds, and revelation of his heavenly Father. But in the earliest hours of the new world order after the Resurrection, the two disciples do not recognize Jesus. Their eyes are “prevented” from seeing, an expression for spiritual blindness. It ironic that the two travelers consider themselves the truly knowledgeable ones who are shocked that this fellow traveler has no idea of the very public events of the last three days. While they understand the details of the events from a human perspective, they are truly unaware of those event’s meaning. Continue reading

On the way: context

he_qi_road_to_emmausLuke 24:13-35  13 Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, 14 and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. 15 And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, 16 but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him. 17 He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?” They stopped, looking downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?” 19 And he replied to them, “What sort of things?” They said to him, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him. 21 But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. 22 Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning 23 and did not find his body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. 24 Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.” Continue reading

Recognizing the journey

he_qi_road_to_emmausOur gospel on this 3rd Sunday of Easter is St. Luke’s telling of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. It is a story about a journey of faith even as it is a journey to faith. The thing about journeys is that you often do not realize that you are on one, or if you do, may not recognize that the nature of the journey has changed. The two disciples had journeyed to Jerusalem with one set of hopes and expectations. They were following Jesus, were in Jerusalem for the events of Holy Week, and saw one journey seemingly end at Golgotha.

But on the third day, when the reports began to filter into the community of believers, what journey did they begin? Or did they recognize that the original journey was simply becoming clearer? It is the same day that the women discovered the empty tomb, were told Jesus had risen by two dazzling angels, and ran to tell the other disciples. How is it that, instead of a journey of joy, the walk to Emmaus scene is more like a trudge of disappointment? Had the journey of faith been derailed? Had the road zigged when they zagged? Continue reading

Emmaus: at table

emaus02At The Table With Jesus The disciples are struck by what Jesus has said and ask him to stay with them even has he appears to be traveling on. Alan Culpepper (479) offers an interesting insight into the simple passage (v.28):

Jesus’ first action is probably significant both thematically and theologically. He “walked ahead as if he were going on.” On the surface it is a gesture of social deference and polish. It implies that Jesus was not really going further but that he would not impose on the disciples to offer him hospitality. In Near Eastern customs, the guest was obligated to turn down such an invita­tion until it was vigorously repeated (see Gen 19:2-3). Theologically, Jesus’ action demonstrates that he never forces himself upon others. Faith must always be a spontaneous, voluntary response to God’s grace. Thematically, the action is sugges­tive, because all the way through the Gospel Jesus has been going further. When the people at Naz­areth rejected him, Jesus “passed through the midst of them and went on his way” (4:30). When the crowds wanted to prevent Jesus from leaving them, he responded, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also” (4:43). He preached in synagogues and with­drew to desert places to pray (4:44; 5:16). In Galilee he was constantly on the move, and from Luke 9:51 until 19:44 he is on the way to Jerusalem. The Lukan Jesus, therefore, was always going further, and in the book of Acts the gospel of Jesus will spread “to the ends of the earth.” Continue reading

Emmaus: on the way

he_qi_road_to_emmausCommentary. Luke sets the scene with markers of time (that very day), place (on the road between Jerusalem and Emmaus) and situation – two disciples who earlier had been with the disciples, heard the women’s testimony and apparently discounted their testimony has idle wistfulness. The community of believers has been fractured.

Unable to see. Elsewhere in the Gospel according to Luke “eyes” and “sight” have been correlated with comprehension, faith and salvation (cf. 1:78-79; 2:30; 6:39-42; 10:23; 11:34; 18:35-42; 10:42). For most the gospel referred to as the “Journey to Jerusalem” (9:51 – 18:14) the disciples have witnesses Jesus’ teaching, mighty deeds, and revelation of his heavenly Father. But in the earliest hours of the new world order after the Resurrection, the two disciples do not recognize Jesus. Their eyes are “prevented” from seeing, an expression for spiritual blindness. It ironic that the two travelers consider themselves the truly knowledgeable ones who are shocked that this fellow traveler has no idea of the very public events of the last three days. While they understand the details of the events from a human perspective, they are truly unaware of those event’s meaning. Continue reading

The Gospel of Luke – The Road to Emmaus

 

In Luke’ narrative there is no account of the Resurrection; there in only the empty tomb – which is not the source of faith for people in Luke’s rendering of the gospel. Rather, in Luke’s gospel it is the empty tomb and the encounter with the person of the Risen Jesus.

The empty tomb is what Jesus had said would happen “on the third day.”  The event of its discovery points back to Jesus’ word.  A word mostly fully realized later in the ‘breaking of the bread.”

Luke 24:13 Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus,14 and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred.15 And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,16 but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.17 He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?” They stopped, looking downcast.18 One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?”19 And he replied to them, “What sort of things?” They said to him, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,20 how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him.21 But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. Continue reading