On the road to Emmaus, Helge Boe
Something happened at Emmaus that no-one could explain. Two disciples saw, talked with and shared a meal with Jesus, whose dead body had gone missing that morning. How was this possible?
On the road to Emmaus
The resurrection occurred very early on Sunday morning.
On this same day, two disheartened people were walking along the road that led to the town of Emmaus, about 7 or 8 miles north-west of Jerusalem (see the remains of the original road leading towards the town of Emmaus below right).
One of them was called Cleopas, and may well have been the husband of the faithful women, ‘the wife of Cleopas’, who stood at the cross, watching as Jesus died.
They were joined by a man they did not recognise. It was Jesus, but they failed to perceive his identity, which suggests he appeared in a form that was different to the one they were used to. Mark’s gospel says that ‘Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. They returned and reported it to the rest, but they did not believe them either… (Mark 16:12-13).
What this different form was, we do not know. All we know is that ‘their eyes were kept from recognizing him’.
The two travellers were talking about recent events in Jerusalem – the death of Jesus of Nazareth and the fact that Jesus’ tomb had been found empty. There was a report from women disciples that they had seen angels, but this was dismissed as improbable.
When the male disciples had checked, there had been no sign of Jesus, whose body had disappeared.
See the blue text in What The Gospels Say at end of page
Jesus guides their understanding
As they walked on, the unrecognised figure of Jesus chided them for rejecting the words of the prophets, who had foretold the wretched treatment that awaited the suffering Messiah. He went through the main books of the Jewish Scriptures and pointed out that suffering was a prelude to the glorious arrival of the Messiah.
The disciples and Jesus on the road to Emmaus If they knew their Scriptures, why would they be surprised at what had happened to this Jesus of Nazareth?
In essence, the mysterious stranger
- walked the road with them
- listened to them
- and searched the Scriptures with them.
Without realizing it, they began to understand.
See the green text in What The Gospels Say at end of page