Looking for Jesus in All the Wrong Places
First is the text itself, this week the Gospel reading. Followed by my commentary and suggestions for preaching. Don’t skip the extensive notes at the end because they contain a good deal of background material on Luke’s story that can also be used in the sermon.
As usual, comments are welcome.
Third Sunday of Easter, Year A
Acts 2:14a, 36-41
Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19
1 Peter 1:17-23
The Walk to Emmaus
13Now[a] on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus,[b] about seven miles[c] from Jerusalem, 14and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15While[d] they were talking and discussing,[e] Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16but their eyes were kept from recognizing him.[f]
17And he said to them, “What are you discussing[g] with each other while you walk along?”
They stood still, looking sad.[h] 18Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas,[i] answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem[j] who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?”
19He[k] asked them, “What things?”
They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who[l] was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21But we had hoped[m] that he was the one to redeem Israel.[n] Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. 22Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They[o] were at the tomb early this morning, 23and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. 24Some[p] of those who were with us went to the tomb[q] and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.”
25Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart[r] to believe[s] all that the prophets have declared! 26Was it not necessary[t] that the Messiah[u] should suffer[v] these things and then enter into his glory?”[w] 27Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted[x] to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.
28As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if[y] he were going on.[z] 29But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.”[aa] So he went in to stay with them.
30When he was at the table with them,[bb] he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.[cc] 31Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him;[dd] and he vanished[ee] from their sight.[ff] 32They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?”
33That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!”[gg] 35Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
Notes and thoughts for a sermon on this passage
First a few bits from the textual notes below that could also be used in the sermon itself. I think of this kind of information as providing the background, “color,” or context for a Bible passage. They help create the setting for the story or teachings of Jesus so that people know why and to whom he (or his biographer) said it.
1. V. 13, There is much scholarly debate about which town is meant by “Emmaus.” There are at least three separate contenders that have names similar to that, and none of them are sixty stadia (about 11 kilometers, seven miles) from Jerusalem. A stadion (στάδιον) was a unit of distance about 607 feet (187 meters) long.[hh]
2. I know it’s just a story, but there is also some geographical difficulty in the disciples walking the seven miles (sixty “stadia”) out to Emmaus, having dinner with Jesus, and then walking eight miles back to Jerusalem again, all in the same evening. (But perhaps they were a bit younger and in better shape than I am.)
3. V. 15, “Talking and discussing.” (en tōi homilein autous kai sunzētein) “This term suggests emotional dialogue and can thus probably be translated ‘debated’”.[ii] “They were not just talking; they were communing [homileo]; they were sharing with one heart. The Latin root for commune means to be united as one. These two disciples had hearts that were broken together. Those hearts, in mending, would meld together.”[jj] In the N.T. this word is found only here and Acts 20:11; 24:26. It’s interesting that our word, “homiletics” is from this word (homileo). Perhaps one learning from this is that originally “preaching” was not hortatory, or declamatory, but conversational.[kk] The net Bible notes add “these things” to what they were “talking and discussing,” because something like that is implied, and also, “Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context.”
4. V. 16: “Their eyes were kept from recognizing him.” (ekratounto tou mē epignōnai auton). Fitzmyer interprets this as, their eyes “were held back, restrained.” “They are being acted upon. God prevents them from seeing what would otherwise be obvious.”[ll] Goebel translates the phrase, “‘They were not given the strength to get the point.’[mm] See also, 9:45; 18:34; John 20:14-15.
“Throughout the gospel, Luke has played on the theme of seeing. See also 9:45; 18:34; 23:8, 35, 47-49. Now he articulates this theme in vv. 23-24, 31, 32 and 35 as he tells how the risen Christ opens the eyes of disciples to see his true meaning in God’s plan; however their eyes are only opened when they show hospitality to a stranger. See also:
· John 20:14 (“When she [Mary] had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus”) and
· 21:4 (“Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus”).[nn]
5. V. 18, “Cleopas.” Historians have no idea who this person is, but it is interesting to note that his name is the masculine form for “Cleopatra.” Various attempts have been made to identify the two of them as husband and wife, for the following reasons:
a. John 19:25 identifies one of the witnesses of Jesus' death as the wife of Clopas (but note the difference in spelling, which weakens the argument).
b. Couples, such as Prisca and Aquila, are occasionally mentioned in the NT.
c. The two offer hospitality jointly as would a husband and wife.[oo]
Others have tried to identify him with “Klopas, the name of the husband or father of one of the Marys who stood at the cross of Jesus in John 19:25; and others with Peter (who was, as you probably know, first known as Cephas, a somewhat similar sounding name).
But all of these theories are impossible to prove. However, for Fitzmyer, its mystery underscores that Luke did not make this story up. If it was a completely fabricated story, as opposed to one received from his “L” tradition, then he would have invented two names instead of one, or used no names at all. Writers typically don’t intentionally make up confusing pieces of data to put in their stories. If they do put in some unexplained element, it is usually for a larger meaning or affect. If that was what Luke was doing, he was so unsuccessful at it that no one has figured it out in over two thousand years.[pp]
6. V. 29: “It is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” “Lit. ‘it is toward evening, and (the day) has declined.’ In Jewish calendaric reckoning this would mean that ‘the first day of the week’ (24:1) has come to an end; but Luke disregards that, considering the hours after sundown as part of the same day.”[qq]
7. Vv. 30-31, After the breaking of bread, they were able to see him, but only for a moment, and then “He vanished,” (autos afantos). He became invisible, he disappeared from their sight. It’s not clear that he actually, literally, became not there, but that he simply became not able to be seen by their sight. I like the translation of Goebel who I cite above in the notes, “They were not given the strength to get the point.”[rr]
Insight: Perhaps the implication is that after they have discovered how and where they could see him (in the breaking of the bread), they no longer needed to see him physically. This would parallel Craddock’s suggestion that the reason for the story was to show that future generations of followers did not have to see the physical Jesus in order to know him, but that from now on he could also be known in the breaking of the bread. Once you have encountered him, you no longer need the physical Jesus to get you through the day. “His presence at the table makes all believers first-generation Christians and every meeting place Emmaus.”[ss]
Suggestions and Directions for the Sermon:
So, I would start with some of these background setting pieces:
· the name Emmaus, no one knows where it is.
· The eight-mile walk, hard to do late at night
· Who is Cleopas? Mary’s father/husband, Clopas? Klopas? Cephas?
Then I would walk through the story itself, highlighting, and finally asking, why didn’t these two followers recognize Jesus as Jesus?
The theme throughout the story is that Jesus walked with them for some time before they recognized him. What blocked their seeing him? Why didn’t they know it was him? That is also the question raised in the resurrection stories. Why didn’t the people at the tomb recognize the resurrected Jesus? For example:
· At the tomb, Mary saw Jesus but thought he was the gardener (John 20:14)
· In John 21 Jesus met the Disciples out on a beach and they looked right at him, but didn’t recognize him. Why didn’t they know who he was?
Were they not ready? If so, an interesting homiletical question to ask is, why? What kept them from being ready? What keeps us from being ready to see Jesus? In this story it took something as mundane and ordinary as eating dinner together. Or (given the sacramental language used in the description of the meal) was it more than a mundane meal? All powerful and interesting questions that can be raised in a sermon.
These two on the road to Emmaus were good people. Faithful people. They were followers of Jesus. Not disciples, exactly, but people who had gone into Jerusalem, perhaps just because of the festival, and while there became believers. Somehow they had encountered the Jesus people in the city and had accepted the fact of his resurrection. But here he was, the resurrected Jesus, standing next to them and talking to them and they didn’t know who he was. They somehow couldn’t see him. They couldn’t recognize him. Why could they know with their brains that Jesus had been resurrected, but not be able to see with their eyes that he was standing there present with them?
Maybe here is where the other two examples (Mary at the tomb, and the disciples on the beach) should be shared.
There are (at least) two different reasons for not recognizing Jesus.
First is a “Thomas-type” proof or evidence-needing way of thinking.
I have occasionally said to one of my congregations, “we have a great crowd here at worship. Why is it that you people see something but the rest of the town does not (at least I hope you do)?” What is the answer to that question?
Perhaps you’d want to say simply that you people are smart and the rest of the community is stupid (not an impossible claim, by the way, but little tasteless to pronounce from the pulpit).
But it may also be related to your having a different kind of intelligence. Maybe not quantifiable brightness, but qualifiable. That is, something not measurable, like with yard sticks and scales, but intuitive, like beauty and wisdom. Not math and test tubes, but aesthetics and mystery. I have a hunch that true belief (and wisdom) is not based on math and physics, but on the ability to accept and affirm depth and mystery.
When I used to be a campus minister I once helped with a fundraiser for the Campus Ministry Center by offering to write a song for the person of the highest bidder’s choice. The winning bid was $10. (I thought I was worth more than that, but that’s another story). The person who won was a young woman and she wanted me to write it to her boyfriend. I hesitated because I said, well, I somehow thought it would be from a male to a female, and I’m not all that good at writing love stuff to anyone, let alone another guy. So I said, “why do you even need me to write this kind of letter for you?” She said, tellingly, “because I’m an engineering major. We don’t do love letters.”
She had a point. There are certain fields and certain ways of thinking that don’t lend themselves to aesthetics and art and beauty. The Bible is a work of art and poetry, metaphor and architype. Values and principles. It is not a book of rules and regulations and laws. People who try to scour it down into the weeds to find those obscure and rare condemnations of things like Homosexuality or divorce largely tend miss the larger points of grace and acceptance and love.
Here are a few stories that might get at that.
- · A debate a few years ago in Kansas over whether or not to teach Evolution or Intelligent Design in the schools. Inn reading about the debate, I saw that one scientist, from one of the universities in Kansas, had testified trying to describe the difference between science and religion this way. He said that when he talks about water, he says that water is a molecule. It is made up of 2 atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen bonded together. The bonds which hold the hydrogen and oxygen together are called covalent bonds - they are very strong. It can be a solid (ice), a liquid (water), and gas (steam).
The water molecule maintains a bent shape (bent at 107.5 degrees actually) because of the tetrahedral arrangement around the oxygen and because of the presence of lone pair electrons on the oxygen.
The “Lone Pair Electrons” are the electrons that are not involved in the covalent bonds. The pairs of electrons are left alone. These lone pairs are very negative. They contain two negative electrons each, and want to stay away from each other as much as possible. These repulsive forces act to push the hydrogens closer together.
But when he asks his mother what is water, she says water is what you use when you don’t feel good and you want to drink some hot tea.
The point is that both are true, but are defined differently according to the setting, the use, the need of the speaker.
- Then there’s a story of St. Augustine, who in university tried to read the Bible but was unimpressed. He told his teacher, Ambrose, that the Bible says “Whosoever shall say to his brother, You fool, shall be in danger of hell fire” (Matthew 5:22). How can you justify that? To which Ambrose responded essentially that, your problem is that when you read the Bible and you see the word “fish” you think “fish.” And when you see the word “bread” you think “bread.” In other words, you don’t understand the deep metaphorical meaning of the Bible.
- When some people read Flannery O’Connor, they see that when she is talking about an ash tray it is a symbol for Ash Wednesday. When she is talking about a river it is a metaphor for baptism. But others think she’s talking about cigarettes and fishing holes.
- Story of Jesus in chapter 11 of John: He is in prayer; God is speaking to him. John the gospel writer comments on this saying that some people saw this and heard God’s voice and said he was in prayer and the noise was the voice of God. But others heard it and thought it was thunder. What you hear, what you believe in, whether you live with a trust in the resurrection depends on what you are able to hear and understand.
- Then there are these very fine quotes about science and God from the movie, “Contact,” based on Carl Sagan's 1985 novel of the same name:
Ellie Arroway: I read your book.
Palmer Joss: Here we go.
Ellie: You want me to quote you? "Ironically, the thing people are most hungry for - meaning - is the one thing science hasn't been able to give them."
Ellie: [humorously] Come on! It's like you're saying that science killed God. What if science simply revealed that He never existed in the first place?
Palmer: I think we're gonna need to get some air.
Palmer: [takes two champagne glasses] And a few more of these...
Palmer: I'm not against technology, doctor. I'm against the men who deify it at the expense of human truth.
Palmer: [Ellie challenges Palmer to prove the existence of God] Did you love your father?
Palmer: Your dad. Did you love him?
Ellie: Yes, very much.
Palmer: Prove it.
Second Type: Looking for Jesus in all the wrong places
Some people need big grand awesome displays of God’s Glory. They want magic tricks, not Jesus. They have a belief in an image of Christ that is not actually Jesus. Their expectations of Jesus actually blind them to the real Jesus.
Does that describe you or me? What kinds of expectations could blind us of him? In that case, did God “blind” us to set us up to be taught something?[xlvi]
Two suggestions for stories that you might tell:
1. Joke about the drunk who lost his keys by his car in the rain and looks for them thirty feet away under a street light. When someone comes to help him and sees him looking way over there, and not here, where he lost the keys, he replies, “because the light is better here.” Usually that joke applies to people who are asking questions that do not apply to the problem.
2. Joke about the man in the flood who turned away friends, a boat and a helicopter saying I’m a Christian and God won’t let me die. Then he dies. When he gets to heaven, he asks St. Peter why Jesus didn’t come nd save him, and Peter says “we sent you some friends, a boat and a helicopter, what more do you want?” He didn’t really want Jesus (who had actually come in the form of all of those rescuers), what he wanted was a big extravagant miracle.
These people see Jesus more as a body guard, than as a companion. They believe that if they pray, give money to the church, etc. then Jesus will not let the bad guys hurt them. Then when the inevitable hurt comes (and hurt is inevitable), they fire the body guard. They think Jesus let them down because they expected Jesus to protect them from bad stuff, something he seldom, if ever, will do. Jesus did not promise to be a body guard. Jesus promised to be a companion. Jesus did not promise to beat up on all of the bad guys and keep them from hurting us. He promised to be with us during those times when we get hurt.
In the terms of this story today, Jesus was not made known to them in the whirlwind, or the mountains, or the thunder, but in the breaking of the bread.
Exegetical and textual notes
[a] “Now” (καί kai). copulative conj. And or also. It has been translated as “now” in most modern translations (the kjv had “And behold”) so that it might indicate a transition in time to a new topic.
[b] There is much scholarly debate about which town is meant by “Emmaus.” There are at least three separate contenders and none are “about seven miles” from Jerusalem. See a discussion of each in Fitzmyer, Joseph. Anchor Bible: The Gospel According to Luke: X-XXIV, [New York: Doubleday, 1979], pp. 1561-2. There is also some geographical difficulty in the disciples walking seven miles out to Emmaus, having dinner with Jesus, and then walking seven miles back to Jerusalem again, all in the same evening. But perhaps they were a bit younger than I am.
[c] “About seven miles” (stadious hexēkonta). About sixty “stadia.” There are other less well attested mss, which read “a hundred sixty stadia.” A stadion (στάδιον, stadion) is 600 Greek feet, 625 Roman feet, 607 English feet, or 185 meters, therefore roughly 6.8 miles, and 160 stadia would be roughly 18.4 (Fitzmyer, p. 1561).
[d] “While.” The kjv has the more traditional-sounding “and it came to pass.” Others had “And it happened that while…” The introductory phrase used here (ἐγένετο egeneto), is found 69 times in Luke and 54 in Acts, but it sounds redundant in contemporary English. Also, “Here” (καί, kai) is not translated because of differences between Greek and English style (NET Bible).
[e] “Talking and discussing.” (en tōi homilein autous kai sunzētein) “This term suggests emotional dialogue and can thus be translated “debated’” (NET Notes). “They were not just talking; they were communing [homileo]; they were sharing with one heart. The Latin root for commune means to be united as one. These two disciples had hearts that were broken together. Those hearts, in mending, would meld together.” (Jerry Goebel, http://onefamilyoutreach.com, 2005). In the N.T. this word is found only here and Acts 20:11; 24:26. “Our word homiletics is derived from this word for preaching which was at first largely conversational in style and not declamatory” (A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures In The New Testament, Vol. 2: The Gospel According to Luke, [New York: Richard R. Smith, 1930]). The NET adds that they were talking and discussing “these things,” because it is implied and “Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context.”
[f] “Their eyes were kept from recognizing him.” ( ekratounto tou mē epignōnai auton). Fitzmyer says their eyes “were held back, restrained.” “They are being acted upon. God prevents them from seeing what would otherwise be obvious” (Richard Donovan, Sermonwriter: Resources For Lectionary Preaching, Third Sunday Of Easter, Year A, April 14, 2002, volume 6, number 15, issn 1071-9962, www.lectionary.org). Goebel translates the phrase, “‘They were not given the strength to get the point.’ Even better, one might say of a marksman; ‘Without glasses, he couldn’t even see the target—let alone hit it!’” (http://onefamilyoutreach.com). See also, 9:45; 18:34; John 20:14-15.
[g] “What are you discussing.” (τίνες οἱ λόγοι οὗτοι οὓς ἀντιβάλλετε, tines oi logoi outoi ous antiballete). The word, antiballete is more intense than just “discussing.” Could also refer to “question/questioning” (Mark 1:27, Mark 8:11, Mark 9:16, Mark 9:10, Mark 9:14), “dispute/disputing” (Acts 9:29, Acts 6:9), “inquiring” (Luke 22:23), debating.
[h] “…while you walk along. They stood still, looking sad.” Some manuscripts have “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along looking sad?” According to the second reading, the two travelers “stand still for a moment in silence, displeased on being interrupted in their conversation by a stranger; then the silence is broken by the reply of Cleopas” (Bruce Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Second Edition a Companion Volume to the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament (4th Rev. Ed.), 158 [London; New York: United Bible Societies, 1994]).
[i] “Cleopas.” Historians have no idea who this person is, but it is interesting to note that his name is the masculine form for “Cleopatra.” Various attempts have been made to identify the two of them as husband and wife, for the following reasons: (1) John 19:25 identifies one of the witnesses of Jesus' death as the wife of Clopas (note the difference in spelling, which weakens the argument). (2) Couples, such as Prisca and Aquila, are occasionally mentioned in the NT. (3) The two offer hospitality jointly as would a husband and wife (Dianne Bergant, Preaching the New Lectionary, Year A (Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 2001), p. 170). Others have tried to identify him with “Klopas, the name of the husband or father of one of the Marys who stood at the cross of Jesus in John 19:25; and others with Peter, but all are impossible to prove. Its mystery, however, underscores for Fitzmyer that Luke did not make this story up. If it was a completely fabricated story, as opposed to one received from his “L” tradition, then he would have invented two names or used no names at all. (See Fitzmyer, p. 1565.)
[j] “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem…” (su monos paroikeis ierousalom). “Lit., ‘are you sojourning alone in Jerusalem and have not learned…?’ The vb. paroikein often means to inhabit a place without citizenship, dwell as a resident alien; it can also be used of temporary visitors” (Fitzmyer, p. 1564). “This passage is heavy with irony. Cleopas assumes that Jesus is ‘the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days,’ when, in fact, Jesus is the only person who truly understands those events. Cleopas is the one who is ignorant” (Richard Donovan, www.lectionary.org.).
[k] “He.” Actually preceded by καί kai but once again it was not translated because of differences between Greek and English style.
[l] “Who” The Greek precedes “who” with ἀνήρ, anēr, and should read, “a man who….”
[m] “We had hoped.” (emeis de elpizomen). “The imperfect of hope (elpizomen) implies that they “were hoping” or “kept hoping” in the past. The crucifixion of Jesus was a loss of hope. The resurrection of Jesus restores hope. He is no longer dead. However, note that just the appearance of the risen Jesus was not enough to restore faith and hope -- they don’t even know who he is” (Donovan, Lectionary.org).
[n] “To redeem Israel.” (lutrossthai ton Israel). The nrsv alternative is to set Israel free. Loew-Nida agrees and offers, “to set free, to liberate, to deliver, liberation, deliverance” (Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament : Based on Semantic Domains, 2nd edition. (New York: United Bible societies, 1996), 1:487).
[o] “They.” In the Greek text this is a continuation of the previous sentence, but because of the length and complexity of the construction a new sentence was started here in the translation” (NET Bible Note).
[p] The Greek adds “then” (kai), but it was once again deleted for English stylistic reasons.
[q] “Some of those who were with us went to the tomb.” Slightly contradicts v. 12, which indicates that only Peter went to the tomb. But the discrepancy also contributes evidence that Luke is not creating the story, but repeating it (with his own redactions) from his tradition.
[r] “Slow of heart” (bradeis to kardia) “Your heart is dull and slow to respond to these testimonies of your own prophets. Compare hardiness of heart, Mark 16:14” Vincent, op. cit.).
[s] “Believe” (pisteúō). To believe is here in the dative signifying belief in the facts or data of an issue, not coming to faith or believing in something. In this case: believing the facts on the pages of scripture, not coming to believe in the risen Christ.
[t] “Necessary” (dei). For the second time in the chapter, Luke notes how these events were necessary (compare v. 7) (IVP Commentary on Luke).
[u] Or Christ
[v] “The Messiah should suffer…” Fitzmyer believes that “The notion of a suffering messiah is not found in the OT or in any texts of pre-Christian Judaism” (Fitzmyer, p. 1565). Others, however, have pointed to the “Servant Songs” of Isaiah as a precursor to the idea that a Messiah must suffer.
[w] “Then enter into his glory?” “Luke 9:26 …makes it clear that ‘glory’ is the condition of Jesus as ‘Messiah’ or “Son of “Man.’ I.e. that he already enjoys the company of his heavenly Father. … ‘Glory’ (doxa) is the splendor associated with the presence of Yahweh in the OT, and even in an eschatological sense…. Here ‘glory’ represents the term of Jesus’ transit to the Father; his destiny has been reached….Even while he converses on the road to Emmaus, he tells the disciples that he has already entered upon that status—he is in ‘glory,’ and from there he appears to them’” (Fitzmyer, p. 1566).
[x] “Interpreted” (diērmēneusen). “To explain on a more extensive and formal level the meaning of something which is particularly obscure or difficult to comprehend” (Louw-Nida, Greek-English Lexicon. Note that the verb is in the imperfect form, meaning that it starts in the past and continues in the present. “He went on interpreting from passage to passage” (Vincent, Word Studies). Not that he did it once and for all, but he continued doing something that had been his custom.
[y] “As if” (prosepoiesato). Pretends. NIV has “acted as if.”
[z] “He walked ahead as if he were going on.” “The pretense is a literary foil for the disciples to urge him to stay with them; they so react out of a motive of hospitality for a stranger” (Fitzmyer, p. 1567).
[aa] “It is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” “Lit. ‘it is toward evening, and (the day) has declined.’ In Jewish calendaric reckoning this would mean that ‘the first day of the week’ (24:1) has come to an end; but Luke disregards that, considering the hours after sundown as part of the same day” (Fitzmyer, p. 1566).
[bb] “When he was at the table with them” (egeneto en to kataklithonai auton met), lit. to recline down, specifically at a table.
[cc] “He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.” “This is Eucharistic language. Normally, the host would perform these actions in a home and the celebrant would perform them in a worship service. Jesus, the guest, becomes the host at this table” (Italics mine; Donovan, Lectionary.org).
[dd] “Their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.” “Earlier, ‘their eyes were kept from recognizing him’ (v. 16). Now their eyes are opened (v. 31). The exposition of the scriptures prepared them for recognition, which comes with the breaking of bread. It was God who veiled their eyes, and it is God who unveils them” (Donovan, Lectionary.org.). Reiling and Swellengrebel (A Translator’s Handbook on the Gospel of Luke) says that the words are not liturgical because they were common words used in all meals. The importance of their use in this story, they say, is the fact that Jesus took charge of the meal and suddenly (and mysteriously) became the host, not the guest (p. 757).
[ee] “He vanished,” (autos afantos). He became invisible, he disappeared from their sight. Not clear that he actually, literally became not there, or that he simply became not able to be seen by their sight. Perhaps the implication is that after they have discovered how and where they could see him (in the breaking of the bread), They no longer needed to see him physically. This would match Craddock’s suggestion that the reason for the story was to show that future generations of followers did not have to see the physical Jesus in order to know him, but that from now on he could also be known in the breaking of the bread. “His presence at the table makes all believers first-generation Christians and every meeting place Emmaus” (Fred Craddock, Luke (Louisville:John Knox Press, 1990), p. 287).
[ff] “And he vanished from their sight.” “Jesus does not leave these two until “their hearts burned within” them. Yet, neither does he physically remain once they get it” (Jerry Goebel: 2005 http://onefamilyoutreach.com.)
[gg] “The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon!” “This is a new detail in chapter 24, since earlier all Luke had reported was the empty tomb Peter saw (v. 12)” (IVP Commentary: Luke).
[hh] See a discussion of each in Fitzmyer, Joseph. Anchor Bible: The Gospel According to Luke: X-XXIV, (New York: Doubleday, 1979), pp. 1561-2.
[ii] NET Bible notes.
[jj] Jerry Goebel, http://onefamilyoutreach.com, 2005.
[kk] A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures In The New Testament, Vol. 2: The Gospel According to Luke (New York: Richard R. Smith, 1930).
[ll] Richard Donovan, Sermonwriter: Resources For Lectionary Preaching, Third Sunday Of Easter, Year A, April 14, 2002, volume 6, number 15, issn 1071-9962, www.lectionary.org.
[mm] Jerry Goebel, http://onefamilyoutreach.com, retrieved 2005.
[nn] Haslam, “Clippings: Commentaries on the Revised Common Lectionary” (www.montreal.anglican.org), citing annotations in the New Jerusalem Bible Commentary and the New Oxford Annotated Bible.
[oo] Dianne Bergant, Preaching the New Lectionary, Year A (Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 2001), p. 170.
[pp] See Fitzmyer, p. 1565.
[qq] Fitzmyer, p. 1566
[ss] Fred Craddock, Luke (Louisville: John Knox Press, 1990), p. 287.
[xlvi] Schweizer, (The Gospel According to Luke)