Summary: Emmaus


A clergyman was walking down the street when he came upon a group of about a dozen boys, all of them between 10 and 12 years of age. The group surrounded a dog. Concerned lest the boys were hurting the dog, the clergyman went over and asked “What are you doing with that dog?”

One of the boys replied, “This dog is just an old neighborhood stray. We all want him, but only one of us can take him home. So we've decided that whichever one of us can tell the biggest lie will get to keep the dog.”

Of course, the reverend was taken aback. “You boys shouldn't be having a contest telling lies!” he exclaimed. He then launched into a ten minute sermon against lying, beginning, “Don't you boys know it's a sin to lie,” and ending with, “Why, when I was your age, I never told a lie.”

There was dead silence for about a minute. Just as the reverend was beginning to think he'd gotten through to them, the smallest boy gave a deep sigh and said, “Oh..All right, he won...give him the dog.”

Luke 24 begins with the failure of the ladies, even with personal witness Mary Magdalene present (John 20:11-18), to convince the apostles and others of Jesus' resurrection, as told to them by two men in shining garments (Luke 24:4). The men considered the women's good news as idle tales (Luke 24:11), women's talk and tall stories. Peter, the next to try to convince others, did not see the Lord or an angel, so the blessedness was left to the stronger witness of two men, one of them Cleopas. Peter saw nothing at the tomb but the linen clothes by themselves (v 12), so the privilege of seeing the resurrected Christ and spreading the gospel was left to the two men.

What difference does Jesus’ resurrection make in our lives? How do you communicate truth to others? Why is the resurrection of Christ a corroborated fact and not a concocted fiction?

Take the Trip

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?” They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 “What things?” he asked. “About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 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. 22 In 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. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.” (Luke 24:13-24)

Researchers tell us that hills appear steeper when people are fatigued, are encumbered by wearing a heavy backpack, have low physical fitness, are elderly, or are in declining health. There is however, one sure way the hills do not look so steep; in fact, the hills feel downright acceptable: when they’re with friends.

Researchers studied 34 students at the University of Virginia, taking them to the base of a steep hill and fitting them with a weighted backpack. They were then asked to estimate the steepness of the hill. Some participants stood next to friends during the exercise, while others were alone. The students who stood with friends gave lower estimates of the steepness of the hill. And the longer the friends had known each other, the less steep the hill appeared.

The distance the two men traveled were sixty furlongs (stadion) in Greek, of which a furlong is a stadium long. Most English Bibles translate it as seven miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus. Their talk (v 14, homileo) is not mere talk, but translated as commune (Luke 24:15, Acts 24:26), or a longer chat or conversation. This verb occurs only four times in the Bible, marking its debut twice here (vv 14, 15). From this verb comes the sermon in final form - “homily” or “homiletics, the art of preaching or writing sermons. So this requires patience and participation. The word is used in the context of Paul’s long talk with the disciples in Troas (Acts 20:11) and Felix often sending for Paul to talk to him (Acts 24:256).

Their long talk, more importantly, however, was interrupted when Jesus “walked along” (sumporeuomai) with them. “Walk along” is one word, not two, in Greek, with the prefix “sum” – for joint, union or combine. It means to be side by side, step by step, stride by stride; to be at the same pace, to be on the same path, and to be on the same page. Not only that, Jesus was sensitive to their needs, that they were downcast or sad (v 17) or sullen, which means to be mournful and miserable in appearance, to be guilty and gloomy. Jesus chose to reveal himself to two men who were confused and cautious at the same time. This much was certain: their leaders, the eleven, did not know what to say and what to think and how to feel and act.

The clause “they were kept from recognizing him” (v 16) is “their eyes were holden that they should not know him” (KJV), in which “holden,” meaning grasp, grab or grip. The purpose (infinitive) is they did “not acknowledge or recognize him,” (v 16, epiginosko) rather than “know” (v 18, ginosko) him. This was partly because they were not among the inner circle of twelve. The two men questioned Jesus, “Did you not know (ginosko)?” (v 18) The two assumed Jesus was not a resident of Jerusalem since he was exiting the city like them. The two travelers knew the facts, but could not acknowledge in faith. They were cognizant but not comprehending, which is the classic “what” versus “why” contrast. Amazed (v 22) can be translated as beside himself (Mark 3:21), astonished (Mark 5:42) or bewitched (Acts 8:9).

The confusion had persisted (v 24). See (v 24, oida) is translated elsewhere as know (Matt 6:8), perceive (Matt 13:14, tell (Luke 20:7) and understand (1 Cor 14:16), without the object or accusative “Jesus” in NIV. They didn’t understand, period.

Talk the Text

25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah 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. (Luke 24:25-27)

A chicken farmer was losing a lot of his flock, and wrote to the Department of Agriculture: “Gentlemen: Something is wrong with my chickens. Every morning when I come out, I find two or three lying on the ground, cold and stiff with their feet in the air. Can you tell me what is the matter (with my chickens)?”

(The farmer waited in vain for numerous weeks, but ) Eight weeks later he received this letter from Washington: “Dear Sir: Your chickens are dead.” (Toastmasters # 461)

Jesus called them fools and slow to believe that Christ was to suffer and to enter His glory. The verb “have to suffer” is translated 58 times in the Bible as “must” and 31 times as “ought.” Jesus had predicted his suffering various times to his disciples in vain (Matt 16:21, Mark 8:31, 9:12, Luke 9:22, 17:25). In Luke’s gospel there is more mention to Jesus “must suffer” (Luke 9:22, 17:25, 24:26) than “must be rejected” (Luke 9:22, 17:25 – missing from older manuscripts), “must be killed” (Luke 22:7) or “must be delivered into the hands of sinful men” (Luke 24:7).

The people physically abused Jesus in seven ways – injuries only minus insults, before they crucified him.

Matthew Mark Luke John


spit in his face, buffeted (kolaphizo) him; others smote him with the palms of their hands

27:26 scourged (phragello)


smote (tupto) him on the head.

27:31 crucify him.

Mark 14:65

strike (kolazo) him with the palms of their hands.

15:17 put a crown of thorns upon his head

22:63 smote (dero) him.

19:1 scourged (mastigoo) him.

In fact there is more “must suffer” than anything “must happen” or “must do” in the gospels. His prophesy was always directed to the “disciples” (Luke 9:18, 17:22), who must “know” this more importantly than anything else. There are three “glory” in Luke, His character and revelation of himself, in His crucifixion and rejection by men, and in His coming and reign on earth – in His living, dying and returning.

Jesus replaced their conversation (v 14) with his clarification (v 27). The verb explain (diermeneuo) is more than explain; it is to expound in KJV, or to explain thoroughly because of the prefix “dia,” (as in “diameter”) which means through, throughout, through and through. Previously they know only so much; now it is interpret more than inform, to reveal more than to reason, to disclose rather than debate, to teach and not just talk

Tend the Task

28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But 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. 30 When 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 opened 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. (Luke 24:28-35)

When Jesus was about to leave them, the disciples made a surprising decision not recorded before in the Bible – “urge him strongly” (parabiazomai), an action peculiar to one other person in the Bible, when Lydia “constrained” Paul and Silas to stay with them on their first stop into Macedonia (Acts 16:15). A lot of pressure, pleading, and persuasion were involved – please, PLEASE, PRETTY PLEASE! It was not like they strong-armed or man-handled Jesus because the verb comes wit the prefix “para,” which means parallel, beside, along, lateral or sideways.

Not done with imploring and insisting, they used an imperative mood “stay” to beg and beseech Jesus to spend more time with them. Jesus undoubtedly was touched by their gesture and genuineness. When his heart was sorrowful and heavy previously in Gethsemane, he urged his disciples the same thing: “stay/tarry” and watch with me (Matt 26:38), so he understood the feeling, the fuss and the force. It is also translated as remain (Matt 11:23), endure (John 6:27), dwell (John 6:56), continue (John 8:31) and be present (John 14:25). It implies spending quality time, staying for a while, sharing a little bit longer, not depart, decline or desert us. The impressive thing about the two men is that, out of ten occurrences of this word in the imperative mood, they were the only ones other than Jesus to use this command.

The actions of Jesus recognized by the two was most similar to the first instance of the verb “bless” in the New Testament– when Jesus when “blessed” and “gave” the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude (Matt 14:19). The two could be present then too. No doubt their eyes were opened (dianoigo). This verb occurs eight times only in the Bible, of which three references incredibly are found in this chapter:

And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. (Luke 24:31)

And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? (Luke 24:32)

Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures (Luke 24:45)

Not only were their eyes opened, so was their understanding (Luke 24:45), which means the “why.” Added to the eyes and understanding was a “burning” heart (v 32), which is also for “light” (Matt 5:15). It means to set on fire, i.e. kindle or consume. It implies to be ignited, inflamed and impassioned. They could see it, understand it and feel it – one is recognition, another is reason, and the last is revival.


V 14, talk with each other (homily) V 35, told (exegeomai)

V 16 not know (epiginosko) him

V 31 eyes were opened, and they knew (epiginosko) him

V 17, downcast/sad V 32, hearts burn

A little fellow in the ghetto was teased by one who said, “If God loves you, why doesn't he take care of you? Why doesn't God tell someone to bring you shoes and a warm coat and better food?” The little lad thought for a moment then with tears starting in his eyes, said, “I guess He does tell somebody, but somebody forgets.”

Besides their transformation the two was saluted in the Scriptures for their teaching, thoughtfulness and turnaround. They were the third group to experience the Resurrection event, other than the women and the John and Peter duo, but they were the first men to see the Risen Christ because Peter and John merely saw the empty tomb. In Luke’s gospel, the two were credited as the first to see Jesus after His resurrection, even though the other gospels wrote that He appeared first to women (Matt 28:9, Mark 16:9, John 20:17). The ordinary verb “tell” (exegeomai) is anything but ordinary. The precursor to the word “exegesis,” it appears for the first time in the Bible. The few other instances include Jesus declaring God (John 1:18), an angel who “declared” things to Cornelius (Acts 10:8) and Barnabas and Paul in proclamation (Acts 15:12, 14, 21:19). It was with authority, ability and attestation, not apprehensive, aggrieved or afraid. The wonderful progression in the passage begins with “talking to each other” (homileo) to Jesus opening (diermeneuo) the Scriptures to them (v 32) and the two telling (exegeomai) the eleven (v 35). Can you imagine the two laymen were the bridge to their leaders? Another progression is from Jesus going with them (v 15) to expounding the Scriptures (v 27) to abiding with them (v 29).

Conclusion: In His resurrection the Lord say, “I will return to you, come to you and walk beside you.” Not only that He makes good on His promises: “I will never leave you or forsake you.” (Heb 13:5) Is he living in your heart? Do you have room, residence and reverence in your heart for Him? In His resurrection, Jesus is not only your Redeemer but your Ruler as well, not only Lover of your soul but Lord of your life, not only your owner but overseer.