The Bible

 

Luke 24:13-35 : The Road to Emmaus

        

Study the Inner Meaning

13 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.

14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.

15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.

16 But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.

17 And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?

18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass therein these days?

19 And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:

20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.

21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.

22 Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre;

23 And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.

24 And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.

25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:

26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?

27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

28 And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.

29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.

30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.

31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.

32 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?

33 And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,

34 Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.

35 And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 1540, 2816, 3863, 4735, 4859, 5045, 5405, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 36, 662

Divine Providence 114, 280

Doctrine of the Lord 11, 13, 35

True Christian Religion 128, 262, 777

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 286, 294


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 340, 443, 617, 677, 806, 820, 937

Related New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Numbers 22:31

Nehemiah 8:8

Isaiah 53:10

Bible Word Meanings

furlongs
Furlongs signify progressions in a series according to thoughts proceeding from affection. Furlongs, being measured ways, signify leading truths.

came to pass
The phrase “it came to pass,” often also translated as “it happened,” generally indicates the end of one spiritual state and the beginning of a...

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

walk
To walk in the Bible represents living, and usually means living according to the true things taught to us by the Lord -- to "walk...

answering
To "answer" generally indicates a state of spiritual receptivity. Ultimately this means being receptive to the Lord, who is constantly trying to pour true ideas...

mighty
'Might' denotes the forces or power of truth.

word
'Sayings' denotes persuasion. 'Sayings,' when related to Jehovah, signify informing or instructing.

chief priests
'The chief priests and scribes,' as in Matthew 20:18, signify the adulterations of good and the falsifications of truth.

third
The Writings talk about many aspects of life using the philosophical terms "end," "cause" and "effect." The "end" is someone’s goal or purpose, the ultimate...

us
Angels do give us guidance, but they are mere helpers; the Lord alone governs us, through angels and spirits. Since angels have their assisting role,...

body
The body (Matt. 6:22), signifies the man (homo). "His body shall not remain all night upon the tree" (Deut. 21:23), signifies lest it should be...

seen
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

angels
"Angels" in the Bible represent qualities of the Lord himself, or a variety of things that come directly from the Lord. On a lower level...

saw
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

believe
The meaning of "believe" in the Bible is pretty straightforward, but runs deeper than what appears on the surface. When in the Old Testament people...

spoken
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

christ
Christ is one of the names of the Lord. It derives from Greek, and means "the anointed one," a King or Messiah. Christ as King...

enter
All changes of place in the Bible represent changes in spiritual state. “Entering” – usually used as entering someone’s house or “going in unto” someone...

glory
Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving (Rev. 7.) signify divine spiritual things of the Lord.

moses
Moses's name appears 814 times in the Bible (KJV), third-most of any one character (Jesus at 961 actually trails David at 991). He himself wrote...

sat
If you think about sitting, it seems fair to say that where you're sitting is more important than that you're sitting. Sitting in a movie...

bread
The idea of a “loaf” in the Bible is very closely tied to the idea of “bread,” and is often used to mean bread: Jesus...

opened
To open,' as in Revelation 9, signifies communication and conjunction.

sight
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

talked
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

way
In John 14:6, 'the way is doctrine,' 'the truth' is every thing pertaining to doctrine, and 'the life' is the essential good which is the...

rose
It is common in the Bible for people to "rise up," and it would be easy to pass over the phrase as simply describing a...

rose up
It is common in the Bible for people to "rise up," and it would be easy to pass over the phrase as simply describing a...

hour
The Writings tell us that time and space are aspects of the physical world, but do not exist as we know them in the spiritual...

risen
It is common in the Bible for people to "rise up," and it would be easy to pass over the phrase as simply describing a...

simon
'Simon, son of Jonah,' as in John 21:15, signifies faith from charity. 'Simon' signifies worship and obedience, and 'Jonah,' a dove, which also signifies charity.

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Resources for parents and teachers

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Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

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Commentary

 

On the Road to Emmaus      

By Joe David

Lelio Orsi's painting, Camino de Emaús, is in the National Gallery in London, England.

Each of the four gospels contains a story about Jesus appearing to His disciples after the Sunday morning when they had found the sepulcher empty. For example, see Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:14-19; Luke 24:13-33; John 20:19-31, and John 21.

In Luke, there’s a story of two disciples walking from Jerusalem to the village of Emmaus, a walk of about seven miles. Shortly after they leave the city they are approached by another traveler who has noticed their troubled faces and serious talk and asks them what is troubling them. Walking along together, they ask the stranger, “Haven’t you heard of the troubles in Jerusalem, how the prophet from Galilee, who we hoped would be the one to save Israel, was given up to be crucified? And strange to say, when some of the women went on the third day to anoint His body, they saw angels who told them that he was not there but was risen from the dead.”

On hearing this, the traveler chides them for not believing, and says “Don’t you see that Christ had to suffer these things and to enter into his glory?” The stranger then tells the two disciples many things concerning Jesus, from the books of Moses, and the prophets, in the Old Testament. The two disciples listen with awe, but do not recognize the stranger. At length they arrive at Emmaus. The stranger appears to want to go on when the two stop, but they beg him to stop also, because it’s getting late in the day, and they want to hear more. So they all sit down to share the evening meal, and when the stranger takes up the loaf of bread and breaks it and gives them pieces, their eyes are opened and they recognize Him, and He vanishes.

One can imagine the stunned awe that came over them both as they realized that this was Jesus. They knew He was crucified, and yet He had walked and talked to them for several hours. The women were right! The angels were right! He was alive!

The New Church believes that there are internal meanings to all the stories in the Word of the Lord, the sacred scriptures, and that this internal meaning, within the literal stories about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Joshua, Samuel, David, and the rest, and all the sayings of the prophets from Isaiah to Malachi, and the four gospels… this meaning is what makes the Word holy.

So what can we see here in this story? Well, that internal meaning in “Moses and the prophets” is the story of Jesus’ life in the world, from His birth in Bethlehem through all His growing years until His “death” and then His rising. Because Jesus knew that, and had certainly read the Scriptures and understood them internally, He knew for a long time how His earthly life was going to close, and that it was necessary for it to close as had been “written”, in order to save the human race. So He told the two disciples that story as they walked toward Emmaus.

More about that walk... In the Word, any mention of walking is really referring to how we live our lives from day to day. In many stories of the Word, it is said that someone walked with God. It is said that we should walk in His ways and that we should walk the straight and narrow path.

Also in this story we are told that this was a journey of sixty stadia (in the original Greek). Sixty (or other multiples of "six") represents the lifelong work of rejecting the temptations that come from our inborn selfishness. Apocalypse Explained 648. So, this journey to Emmaus means our life’s journey - as a person that is trying to follow the Lord’s teachings and become an angel.

The destination was Emmaus. In the Word any city represents a doctrine, an organized set of truths that we have put in order so that we can live according to them -- our rules of life. See Arcana Coelestia 402. They are not necessarily good, as with Jerusalem or Bethlehem, but can also be evil doctrines, e.g. Sodom or Babylon. My dictionary tells me that the name Emmaus means “hot springs”. Another universal meaning in the Word is that water means truth in its beneficial uses, but can also mean truth twisted into falsity by those in hell, in an opposite sense. See, for example, Arcana Coelestia 790. Think of the wells that Abraham dug, or the waters that Jesus promised to the woman of Samaria as they talked by Jacob’s well, or the pure river of water flowing out from under the throne in the New Jerusalem in the book of Revelation. In its converse sense, where water is destructive, think of the flood that destroyed all but Noah and his family, or the Red Sea that had to be parted so that the children of Israel could cross. The springs represented by Emmaus were holy truths bubbling up from the Word for us to use. And these are hot springs, and heat means love. So that's our destination, where truth and love together are flowing out for us to use, in a continual stream from the Lord.

This plain little anecdote about the disciples meeting the Lord on the road to Emmaus isn't just a story about Jesus's resurrection with a spiritual body. It is also a story of how we should be living our lives. We can be traveling toward heaven, listening to the Lord, walking in the way with him, and at the end He will break bread and have supper with us.

Commentary

 

Learning from Affliction      

By Rev. William Woofenden

"Before I was afflicted I went astray; but now have I kept Thy Word." Psalm 119:67

"It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn Thy statutes." Psalm 119:71
Additional readings: Isaiah 30:1-17, Matthew 16:13-28

When the Lord said to Peter that He must suffer many things of the elders, chief priests, and scribes and be put to death, Peter was grieved and said, "Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee," Then the Lord replied, "Get thee behind me, Satan, thou art an offense unto me; for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men."

The thought of affliction is repugnant to the unregenerate man, but we do not attain victory without effort, and the severity of the Lord's words to Peter shows the enormity of his error. Isaiah is writing of this same attitude when he says: "Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever: That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits" (Isaiah 3:10).

The Lord called Peter Satan to indicate the origin and character of person’s sense of offense at the life the Lord Himself led and the struggles He went through. After the resurrection He appeared to the disciples and said, "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?" (Luke 24:26)

Affliction—at present, at least—is a part of human life. No human being can escape from it. It is born with us and follows us wherever we go. The strongest cannot throw it off. The swiftest cannot escape it. The richest cannot purchase release from it. The cleverest cannot evade it. It waits for the sluggish. The young and the old, the weak and the strong, the ignorant and the wise, the evil and the good are alike subject to it. Today there is widespread affliction and suffering, so that the world is shocked by it, and many are brought to despair.

Yet it is not the things that we like to hear that are always good for us. The truth often runs counter to our natural inclinations, but if we follow our natural inclinations, we do so to our everlasting hurt. So the psalmist writes: "It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes." When afflictions come, the first question that arises naturally is, "What is their cause?" We should know that they do not come from the Lord. He does not send them. No suffering of body or soul, no disappointment or sorrow comes from Him. Good, and only good can come from Him.

The human body was created in infinite wisdom and with the purpose of gifting mankind with delights. Every part was designed to be a means of communicating happiness to man. The nerves, for example, were created to give pleasure and not to torment with pain. Yet the nerves are sometimes the means of bringing terrible suffering. The Lord does not inflict the suffering. If we violate the laws of Divine order, pain ensues. The ability to enjoy pleasures implies the ability to suffer. If we could not feel pain, we could not feel delights. Stones and trees do not feel pain; neither can they have delights. Even a limited reason can see that it is far better to be a being exposed to the danger of suffering than to be a stone or a tree without the possibility of enjoying. The nerves serve to warn us of dangers and to protect us, as well as to give us delights. These same laws apply to our moral nature. Our intellectual faculties and affections were given for the purpose of bringing us happiness far surpassing the purely physical delights of the senses. Family affections are an instance of this law familiar to us all. They were given to bind husband and wife, parents and children together, and to make each the giver and sharer of the other's joys. New and deep fountains of life and. happiness are opened with each child that the Lord gives.

Yet these capacities for happiness can be the source of the keenest sorrows. When illness and death befall members of the family circle, when true family relationships are perverted, when evils creep in, when selfishness, waywardness, and follies are indulged in, the family suffers. But if no family cares and anxieties were possible, we should also be insensible to all family joys. There is no way to avoid the possibility of suffering without making man such that he is also incapable of enjoying.

If the Lord gives us faculties capable of bringing us joy and happiness and we misuse them so that they bring us pain, we should realize that the pain is the result not of the Lord's action, but of our own. It is true that the Scriptures in the letter often say that the Lord sends affliction, suffering, and sorrow, but such statements have taken their literal form from the appearance—according to humanity's selfish tendency to escape responsibility. They are true only in the sense that all the power we have is given us by the Lord. It is our own misuse of this power which brings suffering upon ourselves and others.

And we should be able to go farther than this. We should be able to see that while the Lord permits evil and suffering, His providence extends over the permission and uses our afflictions as a means of bringing blessings to us. In His infinite mercy and goodness He uses our afflictions to do us good. He provides, in the words of Paul, "that our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (2 Corinthians 4:17).

We cannot see this from a merely natural point of view. We must have the eternal life in mind. Just as the material body is not the real man or the purpose of his creation, so this natural life is in itself but the smallest and grossest part of his existence. The world was created for mankind and for the purpose of gratifying his desires and giving delights, to develop his powers and faculties, but not as the supreme end of his existence. We abuse this world if all our conceptions of happiness are limited to it and all our energies are directed to attaining its good things.

The more our natural desires are indulged the more imperative they become. If they were not checked, there would be no possibility of the development of our spiritual faculties. Like the vine our natural tendencies need to be pruned. It is a fact abundantly proved by history that man is of such a nature that he cannot bear uninterrupted natural prosperity. It is a thousandfold more dangerous to him than adversity. So adversities sometimes come. The Lord wishes and seeks to provide for us a beautiful and perfect home in the heavens. People are prone to seek one in this world and to neglect their higher interests. So we come into conflict with the Divine purposes and laws and afflictions ensue.

We never suffer any pain if the body is in perfect health. Pain in the body is a note of warning. When we are afflicted with pain, we seek to find, its cause and to remove it. So it is with our sorrows, which are pains of the mind. They are the voices of sentinels warning us of danger. They tell us that we have wandered from the ways of Divine order and are going astray. We little realize how much we are indebted to the adversities that have come upon us. If we had never had any warning, if we had never been checked in any of our desires, if we never had any anxiety, if nothing ever thwarted our own way, would we ever look to any other than self? Indeed we would go astray from the Lord and never desire to return. But sometimes terrible afflictions come upon us like a thunderbolt from a clear sky. The health which we had enjoyed suddenly fails, our plans are thwarted, death comes unexpectedly and takes husband or wife or children or friends. The whole course of life is broken up. Why is this? What good can come from it? There is one obvious answer, namely, that there is no natural good, no earthly condition which can be relied upon to give us happiness. Afflictions are permitted in order to turn our thoughts to higher things. The natural mind is stubborn. Afflictions soften the stubborn mind. If they are greater than we think we can bear, we may turn to the Lord. The Lord never casts us off. If we cannot find refuge in the Lord, there is no place in the universe where we can find help. When we realize that the Lord never brings the slightest harm or sorrow upon us, but that He is in the constant effort to teach us how to avoid them, to support us when they do come, and to turn them to our advantage by awakening in our minds an abhorrence of the things which caused them, our whole attitude toward affliction and sorrow is changed. We see that the Lord is on our side, taking part with us against the enemies to our peace.

So if afflictions come, let us turn to the Lord for help. It is difficult for the natural mind to conceive that there can be any higher good than that which it is immediately seeking. We put confidence in ourselves rather than in the Lord. We are slow to believe that His plans for us are better than our own, and slow to seek to learn and do His will. But if we will go to the Lord in His Word and listen to Him with a humble and open mind, we shall see that He is using afflictions to restrain us from going farther astray from heaven and from home, to assist us in forming a juster estimate of natural things, to weaken the force of our natural desires, to arouse in us an aversion toward falsity and evil, and to make more room in our thoughts and affections for spiritual things. We shall find that He is giving us more than we have lost, and we shall be ready to say “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn Thy statutes”—learn to know them, to love them, and to do them.

And if we tempted to look upon our afflictions and losses as irreparable, we shall be able to answer, “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept Thy Word” — before I was afflicted I was too much absorbed with natural delights, but now, chastened and humbled, I turn to the light Divine truth and find happiness In trying to follow Him who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.


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