The Bible


Luke 24:13-35 : The Road to Emmaus



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



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.

From Swedenborg's Works


Apocalypse Explained #806

Study this Passage

/ 1232  

806. Whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb, signifies by all who have not become spiritual through regeneration by the Lord. This is evident from the signification of "names," as being their quality; for in the Word "name" signifies the quality of a thing or a state, and for the reason that in the spiritual world persons do not have names as in the natural world, but everyone there is named according to his quality (see above, n. 676. Also from the signification of "written in the book of life of the Lamb," as being to be in love and faith in the Lord (see above, n. 199, 222, 299), thus also to become spiritual through regeneration by Him; for they who are in love and faith in the Lord from the Lord become spiritual, since their love and faith are spiritual; and they also are called regenerated, and are meant by those "whose names have been written in the book of life of the Lamb." From this it is clear that "names written in the book of life of the Lamb" means not that their names are there, but that their quality is such, namely, that they have become spiritual through regeneration by the Lord.

(References: Revelation 13:8)

[2] It has been shown in the preceding article what 1 the faith is that has been accepted by the general body in the church, namely, a belief that God the Father sent the Son, that through Him there might be propitiation, mercy, redemption, and salvation; likewise that the Son of God bore our iniquities, that He intercedes for us, and that His merit is attributed to those who pray for it from trust and confidence; and it has been shown in a former article that these are all vain expressions, in which as interpreted by the learned there is nothing of truth and thus nothing of salvation. That these are vain expressions in which there is nothing of truth is evident from the teachings of the Word respecting the reason of the Lord's coming and why He suffered, namely, that the Lord came into the world to save the human race, who otherwise would have perished in eternal death, and that He saved them by subjugating the hells, which infested every man coming into the world and going out of the world, and at the same time by glorifying His Human, since thus He is able to keep the hells subjugated to eternity. The subjugation of the hells, together with the glorification of His Human, was accomplished by means of temptations admitted into the human that He had from the mother, and by continual victories therein. His passion in Gethsemane and on the cross was the last temptation and complete victory.

[3] That the Lord came into the world for these two reasons, and that He thus saved the human race from eternal death, can be seen from this, that before the Lord's coming the hells were not in order, and consequently there was no equilibrium between hell and heaven, but hell on its part prevailed over heaven. And yet man has been placed in the midst between heaven and hell; in consequence of this whatever before the Lord's coming flowed into man out of heaven was taken away by hell, because of its superior power. Therefore to restore the destroyed equilibrium it pleased the Lord to come into the world, and to accomplish at that time a Last Judgment, and subjugate the hells; and by doing this the Lord acquired for Himself the power to save the men who have faith in and love to Him from Him. These things could be carried into effect only by the Lord's assuming a Human, for the reason that God works such effects from first principles by means of ultimates, since to work from first principles by means of ultimates is to work in fullness. The very might of the Divine power rests in things ultimate; so the Lord's might rests in His Human because that is in the ultimate. This was one reason of His coming into the world. The other reason was that He might glorify His Human, that is, make it Divine, since by this and by no other means is He able to keep the hells subjugated to eternity, for He thus acts to eternity from first principles by means of things ultimate, and in fullness. In this way His Divine operation reaches down even to those who are lowest in the world, while otherwise it would reach only to those who are first in heaven, and mediately through these and those that follow to the lowest, who are men; consequently if these should give way, as happened just before the Lord's coming, the Divine operation among men would cease, and consequently they would have no means of salvation. The Divine operation of the Lord through the Human assumed in the world is called His immediate influx even to those who are lowest.

[4] These are the two means whereby man has salvation, which is called redemption. This is called the redemption by His blood because the subjugation of the hells, together with the glorification of the Lord's Human, could be effected only by means of temptations admitted into Himself from the hells, the last of which temptations was the passion of the cross. From this it can now be seen that the Lord did not come into the world to propitiate the Father and to move Him to mercy, nor to bear our iniquities and thus take them away, nor that we might be saved by the imputation of His merit, or by intercession, or by immediate mercy, consequently not by a faith in these things, still less by the confidence of that faith, since that confidence confirms such things as are not true, thus such things as do not belong to faith. He who knows why the Lord came into the world, and knows that all who believe and do the things that He taught are saved by Him, and at the same time by the Father in Him, and not by the Father separated from Him, can see that many of the things that the leaders teach respecting redemption must be understood otherwise than according to their explanation of them.

[5] That the Lord subjugated the hells He taught when the passion of the cross was at hand, in John:

Now is the judgment of this world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out (John 12:27, 28, 31).

In the same:

Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world (John 16:33).

In Luke:

Jesus said, I beheld Satan as lightning falling from heaven (Luke 10:18).

In Isaiah:

Who is this that cometh from Edom, walking in the multitude of his power? great to save; Mine arm brought salvation for Me; so He became their Savior (Isaiah 63:1, 5, 8; also Isaiah 59:16-21).

Because the Lord subjugated the hells He gave the seventy disciples:

Authority over demons (Luke 10:17, 19).

(References: John 12:27-28, John 13:31-32)

[6] That the Lord glorified His Human, and that the passion of the cross was the last temptation and complete victory by which He glorified it, He teaches in John:

When Judas was gone out Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God shall glorify Him in Himself, and straightway shall He glorify Him (John 13:31, 32).

In the same:

Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son that Thy Son also may glorify Thee (John 17:1, 5).

In the same:

Now is my soul troubled; Father, glorify Thy name. And there came a voice out of heaven, I have both glorified it and will glorify it again (John 12:27, 28).

And in Luke:

Ought not the Christ to suffer this and to enter into glory? (Luke 24:26).

This was said of His passion. "To glorify" is to make Divine. From this it can be seen that unless the Lord had come into the world and had become Man, and by this means had liberated from hell all those who believe in Him and love Him, no mortal could have been saved. Thus it is understood that without the Lord there is no salvation. This, now, is the mystery of the Lord's incarnation.


1. the Latin has "quod" for "quid."

(References: John 12:27-28, John 13:31-32; Luke 10:17-19; Revelation 13:8)

/ 1232  

Thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation for their permission to use this translation.