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Luke 24:13-35 : The Road to Emmaus

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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.

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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.

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Arcana Coelestia #10053

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10053. 'It is a burnt offering to Jehovah' means the glorification of the Lord's Human. This is clear from the representation of 'a burnt offering' as the glorification of the Lord's Human. The Jewish nation had sacrifices and burnt offerings; the sacrifices served to mean purification from evils and falsities and the implantation of truth, but burnt offerings served to mean the joining of truth to good, thus complete regeneration. In the highest sense however, in which the Lord is the subject, sacrifices meant the ejection of evils and falsities from His Human derived from the mother and the implantation of Divine Truth from the Divine Good that was within Him, while the burnt offerings meant the uniting of Divine Truth to Divine Good. This uniting is what should be understood by glorification. For when He was in the world the Lord made His Human Divine Truth, and also, by uniting this in stages to the Divine Good that was within Him and was the Essential Being (Esse) of His life, He also made His Human Divine Good, thus one with Jehovah. The Essential Being of His life was that which as it exists with others is called the soul from the father; and it was Divine Good itself or Divine Love. But regarding these matters, see what has been shown in the places referred to in 9194, 9315(end), 9528(end). As regards the Lord's expulsion of everything human derived from the mother, till at length He was not her son, see 9315 (end); and as regards 'the Son of Man', which the Lord calls Himself, that He is not Mary's son but Divine Truth, 9807.

[2] Glorification, where the Lord is the subject, means uniting His Human to Divinity itself that was within Him, thus to Jehovah His Father; and by uniting them He also made His Human Divine Good. This is clear from places in the Word which use the terms 'glory' and 'glorification' in reference to Jehovah or the Lord, as in Isaiah,

The glory of Jehovah will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken. Isaiah 40:5.

In the same prophet,

I Jehovah have called You in righteousness, to open the blind eyes, to bring the bound out of prison. I am Jehovah, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another. Isaiah 42:6-8.

And in the same prophet,

Jehovah will arise over You, and His glory will be seen over You. Nations will walk to Your light. Isaiah 60:2-3.

In these places the Lord is the subject, 'the glory of Jehovah' being used to mean the Lord in respect of Divine Truth; for Jehovah's glory is Divine Truth emanating from the Lord, 9429. That Divine Truth does not come from any other source is the Lord's teaching in John,

You have never heard the Father's voice nor seen His shape. John 5:37.

And since He is the Lord He is Jehovah Himself, for He says, 'I am Jehovah, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another'.

[3] For this reason also the Lord is called 'the King of glory' in David,

Lift up your heads, O gates, and be lifted up, O ancient doors 1 , and the King of glory will come in. Who is this King of glory? Jehovah strong and mighty, Jehovah mighty in battle. Psalms 24:7-10.

Here the Lord is called 'the King of glory' by virtue of Divine Truth, with which He fought against, overcame, and subdued the hells. This was accomplished by His Human when He was in the world, see 9715, 9809, 10019. This is why He is called 'Jehovah strong and mighty in battle', and also a mighty one or 'hero' in Isaiah,

To us a Boy is born, to us a Son is given; His name is God, Hero, Father of Eternity. Isaiah 9:6.

[4] The Lord Himself teaches that Jehovah's glory is the Lord in respect of Divine Truth emanating from His Divine Good, which is Jehovah or the Father, in John,

The Word became flesh, and we saw His glory, glory as of the Only Begotten from the Father. John 1:14.

Here, where it is self-evident that the Lord is meant by the Word which became flesh, 'the Word' is Divine Truth, and so too is 'glory'. In Matthew,

The Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father. Matthew 16:27.

And in Luke,

Jesus said to the disciples, Ought not the Christ to have suffered this and to enter into His glory? Luke 24:26.

'Entering into His glory' means being united to Divine Good which was within Him, thus to Jehovah or His Father. For Jehovah the Father is God's Essential Being (Esse), and God in His Essential Being is Divine Love, thus also Divine Good; and the uniting of the Human to that Good is meant by 'entering into His glory'.

[5] From this it is evident what 'being glorified' means in the following places:

In John,

The Holy Spirit was not yet because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:39.

And in the same gospel,

These things Jesus' disciples did not know, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered ... . Jesus said, The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. And He said, Father, glorify Your name. [Then] a voice came from heaven, I have both glorified it and will glorify it again. John 12:16, 23, 27-28.

And in the same gospel,

After Judas went out Jesus said, Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. And God will glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him at once. John 13:31-32.

From these places it is evident that glorification is the uniting of the Lord's Human to Divinity itself which was within Him and is called Jehovah the Father, for it is said that 'God will glorify Him in Himself'. It is also evident from those places that the uniting was fully accomplished by the passion of the Cross, which was the last of His temptations. For the Lord glorified His Human by means of conflicts with hell, which are temptations, see the places referred to in 9528, 9937.

(References: John 12:28)


[6] The Lord Himself teaches that when He has been glorified Divine Truth emanates from Him, in John,

The Holy Spirit was not yet because Jesus was not yet glorified. John 7:39.

And in the same gospel,

The Paraclete, the Spirit of truth, whom I will send to you will not speak from Himself. He will glorify Me, for He will receive from what is Mine and declare it to you; all things whatever that the Father has are Mine. John 16:13-15, 28.

'The Spirit of truth' is Divine Truth emanating from the Lord, 9818. The uniting of the Human to the Divine within Him is also described here by the declaration that all things the Father has are His, and elsewhere by the declarations that the Father and He are one and that the Father is in Him and He is in the Father, John 10:30; 14:10-11; see 3704. Thus the glorification or uniting was reciprocal, which too is the Lord's teaching in John,

Father, glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You. John 17:1.

'Father' is the Divinity itself that was within Him, and 'Son' is the Divine Human.

'The Father' is Divine Good which is within the Lord, see 3704, 7499.

Jehovah in the Word is the Lord, 2921, 6303, 8865.

The Lord is Divinity itself, or Jehovah, in a Human form, see the places referred to in 9315.

Footnotes:

1. literally, doors of the world

(References: Exodus 29:18; John 7:13-15, 7:28, 12:28)

  
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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 10052, 10054, 10055, 10118, 10122, 10134, 10143, 10206, 10414, 10424

Heaven and Hell 86

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 221, 300


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 329


   Swedenborg Research Tools


Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.


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