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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 #8427

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8427. 'And in the morning you will see the glory of Jehovah' means that at the beginning of a new state the arrival of the Lord is going to take place. This is clear from the meaning of 'the morning' as the beginning of a new state, dealt with immediately above in 8426; and from the meaning of 'the glory of Jehovah' as the presence and the arrival of the Lord. The reason why 'the glory' means the presence and the arrival of the Lord is that in the highest sense 'glory' is the Divine Truth which emanates from the Lord; and Divine Truth appears before angels' eyes as the light and splendour from the Sun, which is the Lord. For the meaning of 'the glory' as Divine Truth emanating from the Lord, see 5922, 8267; for its meaning intelligence and wisdom that belong to Divine Truth, 4809; and its consequently meaning the internal sense of the Word, since that sense is Divine Truth in glory, 5922.

[2] It says that in the morning they are going to see the glory of Jehovah because sunrise and its accompanying light (which in heaven brings light to angels' eyes, to both their outward and their inward sight) consequently the presence and arrival of the Lord (who is the Sun of heaven) corresponds to morning time on earth and is meant here by 'the morning'. The light from the sun then, which is Divine Truth emanating from the Lord, and for that reason is the Lord, is 'the glory'. From this it is evident that 'the glory' means the presence and arrival of the Lord. The fact that these are meant by 'the glory' is also evident from a number of places in the Word, such as in Moses,

The cloud covered the mountain, and the glory of Jehovah dwelt over Mount Sinai. And the cloud covered it six days. The sight of the glory of Jehovah was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain, before the eyes of the children of Israel. Exodus 24:15-18.

Plainly, the presence of Jehovah, that is, of the Lord, appearing as a cloud and as fire on the mountain, is here called 'the glory of Jehovah'.

In the same author,

The cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of Jehovah filled the tabernacle. Nor could Moses enter the tent of meeting, because the cloud dwelt over it, and the glory of Jehovah filled the tabernacle. Exodus 40:34-35.

Here also the Lord's presence, appearing as a cloud, is called 'the glory'.

(References: Exodus 24:15-17, Exodus 40:34, 40:36)


[3] In the same author,

Moses and Aaron entered the tent of meeting; and they came out and blessed the people. At that time the glory of Jehovah appeared to the whole people. Leviticus 9:23-24.

In the same author,

The glory of Jehovah appeared in the tent of meeting before all the children of Israel. Numbers 14:10-12.

Likewise in Numbers 16:19, 42. In the first Book of Kings,

The cloud filled the house of Jehovah, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of Jehovah filled the house of Jehovah. 1 Kings 8:10-11.

In John,

The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power, so that no one was able to enter the temple. Revelation 15:8.

In the same book,

He showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. The city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shed light in it; the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. Revelation 21:10-11, 23.

Here 'the glory of God' plainly stands for light from the Lord, which is Divine Truth emanating from Him, and so is the presence of the Lord since the Lord is present in Truth coming from Him.

(References: Leviticus 9:23; Numbers 14:10, 20:6)


[4] The fact that 'the glory of Jehovah' means His presence is clear yet again in Moses,

Moses said to Jehovah, Show me, I beg You, Your glory He said to him, I will cause all My goodness to pass by before you. And when My glory passes by, it will happen, that I will put you in a cleft of the rock and cover My hand over you until I have passed by. But when I take My hand away you will see My back parts, and My face will not be seen. Exodus 33:18-end.

Here also 'Jehovah's glory' plainly stands for His presence. In Matthew,

The disciples said to Jesus, Tell us, what will be the sign of Your coming? Jesus said, Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear, and they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and glory. Matthew 24:3, 30.

The subject here is the final period of the former Church and the first of the new. 'The Son of Man' is God's truth emanating from the Lord; 'the clouds of heaven' are the Word in the sense of the letter, and 'power and glory' are the internal sense, thus Divine Truth which will be visible then. 'The Lord's coming' stands for the acceptance of God's truth by those belonging to the new Church and the rejection of it by those belonging to the old Church, see 4060 (end).

(References: Exodus 33:18-23)


[5] The fact that the Lord in respect of Divine Truth is meant by 'the glory' is clear in Isaiah,

The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare the way of Jehovah. The glory of Jehovah will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together. Isaiah 40:3, 5.

This refers to the Lord, who is 'the glory'. In John,

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us; and we saw His glory. glory as of the Only Begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

In the same gospel,

These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him. John 12:41.

Here 'glory' stands for the Lord. Similarly in Moses,

I am the Living One, and the whole earth will be filled with the glory of Jehovah. Numbers 14:21.

Here 'the glory of Jehovah' stands for the Coming or arrival of the Lord, and for enlightenment by Divine Truth emanating from Him.

[6] 'Glory' stands for the Lord's Divinity in Isaiah,

I am Jehovah, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another. Isaiah 42:8.

In Mark,

... when the Son of Man comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels. Mark 8:38.

In Luke,

Ought [not] Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory? Luke 24:26.

Since 'the glory of Jehovah' means the Lord in respect of Divine Truth, 'the glory' also means the Divine Wisdom and Intelligence that belong to Divine Truth emanating from the Lord. Wisdom and intelligence from God are meant by the glory in Ezekiel 1:28; 8:4; 9:3; 10:4, 18-19; 11:22-23; and there it is represented by 'a rainbow' such as one sees in a cloud.

(References: Exodus 16:7, Exodus 33:18-23; Luke 24:46)

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


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