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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 #9429

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9429. 'And the glory of Jehovah lay over Mount Sinai' means the more internal levels of the Lord's Word in heaven. This is clear from the meaning of 'the glory of Jehovah', when the Word is the subject, as its inward sense, thus the more internal levels of the Word, dealt with in the Preface to Genesis 18, and in 5922; and from the meaning of 'Mount Sinai' as Divine Truth emanating from the Lord, and consequently as heaven, dealt with above in 9420, 9427. The reason why the more internal levels of the Word are called 'the glory' is that Divine Truth emanating from the Lord as the Sun composes the light in heaven, which enables the angels there to see with their eyes and at the same time gives them intelligence and wisdom, 1531, 1619-1632, 2776, 3138, 3167, 3190, 3195, 3339, 3341, 3636, 3643, 3862, 3993, 4302, 4415, 4527, 5400, 6313, 6608, 6907, 8644, 8707, 8861. This Divine light is the source of all the glory in heaven, whose brightness is such that it exceeds all human imagination. From this it is evident why the inward sense of the Word is 'the glory'; for the inward sense of the Word is the Divine Truth emanating from the Lord in heaven, and so it is the light which is the source of all the glory there.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135, 6905)


[2] This is what 'glory' is used to mean in a large number of places in the Word, such as where it says that they would see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with glory, Matthew 24:30; Luke 21:27; that the Lord, after He had suffered would enter into His glory, Luke 24:26; that when He came in His glory He would sit on the throne of His glory, Matthew 25:31, 'sitting on the throne of glory' meaning judging with Divine Truth that comes from Him; and that Moses and Elijah appeared in glory, Luke 9:30-31, 'Moses and Elijah' there being the Word, see Preface to Genesis 18, and 2762, 5247, 9372. It is also what the Lord's 'being glorified' is used to mean in John,

Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him at once. John 13:31-32.

'Being glorified in God' means becoming Divine Good from which Divine Truth springs. Something similar appears in John 12:28.

(References: John 12:38)


[3] Divine Truth emanating from the Lord as it exists in heaven is meant by 'the glory' in the following places as well: In Isaiah,

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

These are words referring to the Coming of the Lord, in which 'the glory of Jehovah' that will be revealed is Divine Truth. The Lord is that Truth because it comes from Him, as is evident in John,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. He was the true light. And the Word became flesh; and we saw His glory, glory as of the Only Begotten from the Father. John 1:1, 4, 9, 14.

'The Word' here is Divine Truth, and so is 'the light', from which it is evident what 'seeing His glory' means. The Lord, as is well known, did not appear in any glory in the world, apart from when He was transfigured.

(References: Isaiah 40:6)


[4] 'The glory' has the same meaning elsewhere in John,

These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him. But they delighted in the glory of men more than in the glory of God. I have come as light into the world in order that everyone who believes in Me may not remain in darkness. John 12:41, 43, 46.

Here also 'the Lord's glory' and 'the glory of God' stand for Divine Truth, while 'the glory of men' stands for falsity. In Isaiah,

Shine, for your light has come, and the glory of Jehovah has risen upon you. Jehovah will arise upon you, and His glory will be seen over you. The glory of Lebanon will come to you to beautify the place of My sanctuary. Your sun will no longer go down and your moon will not be withdrawn, for Jehovah will be to you an everlasting light. Isaiah 60:1-end.

This plainly refers to the Coming of the Lord, His kingdom, heaven, and the Church. Divine Truth emanating from His Divine Human is described in the whole of that chapter, where it is called light, honour, and glory.

(References: Isaiah 60:1-2, Isaiah 60:13, Isaiah 60:20)


[5] In the same prophet,

They will fear the name of Jehovah from the setting of the sun, and His glory from the rising of the sun. The Redeemer will come to Zion. Isaiah 59:19-20.

Here also it refers to the Lord. 'The name of Jehovah' stands for all the truth of faith and good of love from which worship flows, 2724, 3006, 6674, 9310. In the same prophet,

I have called You in righteousness, and will give You as a covenant of the people, 1 a light of the nations. I am Jehovah, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another. Isaiah 42:6, 8.

This too is a reference to the Lord, in which 'a light of the nations' means Divine Truth which comes from Him; 'not giving glory to another' means that that Divine Truth comes from no one other than the Lord, who is one with Jehovah, as again in the same prophet,

For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it; and My glory I will not give to another. Isaiah 48:11.

(References: Isaiah 60:1-2, 60:13, Isaiah 60:20)


[6] 'Glory' has a like meaning elsewhere in Isaiah,

Your light will break forth like the dawn; your righteousness will walk before you, the glory of Jehovah will gather you up. Isaiah 58:8.

In the same prophet,

One will come to gather all nations and tongues, that they may come and see My glory. Isaiah 66:18.

In the same prophet,

Jehovah Zebaoth will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before all His elders, glory. Isaiah 24:23.

In Moses,

Jehovah said, I am the Living One, and the whole earth will be filled with the glory of Jehovah. Numbers 14:20-21.

In all these places, which refer to the Lord, 'glory' means Divine Truth which emanates from Him.

[7] In Isaiah,

I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up. And above Him stood the seraphim. And one cried to another, Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah Zebaoth; the whole earth is full of His glory. Isaiah 6:1-3.

In David,

The heavens recount the glory of God. Psalms 19:1.

And in the same author,

... that the nations may fear the name of Jehovah, and the kings of the earth Your glory, in that Jehovah has built Zion and appeared in His glory. Psalms 102:15-16.

In Revelation,

The glory of God will give the holy Jerusalem light, and its lamp is the Lamb. And the nations that are saved will walk in His light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory and honour into it. Revelation 21:23-25.

'The holy Jerusalem' stands for a new Church; 'the glory of God' stands for Divine Truth from the Lord there, as does 'His light' in which they will walk; and 'the kings of the earth' who 'will bring glory' stands for those who are guided by truths derived from good, 2015, 2069, 4581, 4966, 5044, 6148. All this now makes clear what the meaning is of 'the glory of Jehovah' which lay over Mount Sinai. See also 8427.

Footnotes:

1. The Latin means for the people but the Hebrew means of the people, which Swedenborg has in some other places where he quotes this verse.

(References: Exodus 24:16; Revelation 21:23-24)

  
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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 9433, 9434, 9553, 9684, 9741, 9807, 9809, 9815, 9926, 9930, 10033, 10053, 10149, 10574

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 1


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 33, 36, 63, 179, 235, 242, 253, 331, 735


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Related New Christian Commentary


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


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