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


Doctrine of the Lord #35

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35. The Lord gradually put off the humanity taken on from the mother and put on a humanity from the Divine in Him, a humanity which is a Divine humanity and the Son of God. People know that the Lord had a Divine component and a human one — a Divine one from His Father Jehovah, and a human one from the virgin Mary. Consequently He was God and man, and so had a Divine essence and a human nature — a Divine essence from the Father, and a human nature from the mother . And because of that He was equal to the Father in respect to His Divinity, but less than the Father in respect to His humanity. People also know that He did not convert the human nature from the mother into Divine essence; neither did He commingle it with that essence, as the doctrine of faith named after Athanasius teaches. For human nature cannot be converted into Divine essence or be commingled with it.

[2] And yet, according to that same doctrine, the Divine took on a humanity, which is to say that He united Himself to it, like a soul to its body, even to the point that they were not two, but one person. It follows from this that He put off the humanity from the mother, which in itself was like the humanity of any other person, and thus material, and put on a humanity from the Father, which in itself is the same as the Divine itself, and thus essential, as a result of which the humanity, too, became Divine.

That is why the Prophets in the Word call the Lord Jehovah and God even in respect to His humanity, and that the Gospels in the Word call Him Lord, God, the Messiah or Christ, and the Son of God, in whom we are to believe, and by whom we can be saved.

[3] Now because the Lord initially had a humanity from the mother, which He gradually put off, therefore, when He was in the world, He had two states, one called His state of submission or kenosis, and one called His state of glorification or of union with the Divine called the Father. His state was one of submission whenever and as long as He was in a human state from the mother, and His state was one of glorification whenever and as long as He was in a human state from the Father.

In His state of submission He prayed to the Father as though praying to another than Himself, while in His state of glorification He spoke with the Father as though speaking with Himself. In the latter state He said that the Father was in Him and He in the Father, and that He and the Father were one. On the other hand, in His state of submission He underwent temptations or trials, suffered the cross, and prayed to the Father not to forsake Him. For the Divine cannot be tempted or tested, and still less suffer the cross.

It is now apparent from this that temptations or trials and continual victories in them — including the suffering of the cross, which was the last of the trials — were the means by which He completely overcame the hells and completely glorified His humanity, as we showed earlier.

[4] That the Lord put off His humanity from the mother and put on a humanity from the Divine in Him called the Father is apparent as well from the fact that whenever the Lord spoke with His own mouth to His mother, He did not call her mother, but woman. We find in the Gospels only three times that He spoke with His own mouth to His mother or about her, and we read then that twice He called her woman, and once that He did not acknowledge her as His mother.

Twice we read in John that He called her woman:

...the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” Jesus said to her, “What is that to you and Me, woman? My hour has not yet come.” (John 2:3-4)

Again in John:

Jesus, therefore, seeing (from the cross) His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” (John 19:26-27)

And once we read in Luke that He did not acknowledge her:

It was reported to Him by some, who said, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside and wish to see You.” (Jesus) answering said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.” (Luke 8:20-21, cf. Matthew 12:46-49, Mark 3:31-35)

In other places Mary is called His mother, but not by His mouth.

[5] This, too, is confirmed by the fact that He did not acknowledge Himself to be the son of David. For we read in the Gospels:

...Jesus asked (the Pharisees), saying, “What do you think regarding the Christ? Whose son is He?” They said to Him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “How then does David in the spirit call Him Lord, saying: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right, till I make Your enemies Your footstool?” ’ If David calls Him Lord, then how is He his Son?” And no one was able to answer Him a word.... (Matthew 22:41-46, cf. Psalms 110:1, Mark 12:35-37, Luke 20:41-44)

It is apparent from this that in respect to His glorified humanity the Lord was neither the son of Mary nor the son of David.

[6] What His glorified humanity was like He showed to Peter, James and John when He was transfigured before them:

His face shone like the sun, and His garments were [as white] as the light.... And then a voice from out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” (Matthew 17:1-8, cf. Mark 9:2-8, Luke 9:28-36)

The Lord also appeared to John “as the sun shining in its power” (Revelation 1:16).

[7] That the Lord’s humanity was glorified is clear from what we are told in the Gospels about His glorification. For example, in the following:

In John:

The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.... (He said,) “Father, glorify Your name.” A voice...came from heaven, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” (John 12:23, 28)

Because the Lord was glorified gradually, therefore the text says, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”

Again in John:

...after (Judas) had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him.... ...God will also glorify Him in Himself, and glorify Him immediately.” (John 13:31-32)


Jesus...said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You....” (John 17:1, 5)

And in Luke:

Ought not the Christ to have suffered this and to enter into His glory? (Luke 24:26)

This He said in regard to His humanity.

[8] The Lord said, “God is glorified in Him, ” “God will also glorify Him in Himself, ” and “Glorify Your Son, that Your Son may also glorify You.” The Lord said these things because the union was a reciprocal one of the Divine with the human and of the human with the Divine. That is why He also said, “I am in the Father and the Father in Me” (John 14:10-11), and “all mine are yours, and (all) yours are mine” (John 17:10). The result was a complete union.

The case is the same with every union. It is not complete unless it is a reciprocal one. Such is the nature also of the union of the Lord with a person and of a person with the Lord, as He teaches in John:

In that day you will know are in Me, and I in you. (John 14:20)

And elsewhere:

Abide in Me, and I in you.... He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit. (John 15:4-5)

[9] Since the Lord glorified His humanity, that is, made it Divine, therefore after death He rose on the third day with His whole body. This does not happen in the case of any other person; for a person rises only in respect to his spirit, and not in respect to his body.

That people might know and no one doubt that the Lord rose with His whole body, He not only said so through the angels who were at the sepulchre, but He also showed Himself in His human body to His disciples, saying to them, when they believed they were seeing a spirit,

See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have. And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. (Luke 24:39-40, cf. John 20:20).

And furthermore:

(Jesus) said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see My hands; and reach out your hand here and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” Then Thomas...said..., “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:27-28)

1[0] To confirm yet again that He was not a spirit but a man, the Lord said to His disciples,

“Have you any food here?” So they gave Him part of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. And He took it and ate in their presence. (Luke 24:41-43)

Since His body was now no longer a material one but an essential, Divine one, therefore He came to His disciples through closed doors (John 20:19, 26). And after they saw Him, He vanished out of their sight (Luke 24:31).

It was in such a state that the Lord was then taken up and sat at the right of God. For we are told in Luke:

It came to pass, as (Jesus) was blessing (His disciples), that He departed from them and was taken up into heaven. (Luke 24:51)

And in Mark:

...after (He) had spoken to them, He was taken up into heaven, and sat at the right of God. (Mark 16:19)

Sitting at the right of God symbolizes Divine omnipotence.

1. Since the Lord rose into heaven and sat at the right of God, symbolizing Divine omnipotence, with His Divinity and humanity united into one, it follows that His human substance or essence was like His Divine substance or essence.

If a person were to think otherwise, it would be as though he thought that the Lord’s Divinity was taken up into heaven and sat at the right of God, but not at the same time His humanity, which is contrary to Scripture. It is also contrary to Christian doctrine, which teaches that in Christ God and man are like soul and body, and to separate them would be contrary to sound reason.

This union of Father and Son, or of the Divine with the human, is what is meant also in the following:

I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father. (John 16:28)

...I go away...and...go to Him who sent Me. (John 16:5, 7:33, cf. 16:16, 17:11, 13, 20:17)

If then you see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? (John 6:62)

No one has ascended into heaven but He who came down from heaven.... (John 3:13)

Everyone who is saved ascends into heaven, though not by his own power, but the Lord’s. The Lord alone ascended into heaven on His own.

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Published by the General Church of the New Jerusalem, 1100 Cathedral Road, Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania 19009, U.S.A. A translation of Doctrina Novae Hierosolymae de Domino, by Emanuel Swedenborg, 1688-1772. Translated from the Original Latin by N. Bruce Rogers. ISBN 9780945003687, Library of Congress Control Number: 2013954074.