Appearances in Galilee
N ow on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, "What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?" They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, "Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?" He asked them, "What things?" They replied, "The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him." Then he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?" Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures. As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, "Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over." So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?" That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, "The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!" Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread. While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, "Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.
Luke 24: 13-43
Appearances in Galilee.
This charming story is proper to Luke. It is more than story - it is a sophisticated Eucharistic catechesis: a 'liturgy of the word' followed by a 'liturgy of the Eucharist.' The conversation between Jesus and the two disciples, in which they discuss recent events and he answers them, is a clear outline of the early preaching in Acts. Jesus lived, died and was raised from the dead, a fact which is witnessed in the scriptures and supported by the testimony of the apostles.
The description of the situation of the two disciples is poignant. They had been impressed by Jesus the man; they had hoped for a divine intervention while he was alive; their hope had been shattered by his death. They had obviously remained firmly tied to a Jewish expectation of the Messiah. After Jesus had explained what the scriptures really taught about the coming Messiah, they gained a deeper insight into the revelation of God in Christ. In the plan of God the cross was the necessary road to glory: 'Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?' 24:26. There is a lot of ourselves in those two disciples. The ragged story of our life reveals its full splendour only when viewed in the context of Christ.
But the disciples did not really recognise Jesus until 'the breaking of the bread' 24; 31, 35. Luke's readers could not have missed the point. Not only was 'the breaking of the bread' already a familiar designation of the Eucharist, the terms describing the actions of Jesus at table - he took ... blessed ... broke ... gave (v. 30) -- are explicitly Eucharistic language see 22: 19. Luke is telling us here that in the Eucharist we experience a meeting with Christ. We share a meal with Jesus in which he gives himself to us. The risen Jesus is met when and whenever the church 'breaks bread.'
The appearance story 24: 36-43 has quite obvious apologetic motifs: Jesus shows that he is the same person whom the disciples had known prior to the crucifixion by pointing to his body and by eating before them. As in all the appearance stories, the risen Jesus is not immediately recognisable v. 37; a gesture or word is necessary before the disciples recognise the Lord. This is quite a clever way of making the point that resurrection is not a return to earthly life; Jesus has risen to a new life beyond death. He is the same person - yet transformed. Here the point is firmly made that the risen Jesus is no 'ghost'. The assertion that he invited touching of his (wounded) hands and feet and that he ate in their presence is, in the apologetic of the time, a firm Christian rejection of any challenge to the reality of the new life of their Lord.
This is the Story of Jesus drawn from the four Evangelists
Gospel passages accompanied by a number of brief commentaries