How Jesus Was Made Known

11 Sep
Jesus' Made Known in Emmaus

from Google Images

When the two disciples who walked and spoke with Jesus arrived in Emmaus, Jesus made out like he would continue (Luke 24:28), because travelers, who wished to cover great distances and had a significant amount of daylight left, wouldn’t normally stop early for the day, unless they were invited to do so. The Greek word (G4364) means to make a show or pretend. It is used only here in the New Testament and in the Septuagint only at Job 19:14 where Job claims that his friends would pretend they didn’t know him.

What seems to be occurring in Luke’s account is that it was customary for a traveler who met someone along the way to act as though he would continue on, if the second traveler arrived at his destination before him. This allowed the second traveler to either invite the first to stay with him or allow the first traveler to continue on his journey. Thus, the second traveler was not forced to offer accommodations to the other in a culture that demanded one to be hospitable. The Lord never forces himself upon us, but always allows us the courtesy to invite him into our lives or reject him. It is always left to us to decide. Long-story-short, they invited Jesus to stay with them, and they all reclined at the table for the noon meal.

The Babylonian Talmud, a Jewish record of the teaching of the rabbis during Jesus’ day, contains many rules for blessing different kinds of food. Different rabbis are quoted and, at times, even fault is found with what one rabbi said concerning conducting a blessing over certain foods. It seems to me, therefore, that during the time of Jesus, if a teacher (rabbi) was present at mealtime, officiating the blessing at the meal would fall to him, and to the most celebrated teacher, if more than one were present. If this is a correct understanding, then the fact that Jesus was placed in the position of honor at the table to officiate the blessing over the meal is evidence of two disciples’ change of heart (Luke 24:29-30). He was no longer viewed as a stranger (cf. Luke 24:18). Now the two were willing to believe **all** things written in the scriptures concerning the Messiah, not merely what appeared to support their then present understanding of the Gods word.

When he became known to them, Jesus vanished out of their sight (Luke 24:31). Perhaps he became known to the two men, when they saw Jesus’ nail-pierced hands, as he broke the bread during the blessing (Luke 24:35). After Jesus was gone, the two discussed the way the scriptures had been opened to them (Luke 24:32). Before this meeting with the Lord, they had given too much authority to what men had taught, but now new understanding had burnt all that away, due to the explanation Jesus had given the scriptures that pertained to him. Oftentimes, we may read and reread portions of scripture and understand only what we had been taught or believe only in the context of men’s traditions, but once the Lord reveals his truth to us, and we accept it as from him, we are unable to give ourselves over to those doctrines of men again.

Immediately, the two disciples left for Jerusalem to tell the other disciples. Unable to keep such an understanding to themselves, they simply had to return to their brethren and tell them the good news of Jesus’ resurrection (Luke 24:29, 33). Therefore, since Emmaus was 60 stadia (or furlongs) from Jerusalem.[1] (Luke 24:23), it would be possible for these two men to walk to Emmaus (cir. 8 American miles) and return in a single day, only if they left Jerusalem early enough to arrive in Emmaus close to the noon meal (Luke 24:29-30), and left Emmaus early enough to arrive in Jerusalem before sunset (compare Luke 24:13, 33; with Luke 24:36 and John10:19).

In this context, therefore, they had to have left the main body of disciples in the morning shortly after or about the time of the Wave Sheaf Offering ceremony at the Temple, because men could travel afoot only about fifteen to twenty miles a day at best,[2] assuming a good uneventful journey from sunrise to sunset, which also included rests and perhaps time to eat.

After returning to Jerusalem and seeing the other disciples, it seems Cleopas began by saying it was true that Jesus is alive, because he appeared to Simon, Cleopas’ companion. Then they told the others what had befallen them, as they traveled to Emmaus, and how Jesus opened the scriptures to them. After this, they told the others how Jesus was made known to them through the breaking of the bread, which, no doubt, means they noticed his wounded hands (Luke 24:34-35). Yet, neither did the Eleven believe them (Mark 16:12-13)! Such is the power of false doctrine that creates a false worldview.


[1] See JOSEPHUS, Wars 7.6.6

[2] See Jeffers, The Greco-Roman World, page 37.

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Posted by on September 11, 2018 in Gospel of Luke


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