Environmental Stewardship Commission

Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota
Lectionary Reflection
Year A, Easter 3, Gospel Lesson

Luke 24: 13-35

That very day, the first day of the week, two of the disciples 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.

Reflection on Luke 24: 13-35
by John Gibbs, Ph D

 “Becoming People Who Are Safe for the World”
(On the Road with a Large-Scale View)

“On the road” is the main theme of this section (vv. 32, 35), which describes a seven-mile walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus. It would have saved us a lot of trouble in interpreting Hebrew scripture if the two disciples on that journey had made a record of what Jesus said when “he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures”! (v. 27). Even then, however, they did not recognize Jesus until “he was at the table with them” (v. 30). Later they related “what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread” (v. 35).

“On the road” takes on, then, a symbolic as well as literal meaning. Our understanding of Jesus the risen Lord is always “on the road,” always a “work in process.” It is also continuously in dialogue with others, never a private possession, nor even a possession at all. It is remindful of the “manna” that fell from heaven anew each day.

Only a People “on the road” is safe for other people and other creatures. There is no place there for ideological rigidity, nor for stopping in one’s tracks to dig out “the fundamentals” as if they were frozen in place for all time. The Church is still “on the road,” awe-struck, gifted by the Spirit, “witnesses” to realities far beyond herself, and still in need of being “clothed with power from on high” (v. 49).

Copyright statement

To Reflections on other Readings for Year A, Easter 3:
Old Testament
Isaiah 43:1-12
Psalm 116
New Testament
1 Peter 1:17-23 
Acts 2:14a, 36-47
Luke 24:13-35
this page

John Gibbs, PhD, a retired theologian, attends Trinity Episcopal Church, Park Rapids, MN.   He originally wrote this reflection in 2002.  He and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to John Gibbs or any MEESC member, or mail them to:
c/o C. Morello
4451 Lakeside Drive
Eveleth, MN 55743-4400 USA

The MEESC assumes that all correspondence received is for publication on this web site. If your comments are not for publication, please so note on your correspondence. The MEESC reserves the right to decide which items are included on the web site.

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