Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: Road to Emmaus
Volume 8 No. 476 April 20, 2018
II. Featured: Road to Emmaus

Gospel Text: Jesus on the Road to Emmaus
Scripture: Luke 24:13-35

That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, "What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?"

And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?" And he said to them, "What things?" And they said to him, "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up 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 happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even 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 him they did not see."

And he said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, "Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent." So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.

They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?" And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, "The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!" Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Emmaus and Us

by Dr. Scott Hahn

Gospel: Luke 24:13-35

We should put ourselves in the shoes of the disciples in today's Gospel. Downcast and confused they're making their way down the road, unable to understand all the things that have occurred.

They know what they've seen - a prophet mighty in word and deed. They know what they were hoping for - that He would be the redeemer of Israel. But they don't know what to make of His violent death at the hands of their rulers.

They can't even recognize Jesus as He draws near to walk with them. He seems like just another foreigner visiting Jerusalem for the Passover.

Note that Jesus doesn't disclose His identity until they they describe how they found His tomb empty but "Him they did not see." That's how it is with us, too. Unless He revealed himself we would see only an empty tomb and a meaningless death.

How does Jesus make himself known at Emmaus? First, He interprets "all the Scriptures" as referring to Him. In today's First Reading and Epistle, Peter also opens the Scriptures to proclaim the meaning of Christ's death according to the Father's "set plan" - foreknown before the foundation of the world.

Jesus is described as a new Moses and a new Passover lamb. He is the One of whom David sang in today's Psalm - whose soul was not abandoned to corruption but was shown the path of life.

After opening the Scriptures, Jesus at table took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to the disciples - exactly what He did at the Last Supper (see Luke 22:14-20).

In every Eucharist, we reenact that Easter Sunday at Emmaus. Jesus reveals himself to us in our journey. He speaks to our hearts in the Scriptures. Then at the table of the altar, in the person of the priest, He breaks the bread.

The disciples begged him, "Stay with us." So He does. Though He has vanished from our sight, in the Eucharist - as at Emmaus - we know Him in the breaking of the bread.

Will We See Jesus?

by Andy Draycott
Associate Professor of Theology and Christian Ethics
Talbot School of Theology, Biola University.

On the road to Emmaus, we see resurrection church: On the first day of the week the Scriptures of God expounded in the promised presence of the risen Lord and participation in the meal of the body, where stomachs and hearts, body and soul, are warmed companionably.

That Sunday meeting, like many a Sunday meeting is participated in with reluctant, downcast postures. Hopes crushed and nerves frayed. How many of us have not sat or stood in worship preoccupied with our own burdens? Taken up in pondering our unwinding futures? We may even have nodded through a sermon, or paid lip service with our singing, yet our hearts have remained cold. "O foolish ones, and slow of heart," indeed!

As Thomas Carlisle suggests in his poem, the two disciples' dreams had been crucified with their master, whom they had hoped would be the redeemer of Israel. He had been a prophet but now had gone the way of prophets to his death in Jerusalem. And now, they report, (in a cheerful note of narrative delight - to the risen Lord himself), their hopes are mocked with the disappearance of his body from the tomb. The women from their company are known to them and normally to be trusted; and their amazing testimony about the empty tomb is confirmed by disciples even closer to these two travelers. But where is Jesus?

"Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened." They knew the third day predictions that Jesus had spoken, but in their sadness cannot hope in their meaning. They use this third day code to allude to what they both share, in common shattered hope, without explicitly naming that outlandish dream to the stranger on the way.

Both artists, Brooks and Zaborsky, in their own ways, make Jesus an ethereal figure in their Emmaus paintings. Is he fading in along the way and then fading out from the table? And what can that mean for one who is physically resurrected, and for experience of him by disciples? Or is it rather that the superabundance of his more than mortal frame breaks the bounds of mortal vision – "their eyes were kept from recognizing him." As Jesus, the stranger expounded, did not he need to "suffer these things and enter into his glory?"

If we cannot hope to grasp or capture "glory," can we still be attracted to it, glimpse it?

Cleopas and his companion are in flight, but even so, they have been shaped by their culture and discipleship to generous hospitality. Good habits die hard. They invite, they strongly urge, the stranger to eat with them. And in his gesture of blessing and breaking bread they recognize Jesus, the one who days earlier had done this exact same thing in new covenant anticipation of his death. This death - that had left them scattered, afraid, and fleeing – now remembered, re-members them: these two are unmasked to each other, opened toward each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?"

And so they rush back to the community that they were just earlier leaving – to speak of fulfillment, and receive news of that fulfillment: "The Lord has risen indeed."

Our temporal hopes are indeed shattered along the way, and when we look to each other as sustainers of our hopes we fail one another, no church fellowship is perfect. Yet, having our eyes and hearts turned toward Jesus is how we will bear with and encourage one another. That sacrifice of worship of the risen Lord, for which we will often feel ill disposed or ill equipped, from which we would just as soon flee as enter in, is how the Lord will be present to us, until we share his glorified life in the banquet to come.

Will we generously host when our hearts are sad? Will we see Jesus in the face of each other in fellowship? Will we journey with another in doubt and hear the word of the Lord? In Jesus' present ascension rule do we trust and look for the Holy Spirit's presence in Word and Sacrament? Will we admit to the simple joy of the good news of our salvation in vulnerable brokenness, without reserve or sophistication? Will we see Jesus?


Lord, open our eyes and warm our hearts by your word of truth. Revive us by your presence and accompaniment along the way. May we enjoy telling of your resurrection as the hope that secures our future. Meet us, we pray, in our fears of today, and be to us nourishment for our souls.

© Biola University, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Resurrection Doubts

by Prof. David Lose

Here's my brief take this vignette from Luke's larger narrative about the resurrection appearances of Jesus: if you don't have serious doubts about the Easter story, you're not paying attention.


I mean, just read the story. Actually, all of the stories. For while the four gospels have many interesting variations in their account of Jesus' resurrection, they are absolutely consistent on one thing: no one believes the good news of Jesus' resurrection when they first hear it. No one. And that includes Jesus' own disciples, the ones who were closest to him and spent the most time with him. In fact, that level of disbelief starts with the disciples.

Earlier in the verses before this reading, Luke tells us that the disciples dismissed the testimony of the women who had been to the empty tomb as an "idle tale." Actually, that's not what Luke tells us, that's the water-downed translation we're used to. The Greek word Luke employs – leros – is the root of our word delirious. So in response to the testimony of the women, the disciples say they are out of their freakin' minds. Nice.

But perhaps expected. You see, here's the thing: the earth is generally unwilling to cough up the dead. And testimony that it has – that one who died has actually been raised – kind of upsets the natural order and causes you to lose confidence in pretty much everything you thought you could count on. Two things, Benjamin Franklin once wrote to a friend, are certain in this world: death and taxes. Except, according to these women, not death.

So no wonder the disciples doubt their testimony. Except it's not just their testimony, they doubt; it's even Jesus. That's what's so astounding to me about this passage. Thus far in Luke's account, the disciples have heard and dismissed the women's testimony, Peter then ran to the tomb and confirmed at the very least that it's empty, two disciples on the road to Emmaus were encounter by Jesus and have returned to tell their tale, and now…wait for it, wait for it…now Jesus has appeared among them and invited them to touch him to dispel any doubts they may have that he is real. And then Luke writes, "While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering…."

Isn't that marvelous? That even after all this they still don't believe. And even more marvelous, that they can be both joyful and disbelieving at the same time.

Can we just say it? Doubt is not the opposite of faith. Doubt, in fact, is probably a necessary ingredient to faith. Faith, by definition, is trust in spite of a lack of evidence. Faith is not knowledge. Faith is more tension-filled. It is acting as if something is true even when you have no proof that it is.

Which means that when we talk about the "gathering of the faithful," we're not talking about the gathering of those who's faith/knowledge is absolute or certain or bedrock. We're talking about those people who have all kinds of questions and doubts but still find joy and wonder in this message of good news about new life. Or maybe who want to find joy and wonder, haven't yet, but keeping coming because of their hope.

All of which suggests two things to me for this week's sermon. First, it's okay to doubt. In fact, it's probably a requirement of faith. Because, honestly, in light of all the death and trauma and disappoint and tragedy that colors every human life, if you don't have at least some difficulty believing the promise that God not only raised one person, Jesus, from the dead, but also promises new life and second chances and forgiveness and grace to all, then you're probably not paying attention.

Second, I would like to ask people how we might live differently if acted like God's promises were true. So often, I think, these promises are so familiar to us that we hold them far back in our head but don't actually think about them and so don't act as if they are true. But if it's true that God raised Jesus from the dead… If it's true that God promises to renew the whole creation and grant us new life… If it's true that nothing – nothing we've done or has been done to us – can separate us from the love of God… If it's true that God will not turn God's back on any of us but always reaches out to us in grace, mercy, and forgiveness… If any of this – let alone all of this – is true, then how might we live our lives this week differently? How might this faith – not knowledge, but trusting, courageous faith – change how we look at our relationships, and our politics, and our work, and our resources, and our future?

And if it takes a little time to let all this sink in, to come to active trust and faith that these promises are true, well, then let's keep in mind that we're in good company. Jesus' first disciples struggled with all this as well.

This is the word I'd like to hear this week - the promise of resurrection, new life, and grace is so outlandish, so uncommon, and so desperately necessary that it has always elicited a measure of doubt. But it has also always elicited changed lives as well.

Source: Partner in Preaching

Have You Seen Jesus?

by Oswald Chambers

"After that, He appeared in another form to two of them . . ." - Mark 16:12

Being saved and seeing Jesus are not the same thing. Many people who have never seen Jesus have received and share in God's grace. But once you have seen Him, you can never be the same. Other things will not have the appeal they did before.

You should always recognize the difference between what you see Jesus to be and what He has done for you. If you see only what He has done for you, your God is not big enough. But if you have had a vision, seeing Jesus as He really is, experiences can come and go, yet you will endure "as seeing Him who is invisible" (Hebrews 11:27). The man who was blind from birth did not know who Jesus was until Christ appeared and revealed Himself to him (see John 9). Jesus appears to those for whom He has done something, but we cannot order or predict when He will come. He may appear suddenly, at any turn. Then you can exclaim, "Now I see Him!" (see John 9:25).

Jesus must appear to you and to your friend individually; no one can see Jesus with your eyes. And division takes place when one has seen Him and the other has not. You cannot bring your friend to the point of seeing; God must do it. Have you seen Jesus? If so, you will want others to see Him too. "And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either" (Mark 16:13). When you see Him, you must tell, even if they don't believe.

O could I tell, you surely would believe it!
O could I only say what I have seen!
How should I tell or how can you receive it,
How, till He bringeth you where I have been?

Source: My Utmost for His Highest (The Golden Book of Oswald Chambers;1992) 1935/1992

Poem: Supper with Jesus Christ

by Thomas Carlisle

At first they didn't know him
didn't even see him
till he said
something which said
something to them
as always.

Always to them he spoke
always to him
or her
looked to his lips
fastened upon
his face
he spoke directly
and in person
until distance shattered
and vanished altogether.

Immersed in all that ailed
them and the world
they thought no hope
could interrupt
their dialogue
with doom and death.
But he was Life.

They let him slip
into that conversation
and insert a new
prevenient dimension.
They began
again with him
and saw all time
spread out before them
until it all
led to the hill
that crucified their dreams.

Him whom they had not welcomed
at first at last they could not
let go. They hailed him into
their home for bread
he held within his hands
until the breaking
burst their blindfold.

About the Poet:

Thomas John Carlisle (1913-1992) was an American poet and Presbyterian minister. His published poetry collections include Journey with Job; Eve and After: Old Testament Women in Portrait; Beginning with Mary: Women of the Gospels in Portrait; and Looking for Jesus: Poems in Search of the Christ of the Gospels.

Holy Qurbano and The Emmaus Journey
Emmaus Journey closely resembles the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

First, Christ explained the Scriptures as we have in the Readings at Qurbano and the sermon.
Sound familiar? The Liturgy of the Word. (Vachana Srushusha)

Then the Liturgy of the Eucharist. (Anaphora of the Faithful, Public Celebration of the Holy Qurbano)

Then the dismissal - or in this case these two disciples traveling back to Jerusalem - making their trip a 24 hour trip, for seven miles was close to a day's walk at time of Jesus.

When they reached Jerusalem, they found the others gathered together and shared their story - evangelization or giving testimony - which we are all sent out to do at the end of the service.

"Go, announce the Gospel of the Lord."
"Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life."
"Go forth, the Mass is ended."
"Go in peace."

Note: Keep in mind, the Emmaus story was not written down till decades later, by someone who had faithfully lived the eucharistic life of the early church. He is teaching through this episode what the eucharistic liturgy is really about.


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