Updated: Feb 5
For anyone who cares, I feel it is most important to clarify a misunderstanding about the Gospel of Luke’s road to Emmaus account.
Here is a link to the Interlinear page for Luke 24, which lists the Greek text (in Greek and transliterated text [put in the alphabet letters Americans recognize]) along with an English translation. One can also look at the New International Version of the standard English translation that is read aloud by a priest in church, whenever Luke 24:13-35 is the chosen Gospel reading.
Again, IF ANYONE CARES, look at verses 13 to 35 and tell me EXACTLY how many times Luke wrote the word that can be translated as “disciples.” [Hint: this would be “mathētai” or “μαθηταὶ”.] CORRECT ANSWER: 0 – Zero – Nada – Not once. The assumption [there is a joke that begins, “Do you know how to spell assume?”] is that the road to Emmaus story had two disciples as the main characters [in addition to Jesus]. There were no “disciples,” but there were TWO [“dyo“] who knew Jesus. Luke identifies this as “them” [“autōn“], “they” [“autoi“], and “one another” [“allēlous“]. In addition to those identifiers, he used the third person plural in other combined forms [for example, the word “ēngisan” means “they drew near”]. Now, in today’s Episcopalian homosexual-loving world, after church two gay men might go home together. BUT, this was back in the normal days of Jesus, when homosexuals still kept all that stuff hidden. What still happens today, which is what happened on the road to Emmaus, is a husband and wife go home together. This means the TWO were man and woman, not a couple of disciples. The male is identified by Luke as being “the one named Cleopas,” but he did not identify the wife for two reasons.
First, Cleopas spoke, which was the husband’s role in public. Second, because identifying women and children was not what they did in texts back then, if Mary had said anything, then it was not to be recorded – as inappropriate to quote a woman. The natural assumption back then was Cleopas walked with Mary of Cleopas, his wife.
[Aside: It is also important to grasp that Jews love fresh baked bread as much as us Americans do. They love it risen with yeast. God told Moses to have the Israelites clean out their houses of leavening and keep it that way for a week, in preparation for the angel of death’s pass over. The story of three walking the road to Emmaus takes place after the Passover Week was over. I can assure you that going without regular food and hot, freshly baked bread risen with yeast an extra day, after a week of nothing good to eat, is not what normal Jews want to do. While it is not written [and more is unwritten than written in Scripture], I can assure you that Cleopas and Mary would not want to impress a stranger (one who had greatly impressed them) with stale, week-old crackers. Mary stopped off at the stash of yeast away from the house on the way in and then baked some fresh bread, which was the invitation given to Jesus. When a meal had been prepared, they all then sat at the table. So, it was a fresh loaf of bread Jesus the pilgrim broke, which was appropriate for the freshy risen Jesus to do.
Also, when we read, “kai autos aphantos egeneto ap’ autōn,” those words are translated by the NIV to state: “and he disappeared from their sight.” This does not mean that a solid flesh body suddenly disappeared like a ghost. Just like when John wrote of Mary Magdalene’s encounter with Jesus, “Thinking he was the gardener,” all three saw real, flesh and blood human beings. Mary Magdalene saw the gardener of the cemetery and Cleopas and Mary saw a pilgrim Jew who was walking the same direction on a road that went well beyond Emmaus. Think about how many times you have seen a ghost and then ask yourself how many other people in the world have REALLY seen a ghost?
No one really believes in ghosts being visible, even if they exist. This means these sightings have to be of real people, which is a HUGE statement about others being one with the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ. It is then examples of Christianity, of the first people who could claim they were in the name of Jesus Christ. Two people, not Jesus of Nazareth, became vehicles through which God spoke, making them become His Son reborn. That is vital to grasp.
The Greek written by Luke literally says, “and he vanished being seen away from them.” The word aphantos translates as “disappeared” and “vanished,” but that does not mean the real pilgrim, who had been divinely possessed by the Holy Spirit of Jesus, disappeared or mysteriously vanished. The eyes of Cleopas and wife Mary had been opened to see the Holy Spirit of Jesus was within a stranger; so, they knew Jesus spoke to them through another human being that looked nothing like Jesus of Nazareth. Once they were allowed to “see” that, after a stranger invited into their home broke the bread and sounded just like Jesus had at the Seder meal, the pilgrim then returned to being a pilgrim that had been touched by Jesus and God. Their vision of Jesus disappeared, not the pilgrim. Thus, before Cleopas and Mary got up and left to go back to Jerusalem, they told the pilgrim, “Stay as long as you want, but we just remembered something important we need to do in Jerusalem.”
By failing to make Scripture believable, it is easy to fake belief or outright say it is impossible to believe.