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Luke 24

Updated: Oct 24, 2023




For Saloni the theme of recognition dominates Luke 24:13-35. The Road to Emmaus tells a story in which recognition of the risen Christ is oddly delayed for two of his disciples. They meet Jesus while travelling out of Jerusalem and call him a ‘stranger’ (v.18). Recognition only happens at the moment bread is broken for supper, after their journey is done. Saloni points to how this unfolding is linked to our own delays in life when it comes to recognising people, opportunities or threats. I feel the frustration of missing out on things is often felt with hindsight; but luckily the two disciples make the crucial realisation in the moment. Jesus ‘vanishes’ (v.31), however, and they are left with the trace of the past as they ask each other: “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road?”

‘Stay’ stuck out for me because it is the first time in these resurrection narratives when there is a sense of rest (v.29). It could also be because it resonates with Shane Koyczan’s utterance of the word at the beginning of his poem Move Pen Move. The disciples say “Stay with us” to Jesus as he is close to walking on. It is a call to extend the good time they’ve been having in each-others company. It is a command loaded with emotional freight that travels through time and connects with any experience one has had in which they want a temporary state to continue endlessly. The other narratives have been focused on ‘Go’, but this ‘stay’ adds a softness which allows a revelation to take place. The broken bread can be seen before the next need to ‘get up’ and go arises.

Patience helps us understand the delay in recognition. She suggests that the disciple’s ability to recognize Jesus was contingent upon their spiritual state. It takes the process of having the scriptures ‘opened’ to them before they can appreciate what is in front of them (v.32). Patience raises the point of how praise and worship need to come before an understanding of the word. This speaks to Matthew 28 in the way the women and disciples worship Jesus first before comprehending. Patience’s word ‘wondering’ speak to more than its use in verse 4. It is the wondering about the puzzle of how the two travellers go from recounting the story they heard that morning to Jesus to only believing it after bread has been broken later on. Why don’t they believe the initial account? Why is it bread that holds the key? Maybe it’s because they distrust the women who only saw a ‘vision’ (v.23). Maybe it’s because once broken, bread has to be shared. Maybe its because the bread speaks to Jesus’ body which has been hung on the cross. We muse about this and run out of time for a psalm.

A final note of comfort is how Jesus ‘interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures’ (v.27). This quote acts as a riposte for those that think the Bible speaks transparently, and does not require interpretation. Interpretation shouldn’t be a dirty word, it should be enjoyed.

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