I. Establish the text
A. Select the Pericope: Luke 24:13-35
B. Establish translation: Review NIV, NRSV, TEV, BHS/NA26, …
C. Other texts for Year A for 3rd Sunday in Easter
D. Brainstorm: What questions/thoughts come to mind?
13 Where is Jerusalem relative to Emmaus? What nearby town is roughly this distance from from the church?
14 Consider the information lag for current events; relative to ancient events. Took two weeks for news of Washington’s election to travel from Philadelphia to New York City.
16 We continue to be kept from recognizing Jesus. Consider the painting of Jesus as a composite of many people’s faces.
17-19 Jesus asks the disciples to be witnesses.
24 The other disciples were also kept from recognizing Jesus, only the women saw.
25-27 Study of the Scriptures is essential for belief.
28-32 c.f. hospitality of Abraham in the OT.
E. Reconsider where the text begins and ends: What got chopped out?
- The preceding pericope ends with Peter wondering what had happened in the tomb.
- Verses 33-35 form a segue to the appearance of Jesus in the upper room with the Eleven. This passage is similar to that in John 20:19-31, which also includes the eating of fish. Thus the Eleven, according to Luke, have been told twice about the resurrection of Jesus.
II. Literary Study.
B. What parallel passages exist? How do they differ? How does this author’s intent differ from other authors? Is the text used elsewhere?
- Mark summarizes this passage in two sentences: Jesus appeared to two disciples on the road and they were not believed when they reported this to others.
III. Question the text.
B. Are there any unusual details? Un-named characters? ‘Pointless’ description? Meanings of names of characters? What does a literal meaning of natural metaphors imply?
What does Cloephas mean? Might be related to reports all(?).
What is significant about Emmaus? Could be etymologically related by Hebrew to word for alongside(?). PEotB relates it to warm springs.
D. Look for conflict: stated or implied.
- Irony between what Jesus knows and what the two disciples accuse Jesus of not knowing.
F. How will this text be heard by individuals in the congregation, including the preacher?
- Growing in Faith as a journey.
IV. What do the commentaries have to say about the text?
R. Alan Culpepper, (NIB: Luke): Emmaus is a place to get away from it all. Where you go when frightened by what’s happening. Did not plan to share table with God, but in sharing their table found God to be present. Opposite of what happened with Lazarus and the beggar. Perception of God is transitory (How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?) Easter is not over at sundown Sunday. Affects the rest of our lives. The women never saw angels again. Cloephas and the other never ate with Jesus again. Extension of the Easter reality. Our hearts are “strangely warmed” and we recognize him in the breaking of bread. “How can we not go out and tell?”
Fred B. Craddock: Interpretation: Luke In the breaking of the bread and sharing of the cup all Christians become first century disciples.
V. With respect to the hearers (including the preacher), What does this text want to say and do?
Those times when my sermons were best received,
when parishioners came up and said: “I felt you were preaching directly to me,”
were those times when I was preaching to myself. — Rabbi Chet Diamond
A. What is the theological meaning of the verses?
Jesus is always in our midst, even when we least expect it. We always eat with Jesus when we share whatever we have with those we meet.
C. Function Statement: What change in the hearer?
Having met Jesus where we least expect to meet him, we must run back and tell everyone.