Saturday, May 14, 2011

Road to Emmaus

(Sorry - just noticed I never posted last week's lesson!  It was meant as an assessment.  See where the students were after a year of studies in terms of being able to make sense of and pose questions about scripture on their own.  We read this because it has so many connections with last week's study on Thomas and the Road to Emmaus is such an important story about recognizing Jesus.)

Luke 24 Jesus Comes Back to Life (also in Matthew 28:1–10; Mark 16:1–8; John 20:1–10)
Very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb. They were carrying the spices that they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb. When they went in, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were puzzled about this, two men in clothes that were as bright as lightning suddenly stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed to the ground.

The men asked the women, “Why are you looking among the dead for the living one? He’s not here. He has been brought back to life! Remember what he told you while he was still in Galilee. He said, ‘The Son of Man must be handed over to sinful people, be crucified, and come back to life on the third day.’ ” Then the women remembered what Jesus had told them.

The women left the tomb and went back to the city. They told everything to the eleven apostles and all the others. The women were Mary from Magdala, Joanna, and Mary (the mother of James). There were also other women with them. They told the apostles everything. The apostles thought that the women’s story didn’t make any sense, and they didn’t believe them.

But Peter got up and ran to the tomb. He bent down to look inside and saw only the strips of linen. Then he went away, wondering what had happened.

Jesus Appears to Disciples on a Road to Emmaus
On the same day, two of Jesus’ disciples were going to a village called Emmaus. It was about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking to each other about everything that had happened. While they were talking, Jesus approached them and began walking with them. Although they saw him, they didn’t recognize him. He asked them, “What are you discussing?”

They stopped and looked very sad. One of them, Cleopas, replied, “Are you the only one in Jerusalem who doesn’t know what has happened recently?”

“What happened?” he asked. They said to him, “We were discussing what happened to Jesus from Nazareth. He was a powerful prophet in what he did and said in the sight of God and all the people. Our chief priests and rulers had him condemned to death and crucified. We were hoping that he was the one who would free Israel. What’s more, this is now the third day since everything happened. Some of the women from our group startled us. They went to the tomb early this morning and didn’t find his body. They told us that they had seen angels who said that he’s alive. Some of our men went to the tomb and found it empty, as the women had said, but they didn’t see him.”

Then Jesus said to them, “How foolish you are! You’re so slow to believe everything the prophets said! Didn’t the Messiah have to suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then he began with Moses’ Teachings and the Prophets to explain to them what was said about him throughout the Scriptures. When they came near the village where they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. They urged him, “Stay with us! It’s getting late, and the day is almost over.” So he went to stay with them.
While he was at the table with them, he took bread and blessed it. He broke the bread and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. But he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Weren’t we excited when he talked with us on the road and opened up the meaning of the Scriptures for us?” That same hour they went back to Jerusalem. They found the eleven apostles and those who were with them gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has really come back to life and has appeared to Simon.”

Then the two disciples told what had happened on the road and how they had recognized Jesus when he broke the bread.

1) I’ve been writing studies with questions for you guys all year. Now I want to know what questions you would write about this text. What do you notice, and how would you ask someone else about it?

Students spent more time noticing than posing questions.  They noticed that it was the women who returned to the tomb, that the disciples did not believe them (just like Thomas), that only Peter went to the tomb.  (I shared about John being mentioned in John's account.) And that even after that Peter didn't know what to think.  They noticed that the Emmaus story was on Easter, wondered why the disciples wouldn't recognize him.  They thought that Jesus pretended to be going on because it would have been rude to assume that you were invited in, or maybe to give them a chance to invite him.  They wondered if there was something distinctive about how Jesus broke the bread, and figured that the disciples must have seen him do that before.  They noticed that despite the long walk (2-3 hours) they went back, and that the apostles were still in the room.  They connected that the end of this story was the beginning of last week's.

Photo credit: bobosh_t @ Flickr from the Shkolnik Icons in St. Paul's Orthodox Church, Dayton, OH

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