Exegetical Notes Luke 24:13-35 -- By: Walter L. Liefeld
TrinJ 2:2 (Fall 1981) p. 223
Exegetical Notes Luke 24:13-35
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Exegetical study of the Emmaus story is necessary, not so much for the solution of grammatical or linguistic problems, as for an understanding of the semantic nuances of the narrative and for an appreciation of its vividness and impact. Its function in this resurrection chapter of Luke seems to be both apologetic and devotional. Luke certainly intended to offer confirmation of the resurrection story (vv 1–12) through the Emmaus narrative. At the same time Luke surely expects that the hearts of the readers will also “burn” within them as they read of this encounter with the risen Christ (cf. v 32). The key to both the confirmatory and devotional aspects of the story is found not only in the appearance of the risen Christ, but also in the role of the Scriptures. “Proof from prophecy” is a theme of Luke, and this apologetic procedure is seen in vv 25–27. The emotional response mentioned in v 32 is also connected with the “opening” of the Scriptures.
Because of certain features of the Emmaus narrative, and especially considering its place and significance in the sequence of resurrection stories, attention has naturally been given to the question of its historicity. This obviously affects its apologetic value. Such questions lie outside of the purpose of this “Exegetical Notes” column, but honest scholarship requires at least this brief mention of the issue. There is no doubt but that the editorial hand of Luke is seen in the narrative. We need to give full attention to the way Luke has presented the story, including words and phrases which tie it in with the preceding and following contexts. Such observations need not prejudice our judgment regarding the historical nature of the incident itself.
v 13-Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. v 14-They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. v 15-As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; v 16-but they were kept from recognizing him.
καί ἰδοὺ (“and”; NIV: “now”) serves to alert the attention of the reader to this new significant phase of the narrative.
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