April 15 (1): Luke 24:25ff, 44-47

A unique (and often overlooked) detail in the Lukan Resurrection narratives is the way in which the Risen Jesus interprets the Scriptures for the disciples, showing how his suffering, death, and resurrection were foretold (or prefigured) in the Sacred Writings. This is specifically narrated in two episodes: (1) on the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:25-27, 32), and (2) the Appearance to the Eleven (Luke 24:44-47).

1. On the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:25-27, 32)

I discussed this episode in a prior post. In my view, it is the two-fold exposition of vv. 19-27 which is central to the scene:

(a) Vv. 19-24: The two disciples, in response to Jesus’ question (poi=a; “what [things]?”), unintentionally (in the narrative context) present a summary of the Gospel, an early bit of kerygma (cf. Acts 2:22-24): describing the death and resurrection (i.e. report of the empty tomb).
(b) Vv. 25-27: After rebuking the disciples,
a)rca/meno$ a)po\ Mwu+se/w$ kai\ a)po\ pa/ntw=n tw=n profhtw=n diermh/neusen au)toi=$ e)n pa/sai$ tai=$ grafai=$ ta\ peri\ e(autou=
“beginning from Moses and from all the Prophets he explained through [i.e. interpreted] to them the [things] about himself in all the Writings” (v. 27).

Once the disciples recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread (sacramental symbolism), and he becomes invisible to them (an interesting reversal of the symbolism), they specifically recall the earlier exposition (v. 32):

ou)xi\ h( kardi/a h(mw=n kaiome/nh h@n [e)n h(mi=n]
“was not our heart burning in us”

w($ e)la/lei h(mi=n e)n th=| o(dw=|
“as he spoke with us in the way”
w($ dih/noigen h(mi=n  ta\$ grafa/$;
“as he opened through [i.e. explained] to us the Writings?”

2. The Appearance to the Eleven (Luke 24:44-47)

There are two parts to this scene: (a) the Appearance (vv. 36-43, cf. John 20:19-20), and (b) Instruction/Commission to the Disciples (vv. 44-49). With regard to (b), I would structure it as follows:

i. v. 44 “These are the words/accounts [logoi] of mine which I spoke to [lit. toward] you, being yet with you:”

o%ti dei= plhrwqh=nai pa/nta ta\ gegramme/na
“that it was necessary to be fulfilled all the (things) having been written”

e)n tw=| no/mw| Mwu+se/w$
“in the law of Moses”
kai\ toi=$ profh/tai$ kai\ yalmoi=$
“and (in) the Prophets and Psalms”

peri\ e)mou=
“about me”

ii. v. 45-47 “Then he opened [lit. opened through] their mind for the(ir) putting-together [i.e. so as to understand] the Writings…” (indirect discussion)
“…and he said to them” (direct discourse):

ou%tw$ ge/graptai
“Thus it has been written”  (note the three clauses each beginning with an infinitive)

paqei=n to\n Xristo\n
to suffer the Anointed (One) [i.e., that the Anointed would suffer]”
kai\ a)nasth=nai e)k nekrw=n th=| tri/th| h(me/ra|
“and to stand up [i.e. rise] out of (the) dead ones in the third day”
kai\ khruxqh=nai e)pi tw=| o)no/mati au)tou= meta/noian
“and to proclaim upon his name change-of-mind [i.e. repentance]”

ei)$ a&fesin a(martiw=n
“unto release of sins”
ei)$ pa/nta ta\ e&qnh
“unto all nations”

iii. v. 47b Transitional clause: “(the ones/things) beginning from Jerusalem…”

iv. v. 48-49 The commission: “…you are witnesses of these (things)”

“and see—I set (forth) from (me) [i.e. send] the anouncement of my Father upon you”
“but you—sit [i.e. settle/remain] in the city until the (moment in) which you should be put in power out of (the) height [i.e. clothed in power from on high]”

The Scriptural exposition of vv. 44-47 leads to the Apostolic commission in vv. 48-49. The hinge is the transitional clause “beginning from Jerusalem…”; this also symbolizes the joining line of Luke’s two-volume work—the Gospel and Acts. With regard to the exposition of Scripture, as indicated above, this is presented in two aspects: (i) a reiteration of Jesus’ earlier teaching (“it is necessary…”) regarding the fulfillment of Scripture, and (ii) the “opening” the disciples mind to understand the Scriptures. For (ii) I would point out that this is likewise presented under two aspects:

First, the act of “opening” (v. 45)—here it is a specific moment, indicated by to/te (“then, at that time”). The verb (dianoi/gw, an intensive stem from a)noi/gw, “to open”) would be rendered literally, “opened through” or “thoroughly opened”; it is the same verb used in the Emmaus narrative: “their eyes were opened (dihnoi/xqhsan)” v. 31, and “as he opened (dih/noigen) the Scriptures to us” v. 32.

Second, a summary of the “opening” of the Scriptures (vv. 46-47, cf. v. 32)—under the declaration “thus it has been written” (ou%tw$ ge/graptai), what follows is a terse credal statement, a sequence of infinitives: “to suffer” (paqei=n), “to stand/rise up” (a)nasth=nai), “to be proclaimed” (khruxqh=nai).

Interestingly, neither in this episode, nor in the Emmaus narrative, is it ever demonstrated exactly what Jesus taught—just what Scriptures did he expound and explain to the disciples, and how was this done? It is this question, along with a further discussion of the theme of the fulfillment of Scripture (cf. v. 44 et al.), which I will address in an upcoming article.

For more on the Lukan Resurrection narrative in chap. 24, see my note on the key variant readings in the “Western” Text.