WHO WERE THE TWO DISCIPLES
ON THE ROAD TO EMMAUS?
In Luke 24:9-
"And returned (speaking of Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and other women) from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest... Told these things unto the apostles."
The eleven disciples, and the ‘rest’, which would mean the 70, or those still alive, and in the next verse it refers to the whole group as the ‘apostles’ (meaning ‘sent ones’, and thus meaning all those ‘sent’ out by the Lord), showing us that the 70 or many of them were herein told of the resurrection.
The ones who had been killed, had been with Jesus in paradise, and they did not need to be told, but were about this time being resurrected also, and showing, i.e. presenting themselves to many.
Then in verse 13, it says;
"And behold; two of them, went that same day to a village called Emmaus,which was from Jerusalem about threescore (60) furlongs."
Two of the 70, on their way to Emmaus, after having just heard of the resurrection, but still with some doubts, but in case it were true, and in case it was the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy to them regarding His return, they start out where they left off, going from city to city, in groups of two, to announce Jesus.
Only Luke records details of this talk of Jesus with these two on the road to Emmaus. The reason he wrote his gospel was that Matthew, Mark, and John had left out most of the gospel relating to the seventy disciples.
Luke was one of the 70, and he wanted the details of their ministry and relationship with Jesus recorded. Prejudice against the Greeks who were amidst the 70 was still strong, and made the 12 hesitant to even mention the 70. Eight years after the ascension, Peter finally preached to Cornelius’ household. And the rest of the disciples attempted to rebuke him for that.
"And behold, two of them, went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs (slightly over 6 miles).And they talked together of all these things which had happened."
"and one of them, whose name was Cleopas."
Cleopas is an Greek form of the name Clopas (Aramaic). This one was the father of James the less, Thaddaeus, Jude, and Matthew. He was also the brother to Matthew, step uncle of Jesus.
"Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, His mother, and His mother’s sister,
Mary, the wife of Cleopas, and Mary Magnalene."
He is also called Alphaeus.
Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18, Luke 6:15
"...James, the son of Alphaeus..."
This is the same Alphaeus mentioned in the gospels as the father of James the less, Matthew, Simon the Zealot, and Jude. (Note: Judas is also known as Lebbaeus or Thaddaeus)
It was very common for people to have more than one name, for various reasons. There was the Hebrew version of a name, an Aramaic, a Greek, and a Roman. Some were known by the designation which indicated who their father was, as Nathanael was also known as Bartholomew (meaning "Son of Tholmai"). There also were name changes, as Simon became Peter,
and Levi became Matthew. In John 14:22, one is called "Judas, not Ischariot." This shows a reason for the disciples to use another of his names
to refer to this person, for confusion is easy with Judas Ischariot. After the betrayal, Thaddaeus was even more hesitant to use the name Judas. Matthew uses the name "Thaddaeus" (Matthew 10:3), and so does Mark (Mark 3:18).
Alpheus and Cleopas are different variations of a common original.
There are different pronounciations of the first letter of the Aramaic original.
Alphaeus, Cleopas was a brother to Joseph who had married Mary, the mother of Jesus. Cleopas also married a woman named Mary, and that is why the Scriptures say that Mary’s sister was named Mary, for she was her sister in law.
Four sons of Cleopas were of the 12 disciples. Matthew, formerly a publican, formerly the tax collector for many of the disciples. Simon the zealot, formerly a radical rebel against the Romans, bitterly opposed to the Romans, and to the ones who aided the Romans (as had been his brother, Matthew).
Thaddaeus, Lebbaeus, Jude (not Ischariot) who was called while walking along the sea of Galilee. James the less, of whom we know very little.
Cleopas was a good father, and likely very thankful, that Jesus had brought his sons together, into one group. Cleopas had come to hear this ‘nephew’ Jesus, likely very often. When Jesus sought for 70 to send out with the final call to hear Jesus before the crucifixion, he chose Cleopas to be one.
Luke was the other disciple here on the road to Emmaus. This the reason he knew the story so well. He does not identify himself, but that is typical of the disciples. John called himself only as ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved" in his gospel. Mark similarly did not identify himself when slightly referred to in his gospel. Early church traditions and writings tell us that Luke was the second one here.
There was a lively discussion going on between Luke and Cleopas. The word used in Luke 24:24 is " homileo" for ‘talked". This word indicates the talking had some vigor, and seems to indicate that one of the two had some doubt, and the other was encouraging belief in what the women had told them moments before.
Jesus asks them, (kept from recognizing Who He was) what they were discussing. Cleopas finds his tongue, and explains the situation to Jesus.
Cleopas is surprised that anyone would not know of the crucifixion that had happened only days ago. He assumed that all had heard the story.
He was torn between hope and despair. The very fact, that they were going to this little town, shows that they had agreed on returning to the last command given of the Lord to them.
Emmaus is the Hebrew word "Hammath" meaning a ‘hot spring". It was 60 furlongs from Jerusalem. A furlong was 600 feet, so about 36,000 feet from Jerusalem, is not a long walk. But it was long enough that they could iron out their differences, come to some conclusion as to what message to tell the inhabitants of the village, and then encourage them to come into town, and see the One these two were presenting to them, as a risen Lord.
The seventy had been given an itinerary by Jesus. The crucifixion had interrupted it. Now Luke and Cleopas hear of Jesus return, and even without having seen Him yet themselves, they return to fulfilling the mission of Jesus.
The discussion showed that one of the two wanted more proof of the resurrection. Yet, in going to Emmaus, instead of sitting in a locked room as were many of the disciples, hiding from fear, these two were anxious to be found by the Lord doing what He had told them to do.
We need more in the ministry, that take their call so seriously, that despite horrendous and confusing events, despite trying times, despite low spiritual times, the calling, the vision of their work is so set, they continue on doing it, and let the Lord provide the reassurance how He may choose. This is what the two on the road to Emmaus, Cleopas and Luke, were doing.
"And it came to pass, that while they communed (homileo, debated against one another), and reasoned (suzeteo, to investigate, to question), Jesus, Himself, drew near, and went with them."
They are honored, due to their anxiousness to do the Lord’s will, with the first visitation of Jesus to disciples. Luke and Cleopas debate hope versus despair. At least, though, they were out witnessing, and carrying a message, that if true, all the world needed to be told. So while debating, they head out to tell others that Jesus is risen. The 11, and others, were still hiding, still fearful, still too doubtful to emerge as these two had.
Their minds, temporarily, had been kept from recognizing Jesus.
"But their eyes were holden (Greek = krateo = to hold in check, to restrain) that they should not know Him."
Their eyes were affected, but not their brain. They still reasoned, debated, questioned. Jesus asks them why they are sad.
"And He said unto them, What manner of communication (Greek = logos, something said). Are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk and are sad (Greek = skuthropos = gloomy, of mournful appearance)?"
Jesus often had to ask the disciples things like "Where is your faith?" And this question is like unto that. Why were they so sad, mournful?
Many today take the gospel message, and seem so sad, seem so gloomy as they preach. We have the greatest message of eternity. We should be overflowing with joy, bubbling with excitement as we tell the world how Jesus still lives, and loves them, and has provided salvation for even the worst of sinners.
Some have concluded, that the next location that Jesus had indicated on His itinerary to visit was Emmaus. These two wanted to be there, to tell the people that Jesus was coming. And Jesus was coming, and if these two had not been faithful to the directions of Jesus, they would have missed this blessed re-assurance Jesus gave them that day. Jesus found these two disciples, traveling the same road as He. If He had indicated that this was the next locale to visit, why were not the rest of the disciples walking this same road? And these two, were on the road, on the right pathway, but still in debate and sadness.
"And one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto Him, Art Thou only a stranger in Jerusalem and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And He said unto them, What things? And they said unto Him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, Who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people. And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and have crucified Him."
The two wonder how this Person could be sojourning in Jerusalem, and not know of Jesus’ crucifixion. The word had obviously spread quickly, and was the talk of the town.
The reason for their sadness is explained:
"But we trusted (not past tense) that it had been He Who should have redeemed Israel; and beside all this, Today is the third day since those things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company (Note here, that of the 70 there were some women and the ones who reported to the other disciples are herein identified as part of the seventy) made us astonished (Greek = existemi = put our of wits, to amaze) who were early at the sepulchre. And they found not His body, they came saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels who said that He was alive."
Cleopas is matter of fact about Jesus’ body being gone, but he is cautious in expressing the vision of angels and a wish to believe. Peter and John had not yet seen Jesus, when this was occurring, and this fact that it was a vision of angels that was their basis for believing bothered Cleopas.
"And certain of them, who were with us, went to the sepulchre, and found it, even so as the women had said, but Him they saw not."
This is the main worry of Cleopas, why did not Peter and John see the Lord?
This part saddened them. If only Jesus had been seen, and then they could trust better, they thought.
Many things sadden saints of today, such as: unsaved loved ones, unanswered prayers, abuse from others, friends that fail or forsake, financial burdens, health concerns, conviction from sins, backslider-itis. These troubles, these questions they raise, can shake the faith of those in the ministry. Ministers for the Lord need to have an un-shake-able faith in the Lord. We need to trust what He ‘aforetime’ told us, and continue on in obedience to that message, trusting Him to show us all the answers as we go. This is the message to be learned from the walk of Cleopas and Luke.
This was a third day of weeping, and tradition said that after a death, there should be three days of weeping, and then four days of sadness or lamentation. These two were only barely past the ‘weeping’ part. They were mildly rebuking Jesus for questioning their sadness that He questioned.
Many today want to rebuke others who question their sadness and lamentations. Christians do get sad. Our countenances show our unhappiness. The two on the road to Emmaus were looking and talking very sadly. They, like to many of the ministers today, were confused, unsure, doubtful.
Sorrow is better than laughter, For by sadness of the countenance, the heart is made better."
So, not all sadness is wrong. If there were no sadness for sin, there would be no repentance. We need ‘godly sorrow’. Jesus wept over Jerusalem, while they were killing many of the 70. Jesus wept when He arrived at Lazarus’ tomb. Jesus shows them a cure for their sadness. He ‘opened to them the Scriptures." And this cure was a ‘heart’ cure. For afterwards they said, "did not our hearts burn within us?"
Jesus showed them in the Scripture that ‘these things’ (Hurts, trials, persecution) must come to pass. Yet, the Bible also taught of a resurrection, and final victory had been assured. (Apocalypse of Isaiah 6:21)
"Then He said unto them, O fools (Greek = apoetos = dull, foolish, slow learners) and slow of heart (mind) to believe, all that the prophets have spoken; Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory? And beginning at Moses, and all the prophets, He expounded (explained thoroughly) unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself."
This was not a short sermon given here. Jesus used all the prophets, and showed all the Scriptures concerning what had just occurred.
"And they drew nigh unto the village (Emmaus), whither they went, and He made as though He would have gone further. But they constrained (Greek = parabaizimai = to compel with begging and force) saying, Abide with us; for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And He went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as He sat at meat with them, He took the bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them."
Their hearts had burned within them, and if you are in a church, wherein your heart burns with the Scriptures preached, then you are in the right church. If others’ hearts burn in the church, and yours does not, then you are spiritually dead. Either get saved to get your heart burning, or change churches. But do not continue to not know what it means to have your heart ‘Burn’ within!!!!
"Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding."
"whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he..."
When the eyes of Luke and Cleopas were opened, they realized they had been with Jesus, and were no longer unhappy. Joel tells us that in the last days, we should call for a time of weeping. Real revival begins with a sob, not a shout. The shout comes, when we meet our risen Lord.
"And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him, and He vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our hearts burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the Scriptures?"
Truth had begun to dawn on their minds, and it was burning within them.
Like the Psalmist said:
"My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned..."
They returned to share the Word.
"And they rose up the same hour, (night time...) And returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them. Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how He was known of them in the breaking of bread.
Jesus, had vanished, and while they traveled the natural way, Jesus appeared to Peter next. By the time they arrived, Peter was back amidst the others, and their words confirmed Peter’s words.