Apr 29, 2011

Scripture Reading: the Road to Emmaus

Image: Pilgrims on the Road to Emmaus, James Tissot

If your worship this Sunday includes Luke 24:13-35 (one of the Revised Common Lectionary texts for the third Sunday of Easter), you might want to consider reading the passage from The Voice, a unique new translation of the New Testament published by Thomas Nelson. Here it is:

The Road to Emmaus
Luke 24:13-35, from The Voice

That same day, two other disciples (not of the eleven) are traveling the seven miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus.  As they walk along, they talk back and forth about all that has transpired during recent days. While they’re talking, discussing, and conversing, Jesus catches up to them and begins walking with them, but for some reason they don’t recognize Him.

JesusYou two seem deeply engrossed in conversation. What are you talking about as you walk along this road?

They stop walking and just stand there, looking sad. One of them—Cleopas is his name—speaks up.

Cleopas: You must be the only visitor in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about what’s been going on over these last few days.

Jesus: What are you talking about?

Two Disciples: It’s all about the man named Jesus of Nazareth.  He was a mighty prophet who did amazing miracles and preached powerful messages in the sight of God and everyone around. Our chief priests and authorities handed Him over to be executed—crucified, in fact.

We have been hoping that He was the One—you know, the One who would liberate all Israel and bring God’s promises. Anyway, on top of all this, just this morning—the third day after the execution—some women in our group really shocked us. They went to the tomb early this morning, but they didn’t see His body anywhere. Then they came back and told us they did see something—a vision of heavenly messengers—and these messengers said that Jesus was alive. Some people in our group went to the tomb to check it out, and just as the women had said, it was empty. But they didn’t see Jesus.

Jesus:  Come on, men! Why are you being so foolish? Why are your hearts so sluggish when it comes to believing what the prophets have been saying all along? Didn’t it have to be this way? Didn’t the Liberating King have to experience these sufferings in order to come into His glory?

Then He begins with Moses and continues, prophet by prophet, explaining the meaning of the Hebrew Scriptures, showing how they were talking about the very things that had happened to Jesus.

About this time, they are nearing their destination. Jesus keeps walking ahead as if He has no plans to stop there, but they convince Him to join them.

Two Disciples: Please, be our guest. It’s getting late, and soon it will be too dark to walk.

So He accompanies them to their home. When they sit down at the table for dinner, He takes the bread in His hands, He gives thanks for it, and then He breaks it and hands it to them. At that instant, two things happen simultaneously: their eyes are suddenly opened so they recognize Him, and He instantly vanishes—just disappears before their eyes.

Two Disciples (to each other): Amazing! Weren’t our hearts on fire within us while He was talking to us on the road? Didn’t you feel it all coming clear as He explained the meaning of the Hebrew Scriptures?

So they get up immediately and rush back to Jerusalem—all seven miles—where they find the eleven gathered together—the eleven plus a number of others.  Before Cleopas and his companion can tell their story, the others have their own story to tell.

Other Disciples: The Lord has risen indeed! It’s true! He appeared to Simon!

Then the two men report their own experience—their conversation along the road, their moment of realization and recognition as He broke the bread.

Scripture taken from The Voice™.
Copyright ©2006, 2007, 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society.
Used by permission. All rights reserved

For additional worship resources for the third Sunday of Easter on this blog, click on Easter 3 in the list of “Labels” to the lower right.