“And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened.
And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.” Luke 24:13–16 KJV
“And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?And the 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, which 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. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart 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 unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, 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 bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. 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 heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? And they rose up the same hour, 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 breaking of bread.”
Luke 24:13–35 KJV
EMMAUS (Gk. Emmaoús)
Emmaus was a village ca. 11 km. (7 mi.) from Jerusalem (30 km. [19 mi.] according to some ancient witnesses). The risen Jesus appears to two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). Several modern sites have been proposed for the NT Emmaus, including ʿAmwâs (Khirbet Imwas, ancient Nicopolis; 149138) for the farther site, el-Quibeibeh (Crusader Castellum Emmaus, 163138), Abu Ghosh (160134), or Qalôniyeh (ancient Colonia; Motza, j. Sukk. 54b; 165134) for the nearer, but none has gained widespread approval.
An instance of the ancient recognition story, the Emmaus account occurs only in Luke and thus conveys a distinctive Lucan emphasis on the appearance of Jesus: Luke combines Jesus’ appearance with a meal and prophecy. Jesus appears without being recognized, and the disciples’ eyes are opened only when Jesus takes, blesses, breaks, and distributes bread (cf. Luke 9:16; 22:19; also 24:41–43). Yet Jesus does not share the meal; he vanishes when the pair recognizes him. Other Lucan passages also show Jesus attending meals (Luke 9:10-17; 22:14-38; Acts 10:41), and the table provides a key gathering place for the Church (Acts 2:42, 46; 20:7; 27:33-36).
The Emmaus account also emphasizes the importance of prophecy. The disciples remember Jesus as a prophet mighty in deed and word and recall their disappointment that he had been killed. But Jesus rebukes them, explaining that the Messiah’s suffering had been indicated by Moses and the prophets.
Significantly, the Emmaus story begins and ends in Jerusalem. Alone among the Synoptic Gospels, the book of Luke locates Jesus’ appearances and the Church’s beginnings in that city.
Bibliography. R. J. Dillon, From Eye-Witnesses to Ministers of the Word. AnBib 82 (Rome, 1978).
“EMMAUS,” Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible, 405.
A village, said to be 60 furlongs (11 km) from Jerusalem, to which *Cleopas and another disciple were journeying when Jesus appeared to them after his resurrection (Lk. 24:13). The site cannot be certainly identified. One possibility is the town still known as ʿAmwas, 32 km WNW of Jerusalem, where Judas Maccabeus defeated Gorgias in 166 BC (1 Macc. 3:40, 57; 4:3). But this is at the wrong distance from Jerusalem, as given by Luke (unless the variant reading of 160 furlongs found in Codex Sinaiticus and other MSS preserves the original text); it also demands a long, though by no means impossible, walk by the travellers.
Of places within about 11 km from Jerusalem two have been suggested. There was a village at El-qubeibeh in the 1st century, and Crusaders found a fort here named Castellum Emmaus; unfortunately the name cannot be traced back to the 1st century. Josephus (BJ 7.217) refers to a military colony of Vespasian at Ammaous, some 6 km W of Jerusalem. This has been identified with Kaloniye (Lat. colonia) or with Kh. Beit Mizza (ancient Mozah); here again the distance is wrong, unless we suppose that Luke’s 60 furlongs was meant as the total length of the outward and return journeys.
“Emmaus,” NBD, 315-316.