A Reflection on Luke 24:13-33 by Charmaine Sabey-Corkindale
There are some themes in the Gospel, that are there for us to explore and reflect on:
Eternal presence, to feel the presence rather than to see it.
Divinity through humility, revelation through faith and Christ with and among us.
Let’s focus now on the road to Emmaus before we take a glance at the meal!
Unbelief is a major motif for Luke’s empty tomb narrative, preparing for the overcoming of doubt via the direct presence of the Risen Lord. The journey from Jerusalem to Emmaus is characterised by defeat, and the journey back to Jerusalem by witness is victory. The turnabout through Jesus’s instruction takes place on the way. Jesus is more than a powerful prophet as the travellers suggest; but is indeed the fulfilment of the prophetic vision of a suffering and glorified Messiah.
We can see that Luke uses the motif of recognition and non-recognition. As you recall the travellers are kept from recognising Jesus. Although their hearts warmed as Jesus ‘opened up’ the scriptures it was the breaking of bread that was the turning point to recognition.
Now here comes some unusual suggestions…. have you ever seen the two paintings by Rembrandt of the Emmaus supper? It’s definitely worth looking them up online via Google on a laptop or even a mobile phone! They were painted at different times in his life. The first: Supper at Emmaus 1629. Has Jesus seated at a table looking at a man and someone in the background working. We as the onlookers are distanced from the scene. The second, The Supper at Emmaus 1648. Has Jesus seated facing the viewer, and several people around the table.
The meal in the painting is heavy with significance. The fruit on the table, a glance at the first meal described in Genesis – the eating of fruit and their eyes being opened… that led to creation being subject to decay, futility and sorrow. The first meal after the resurrection, He took the bread blessed it and broke it, then their eyes were opened!
Both have the moment of recognition of Christ amongst them as the central theme. However, it is set differently, and it is interesting to wonder why? Perhaps Rembrandts own life and faith journey has influenced the different styles.
Again, if you are able, it would be good to investigate the painter’s life and other works. He was a person of great faith and drew inspiration from the bible for many of his works. Indeed, he painted Simeon in the temple (recognising the infant Christ) three times! Simeon in the temple 1628, Simeon in the temple 1631 and Simeon’s song of praise 1669 this was his final work and was left unfinished at the time of his death.
This Gospel reading has sorrow, surprise, puzzlement, and then gradual dawning of light. In the second half, unexpected actions, astonished recognition, a flurry of excitement and activity….. surely a model for what being a Christian is all about….
Yesterday today and tomorrow.
Death has been defeated; God’s new creation has dawned.
Jesus himself Risen from the dead, not just alive again but transformed.
So, we too are invited to know Jesus in the breaking of the bread.
Scripture and sacrament joined together.
Reverend Charmaine Sabey-Corkindale