Sunday, April 16, 2023

Two Idiots and a Lord Walk Into an Inn

Luke 24: 13-35
Below is a rough translation and some preliminary notes regarding Luke 24:13-35, the Revised Common Lectionary Reading for the Third Sunday of Easter. What a profound and marvelous Easter story this is of the various ways that the early church experienced the presence of Christ. 

The title I have given this entry may seem a bit harsh, but it is Jesus who uses the rough term. The point of the story seems to be that these two travelers are discussing their ignorance. It is, to be sure, broken-hearted ignorance, but ignorance anyway. Then, Jesus interprets the meaning of the Scriptures to them. Even so, when they see him breaking and sharing bread, it all comes together. 

13 Καὶ ἰδοὺ δύο ἐξ αὐτῶν ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἦσαν πορευόμενοι εἰς κώμην ἀπέχουσαν σταδίους ἑξήκοντα ἀπὸ Ἰερουσαλήμ,  ὄνομα Ἐμμαοῦς, 
And behold two out of them in that day were traveling into a village distancing sixty stadia from Jerusalem, named Emmaus.
ἰδοὺ: AMImpv εἶδον, 1) to see; a particle serving to call attention 
ἦσαν: IAI 3p εἰμί, 1) to be, to exist, to happen, to be present 
πορευόμενοι PMPart, nmp πορεύομαι, to pursue a journey
ἀπέχουσαν PAPart, afs ἀπέχω, to be away, absent, distant

14 καὶ αὐτοὶ ὡμίλουν πρὸς ἀλλήλους περὶ πάντων τῶν συμβεβηκότων τούτων. 
And they were speaking to one another about all of those things that had taken place.
ὡμίλουν : IAI 3p, ὁμιλέω, 1) to be in company with  2) to associate with  3) to stay with  4) to converse with
συμβεβηκότων: PerfAPart, gnp συμβαίνω, to walk with feet near together, come to pass
1. The verb ὁμιλέω, with its hard breathing, sounds like the English word ‘homily.’ I wonder if this verb is to distinguish their conversation from a simple “Wow, did ya hear what happened?” kind of conversation. In the NT, it is used in this verse, the next verse, and twice in Acts (20:11, 24:26).
2. “All those things that had taken place.” It would be interesting to know what the narrator means by this phrase. I’ll return to this thought in v.20, n.1 below. 

15 καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ ὁμιλεῖν αὐτοὺς καὶ συζητεῖν καὶ αὐτὸς Ἰησοῦς ἐγγίσας συνεπορεύετο αὐτοῖς, 
And it happened in their speaking and examining Jesus himself having approached was journeying with them. 
γένετο: AMI 3s γίνομαι, to appear, to be, to become
ὁμιλεῖν: PAInf, ὁμιλέω, 1) to be in company with  2) to associate with  3) to stay with  4) to converse with, talk about: with one
συζητεῖν: PAInf, συζητέω, 1) to seek or examine together  2) in the NT to discuss, dispute, question 
γγίσας: AAPart nms, ἐγγίζω, to make near, to approach
συνεπορεύετο: IMI 3s, συμπορεύομαι, to journey together
1. Now the two are speaking ὁμιλέω and examining συζητέω what had happened. συζητέω is used within the Lucan corpus, in Luke 22:23 and in Acts 6:9 and 9:29. In the Acts text, the word is often translated as “disputed.” This sounds like quite a conversation!
2. Jesus sneaks up. Cool.

16 οἱ δὲ ὀφθαλμοὶ αὐτῶν ἐκρατοῦντο τοῦ μὴ ἐπιγνῶναι αὐτόν. 
But their eyes were held from him so not to recognize him. 
ἐκρατοῦντο: IPI, 3p, κρατέω, to have power to, to hold
ἐπιγνῶναι: 2ndAAInf, ἐπιγινώσκω, to know, to recognize (via senses)
1. This is interesting, yes? It is not that Jesus is incognito, but that they are disabled from seeing him. The word κρατέω means to hold and it is passive. Their eyes were held from seeing him. What does that mean? Is it still a thing? Are some people simply disabled from seeing Jesus’ presence with them? Am I?

17 εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς αὐτούς, Τίνες οἱ λόγοι οὗτοι οὓς ἀντιβάλλετε πρὸς ἀλλήλους περιπατοῦντες; καὶ ἐστάθησαν σκυθρωποί.
Yet he said to them, “What words that you are tossing back and forth while walking?” And they stood still [with] sad faces.  (Or, “What words are you tossing back and forth and sad faces frozen?”)
εἶπεν: AAI 3s λέγω, 1) to say, to speak 
ἀντιβάλλετε: PAI 2p, ἀντιβάλλω, to throw in turn, to toss
περιπατοῦντες: PAPart nmp, περιπατέω, to walk around
ἐστάθησαν: API 3p, ἵστημι, to stand still
1. The plural noun σκυθρωποί means “of sad and gloomy countenance.”
2. There are two interrelated challenges in translating this verse.
a. The noun σκυθρωποί is in the nominative case, meaning it is the subject. Also, the verb ἐστάθησαν is passive and aorist (simple past), which I have tried to capture with the phrase “sad faces frozen.”
b. There is question where the quoted question ends. Is the part of the verse about their countenance part of the question or a comment following?

18 ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ εἷς ὀνόματι Κλεοπᾶς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτόν, Σὺ μόνος παροικεῖς Ἰερουσαλὴμ καὶ οὐκ ἔγνως τὰ γενόμενα ἐν αὐτῇ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ταύταις; 
Yet having answered one named Cleopas said to him, “Are you alone sojourning in Jerusalem who did not know the things that have come about in it in these days?” 
ἀποκριθεὶς: APPart nms, ἀποκρίνομαι, to answer
εἶπεν: AAI 3s, λέγω, 1) to say, to speak 
παροικεῖς: PAI 2s, παροικέω, to live, to dwell
ἔγνως: AAI 2s, γινώσκω, 1) to learn to know, come to know
γενόμενα: AMPart apm, γίνομαι, 1) to become, i.e. to come into existence, begin to be, receive being
1. The word παροικέω looks like it would literally mean “house alongside.”
2. This is genuinely funny material, asking Jesus if he’s the only person in town who doesn’t know what just happened to Jesus.

19 καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς, Ποῖα; οἱ δὲ εἶπαν αὐτῷ, Τὰ περὶ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ Ναζαρηνοῦ, ὃς ἐγένετο ἀνὴρ προφήτης δυνατὸς ἐν ἔργῳ καὶ λόγῳ ἐναντίον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ παντὸς τοῦ λαοῦ, 
And he said to them, “What things?”  And they said to him, “The things concerning Jesus the Nazorean, who was a prophet man powerful in work and word before God and all the people. 
εἶπεν: AAI 3s, λέγω, 1) to say, to speak 
εἶπαν: AAI 3p, λέγω, 1) to say, to speak 
ἐγένετο: AMI 3s, γίνομαι, to become,  
1. The word γίνομαι has wide meaning. I repeat a comment from last week’s text:
“The verb γίνομαι is in the middle/passive voice, which is not uncommon in John’s gospel. Its primary meaning is ‘to become’ but it can simply mean ‘to be’ or it can take on many shades of meaning. This is the verb that the KJV often translates “it came to pass,” because it points to a state of being, rather than a particular action performed by a particular person. I don’t think γίνομαι really fits into our typical patterns of ‘active’ v. ‘passive’ v. ‘middle’ verbs, where the actor and action are clearly identified.”
In this verse, I think it practically means “to be” and, like the common word for “to be” (εἰμί) is followed by a nominative predicate.

20 ὅπως τε παρέδωκαν αὐτὸν οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ ἄρχοντες ἡμῶν εἰς κρίμα θανάτου καὶ ἐσταύρωσαν αὐτόν. 
“whom then our chief priests and our rulers both handed him over into a judgment of death and crucified him.
παρέδωκαν: AAI 3p, παραδίδωμι, 1) to give into the hands (of another)
ἐσταύρωσαν: AAI 3p, σταυρόω, 1) to stake, drive down stakes 2) to fortify with driven stakes, to palisade  3) to crucify
1. Notice that there is no mention of any disciples betraying, denying, or abandoning Jesus. That is a curious part of this story to me. Perhaps it is part of the “those things that had taken place” of v.14. Or, in that moment, perhaps it is beside the main point, which was the death of Jesus. Eventually, when the gospel stories are gathered and written, the failure of the disciples will not be beside the point, but part of the narrative's drama. 
2. The activity of naming the culprit in the crucifixion story seems to be a fluid matter. In biblical studies over the last ten years the primary culprit seems to have changed from the Jewish leadership to the Roman Empire. While I applaud the attempt to reverse the anti-Semitic tone of so many commentaries and biblical studies over the years, I think the attempt to name a culprit is more of a reflection of the practice of scapegoating than good theology. I would say that the biblical writers get caught up in this activity as well – see the way Judas gets treated from book to book (including books other than the gospels) for an example. In the end, there are many who are responsible for the crucifixion, including God, who wills for Jesus to take the cup that he would rather not take. A biblically responsible theology of the crucifixion, or a theologically responsible presentation of the biblical story, should probably keep both the divine will and the complex of human actions (Romans, disciples, Jewish leaders, bystanders) open as pieces of the complex puzzle that makes up the crucifixion.

21 ἡμεῖς δὲ ἠλπίζομεν ὅτι αὐτός ἐστιν  μέλλων λυτροῦσθαι τὸν Ἰσραήλ: ἀλλά γε καὶ σὺν πᾶσιν τούτοις τρίτην ταύτην ἡμέραν ἄγει ἀφ' οὗ ταῦτα ἐγένετο. 
“Yet we were hoping that he is the one about to redeem Israel; but indeed even with all of this in this passes into the third day since these things were done. 
ἠλπίζομεν: IAI 1p, ἐλπίζω, to hope
ἐστιν: PAI 3s, εἰμί, 1) to be, to exist, to happen, to be present 
μέλλων: PAPart nms, μέλλω, 1) to be about
λυτροῦσθαι: PMInf, nms, to loosen, to redeem
ἄγει: PAI 3s, ἄγω, 1) to lead, take with one
ἐγένετο: AMI 3s, γίνομαι, to become
1. This verse is a bit of a dragon to translate and I’m not convinced that I’ve done it well. It does, however, capture well the deep disappointment that shook the early followers of Jesus.

22 ἀλλὰ καὶ γυναῖκές τινες ἐξ ἡμῶν ἐξέστησαν ἡμᾶς: γενόμεναι ὀρθριναὶ ἐπὶ τὸ μνημεῖον 
“But also some of the women among us astonished us, having arrived early at the tomb
ἐξέστησαν: AAI 3p, ἐξίστημι, 1) to throw out of position, displace  1a) to amaze, to astonish, throw into wonderment 
γενόμεναι: AMPart, nfp, to become
The verb ἐξίστημι literaly means to stand outside, ἐξ/ίστημι just as it does in English, ‘ec/stacy.’ “Astonished” attempts to capture this experience of being “outside oneself.”

23καὶ μὴ εὑροῦσαι τὸ σῶμα αὐτοῦ ἦλθον λέγουσαι καὶ ὀπτασίαν ἀγγέλων ἑωρακέναι, οἳ λέγουσιν αὐτὸν ζῆν. 
and having not found his body came saying to have seen even a vision of angels, who said he is living.
εὑροῦσαι: AAPart npf, εὑρίσκω, 1) to come upon, hit upon, to meet with  1a) after searching, to find a thing sought 
ἦλθον: AAI 3p, ἔρχομαι, 1) to come 
λέγουσαι: PAPart npf, λέγω, 1) to say, to speak
ἑωρακέναι: PerfAInf, ὁράω, 1) to see with the eyes 
λέγουσιν: PAI 3p, λέγω, 1) to say, to speak
ζῆν: PAInf, ζάω, 1) to live, breathe, be among the living (not lifeless, not dead)  2) to enjoy real life 

24 καὶ ἀπῆλθόν τινες τῶν σὺν ἡμῖν ἐπὶ τὸ μνημεῖον, καὶ εὗρον οὕτως καθὼς καὶ αἱ γυναῖκες εἶπον,αὐτὸν δὲ οὐκ εἶδον. 
And certain of those with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women said, yet they did not see him.
ἀπῆλθόν: AAI 3p, ἀπέρχομαι, 1) to go away, depart  
εὗρον: AAI 3p, εὑρίσκω, 1) to come upon, hit upon, to meet with
εἶπον: AAI 3p, λέγω, 1) to say, to speak
εἶδον: AAI 3p, ὁράω, 1) to see with the eyes

25καὶ αὐτὸς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς, ω ἀνόητοι καὶ βραδεῖς τῇ καρδίᾳ τοῦ πιστεύειν ἐπὶ πᾶσιν οἷς ἐλάλησαν οἱ προφῆται: 
And he said to them, “O fools and slow in the heart to believe in all the prophets spoke.
εἶπεν: AAI 3s, λέγω, 1) to say, to speak 
πιστεύειν: PAInf, πιστεύω, 1) to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place  confidence in
ἐλάλησαν: AAI 3p, λαλέω, 1) to utter a voice or emit a sound
1. The first words of the risen Christ in Luke’s gospel are, “What are you two talking about?” The second: “You idiots!”
 2. ἀνόητοι would literally mean “without minds” I think. a/nous. Paul uses it twice to chastise the Galatians (3:1 and 3:3). βραδεῖς τῇ καρδίᾳ would literally be “slow of heart.” The only other uses of βραδεῖς are in James 1:19, “be slow to speak, slow to wrath.” 

26 οὐχὶ ταῦτα ἔδει παθεῖν τὸν Χριστὸν καὶ εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ; 
Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into his glory?
ἔδει: IAI 3s, δέω, 1) it is necessary, there is need of, it behooves, is right and proper
παθεῖν: AAInf, πάσχω, 1) to be affected or have been affected, to feel, have a  sensible experience, to undergo  1a) in a good sense, to be well off, in good case  1b) in a bad sense, to suffer sadly, be in a bad plight
εἰσελθεῖν: AAInf, εἰσέρχομαι, 1) to go out or come in: to enter
1. If you use be aware that it says the root for ἔδει is ἐσθίω (to eat). That is incorrect. The verb is δέω, a term that I believe has very intentional meaning throughout the gospels.

27καὶ ἀρξάμενος ἀπὸ Μωϋσέως καὶ ἀπὸ πάντων τῶν προφητῶν διερμήνευσεν αὐτοῖς ἐν πάσαις ταῖς γραφαῖς τὰ περὶ ἑαυτοῦ. 
And having begun with Moses and with all of the prophets he interpreted to them in all the writings the things about himself.
ἀρξάμενος: AMPart nsm, ἄρχω, 1) to be chief, to lead, to rule 2) to begin
διερμήνευσεν: AAI 3s, διερμηνεύω, 1) to unfold the meaning, 2) explain, expound
1. One of the post-resurrection realities for the early church was the ability to make the connection between the death and resurrection of Christ and the Scriptures. Almost all of the other uses of διερμηνεύω in the NT are about interpreting the meaning of one language to another. That’s an interesting way of looking at the relationship between the OT and the Jesus story. It reminds me of the episode from Nehemiah, when Ezra opened the book of the law and read it to the people while the Levites interpreted it. “So they read from the book, from the law of God, with interpretation. They gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.” (Nehemiah 8:8)

28 Καὶ ἤγγισαν εἰς τὴν κώμην οὗ ἐπορεύοντο, καὶ αὐτὸς προσεποιήσατο πορρώτερον πορεύεσθαι. 
And they came near to the village where they were going and he made as though he is going further.
ἤγγισαν: AAI 3p, ἐγγίζω, 1) to bring near, to join one thing to another
ἐπορεύοντο: IMI 3p, πορεύομαι, 1) to lead over, carry over, transfer  
προσεποιήσατο: AMI 3s, προσποιέομαι, 1) to take or claim a thing to one's self
πορεύεσθαι: PMI, πορεύομαι, 1) to lead over, carry over, transfer 
1. This is a curious moment in the story. I wonder why the feint of Jesus going further is included.

29 καὶ παρεβιάσαντο αὐτὸν λέγοντες, Μεῖνον μεθ' ἡμῶν, ὅτι πρὸς ἑσπέραν ἐστὶν καὶ κέκλικεν ἤδη  ἡμέρα. καὶ εἰσῆλθεν τοῦ μεῖναι σὺν αὐτοῖς. 
And they constrained him saying, “Remain with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now setting.” And he entered to remain with them.
παρεβιάσαντο: AMI 3p, παραβιάζομαι, 1) to employ force contrary to nature and right
λέγοντες:  PAPart npm, λέγω, 1) to say, to speak 
Μεῖνον: AAImpv 2p, μένω, 1) to remain, abide 
ἐστιν: PAI 3s, εἰμί, 1) to be, to exist, to happen, to be present 
κέκλικεν: PerfAI 3s, κλίνω, 1) transitively  1a) to incline, bow  1b) to cause to fall back  1c) to recline  1c1) in a place for repose  2) intransitively  2a) to incline one's self 
εἰσῆλθεν: AAI 3s, εἰσέρχομαι, 1) to go out or come in: to enter
μεῖναι: AAInf, μένω, 1) to remain, abide
1. I have always imagined that Jesus, Cleopas, and the unnamed person stop in an inn - I even have it in my title for this text. I'm seeing now that the narrator does not say so, merely that they arrived at the village where they were heading and invited Jesus to stay with them. One or both of them might well have lived there, I guess. But it does seem that most of the entourage of disciples were Galileans, who came to Jerusalem alongside of Jesus for the Passover festival. So, the assumption of an inn or some temporary quarters seems appropriate.  

30 καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ κατακλιθῆναι αὐτὸν μετ' αὐτῶν λαβὼν τὸν ἄρτον εὐλόγησεν καὶ κλάσας ἐπεδίδου αὐτοῖς: 
And it happened in the reclining with them having taken the bread he blessed and having broken it was giving it to them. 
ἐγένετο: AMI 3s, γίνομαι, to become
κατακλιθῆναι: APInf, κατακλίνω, 1) in the NT in reference to eating, to make to recline 2) to recline (at a table) 
λαβὼν: AAPart nsm, λαμβάνω, 1) to take 
εὐλόγησεν: AAI 3s, εὐλογέω, 1) to praise, celebrate with praises  2) to invoke blessings 
κλάσας: AAPart nsm, κλάω, 1) to break  1a) used in the NT of the breaking of bread or communion 
ἐπεδίδου: IAI 3s, ἐπιδίδωμι, 1) to hand, give by hand  2) to give over  2a) give up to the power or will of one
1. According to, the verb κατακλίνω is only found in Luke. The typical meaning is ‘to sit at a table,’ but Luke uses it to describe how the people in the feeding of the 5,000 reclined in groups of fifty. I suppose, then, that it refers to the posture of eating, table or no table.

31 αὐτῶν δὲ διηνοίχθησαν οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ καὶ ἐπέγνωσαν αὐτόν: καὶ αὐτὸς ἄφαντος ἐγένετο ἀπ' αὐτῶν. 
Yet their eyes opened and they recognized him; and he became disappeared from them.
διηνοίχθησαν: API 3p, διανοίγω, 1) to open by dividing or drawing asunder, to open thoroughly  (what had been closed)
ἐπέγνωσαν: AAI 3p, ἐπιγινώσκω, 1) to become thoroughly acquainted with, to know thoroughly
ἐγένετο: AMI 3s, γίνομαι, to become
1. The first part of the verse goes back to the disciples eyes were “held” (κρατέω ) from seeing Jesus (v.16).
2. I know that “he became disappeared” is too awkward for a refined translation. I have it this way to show that “disappear” is not the verb. The verb is again that word γίνομαι, which is quite generous in its meanings. The word “disappear” is ἄφαντος, literally “not apparent.”  This is the only use of ἄφαντος in the NT, but it is used in some apocryphal writings to describe the sudden disappearance of angels. I would use “disapparent” here but my computer keeps infesting it with a red squiggly underscore. 

32 καὶ εἶπαν πρὸς ἀλλήλους, Οὐχὶ  καρδία ἡμῶν καιομένη ἦν [ἐν ἡμῖν] ὡς ἐλάλει ἡμῖν ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ, ὡς διήνοιγεν ἡμῖν τὰς γραφάς; 
And they said to one another, “Was not our heart burning [in us] when he spoke to us on the way, as he was opening to us the writings?”  
εἶπαν: AAI 3p, λέγω, 1) to say, to speak 
καιομένη: PPPart nsf, καίω, 1) to set on fire, light, burning  2) to burn, consume with fire
ἦν: IAI 3s, εἰμί, 1) to be, to exist, to happen, to be present 
ἐλάλει: IAI 3s, λαλέω, 1) to utter a voice or emit a sound  2) to speak
διήνοιγεν: IAI 3s, διανοίγω, 1) to open by dividing or drawing asunder, to open thoroughly  (what had been closed)
1. The word “heart” and “was” are singular, then modified by the plural “our” and the added phrase “in us.”
2. The word the two companions use is not διερμήνευσεν from v.27, as Jesus was interpreting to them the writings about himself. They use διήνοιγεν from the previous verse, where their eyes were “opened” as he blessed, broke, and gave them the bread. The parallel is that Jesus “opened” to them the Scriptures just as their eyes were no longer “held” but “opened” to recognize Jesus. 

33 καὶ ἀναστάντες αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ ὑπέστρεψαν εἰς Ἰερουσαλήμ, καὶ εὗρον ἠθροισμένους τοὺς ἕνδεκα καὶ τοὺς σὺν αὐτοῖς,
And having risen up the same hour they returned into Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those with them who had gathered,
ἀναστάντες: AAPart npm, ἀνίστημι, 1) to cause to rise up, raise up  
ὑπέστρεψαν: AAI 3p, ὑποστρέφω, 1) to turn back  1a) to turn about  2) to return
εὗρον: AAI 3p, εὑρίσκω, 1) to come upon, hit upon, to meet with
ἠθροισμένους: PerfPPart npm, 1) to gather together with others 2) to assemble:
1. “That same hour” would be after they compelled Jesus to remain with them because the day was setting. And, if the inn where they had stopped were anything like the inns that I know, the process of being served a meal and having the experience with Jesus during the meal would push the time back even further. Still, it was too good to wait until the morning light to find their way back to Jerusalem.
2. It is interesting how quickly the language of “the twelve” became the language of “the eleven” in the gospel stories.  

34 λέγοντας ὅτι ὄντως ἠγέρθη  κύριος καὶ ὤφθη Σίμωνι. 
Saying, “Indeed the Lord was raised and was seen by Simon.”
λέγοντας: PAPart apm, λέγω, 1) to say, to speak 
ἠγέρθη: API 3s, ἐγείρω, 1) to arouse, cause to rise
ὤφθη: API 3s, ὁράω, 1) to see with the eyes
1. This event is unknown to us. V.12 of this chapter ended with Simon seeing the garments in the tomb, but not the risen lord.

35 καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐξηγοῦντο τὰ ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ καὶ ὡς ἐγνώσθη αὐτοῖς ἐν τῇ κλάσει τοῦ ἄρτου. 
And they were recounting the things in the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.
ἐξηγοῦντο: IMI 3p, ἐξηγέομαι, 1) to lead out, be leader, go before2) to recount  
ἐγνώσθη: API 3s, γινώσκω, 1) to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel
1. The word I have translated as “made known” is from v.18 in this story, when Cleopas asks Jesus if he’s the only person in town who does not “know” what happened to Jesus. They do not use the words διερμήνευσεν or διήνοιγεν from vv. 27, 31, and 32 above.


  1. Your wooden translation “he became disappeared” is a good one. It reminds me of a southern preacher I once heard, saying of someone, "He got gone."

    1. Hey, Dave. Yes, I heard "got gone" quite a few times growing up. I find the southernisms of my youth to be endearing and usually an attempt to reflect King James language.
      Hope you are doing well. It's be a while.


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