On the Road to Emmaus…

While traveling on the road to Emmaus, two disciples, one being named Clepoas, encounter the risen Jesus but cannot recognize him. After Jesus says the blessing and breaks the bread, there “eyes were opened” (Luke 24:31) and they recognize him. They also reflect on how, “…our hearts burning (within us) while he spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us…” (Luke 24:32). It is only after he says the blessing though that they recognize Jesus. They are still as clueless as they were about Jesus while traveling as they were before. He calls them fools and then goes through all the scriptures that prophesize what must happen in order for him to be the Messiah, and Jesus explains how he fulfilled all of these prophecies. They get a visceral response during an explanation, but they still need a very straight direct sign in order to truly understand how he is the Messiah vindicated by God. I believe that they realize that Jesus is the Messiah who must suffer by reflecting on their conversation they had while traveling. Jesus, while still unrecognizable to the disciples, questions them about who Jesus was. The disciples describe how he “was a prophet might in deed…how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him” (Luke 24:20). In these statements they recount how his own people betrayed him, did not accept him, and forced him to suffer. The brief summary of Jesus’ death helped them to become enlightened.
Early followers of Jesus might have focused on how Jesus is present but is not recognized until the disciples of aware of his being and resurrection. This quality is representative of how Rausch says that God’s love will always be presented to us, but we must be the ones to accept it.


Jesus’ Last Words

During each passion story, Jesus has a few “last words” on the cross. In Mark 15:34 Jesus exclaims, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me”. Right before his death, Jesus gives another loud cry of pain. These last exclamations of Jesus strengthen Mark’s theme that Jesus is the Messiah who came to suffer. Jesus was unjustly sentenced to death and must suffer the pain of crucifixion. In the end he questions why God has left him out to die. This is important to Mark because he wants to exemplify to his persecuted readers that like us, Jesus has suffered too. Although we may believe that God has abandoned us, we know that it is not true. For just as Jesus is resurrected, the ones who follow him will be brought into the Kingdom of God as well.
Mathew’s story of the death of Jesus is practically identical to Mark’s, in which Jesus has the same last words. In these last lines of Jesus’ human life, he is fulfilling the Hebrew Scriptures. The earth begins to quake and it says that tombs open and the spirits of saints were raised as the y entered the kingdom of heaven with Jesus.
John’s purpose in writing the Gospel was to portray Jesus as the Incarnate Word of God and glorious Savior of the World. In John’s Passion narrative, Jesus says “I thirst” (John 19:28) and “It is finished” (John 19:29) as he breaths his last breath. Although short, and much different from the other Gospels, these two curt statements do an excellent job in demonstrating that Jesus is incarnate, of flesh. He thirsts, just as all humans do. As well, when he says “it is finished”, he can be referring to his life. He cannot live forever, but must face death just as we all must someday. Jesus could also be referring to the fact that his deed of saving us from our sins is finished.
In Luke’s Gospel Jesus yells out, “Father into your hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46). Jesus is entrusting God, commending God with, his spirit. Luke wants to demonstrate that if Jesus, the rejected prophet who has suffered and died because of us, can trust God with his spirit, that all people, Jews, Gentiles, outcasts, and sinners, should be able to trust God with their spirits. Everyone who hears the story of Jesus should follow his example and have faith in God.

Wedding Feasts

In Matthew’s parable of the wedding feast, the host is much more violent, as well as those invited. It says how the guests killed the servants sent to them and that the king in return, “…destroyed those murderers, burned their city” (Matthew 22:7).Luke’s version of the same parable fails to mention these brutal actions. He writes only of the guests excusing themselves for business or other personal reasons. Continuing the story, Matthew writes a man is thrown out of the feast hall once he is already inside. Thus part confused me a bit to be honest. Despite the differences, their cores are similar in the fact that the King invites guests but none show up. The originally uninvited then go to take his place.

Using Ralph’s definitions of parable and allegory, these stories have different meanings. Reading the story as a parable, you must first recognize who Jesus is talking to. If you go a few lines back in Matthew’s version, you discover he is preaching to a crowd containing “chief priests” and “Pharisees”. This parable is harshly criticizing them. They are the guests that were invited, but disrespect the host, abuse his servants, and then must suffer because of it. They are either physically punished (Matthew) or in both are not allowed into the feast later. Reading this story as an allegory, you can make the comparison that the feast is the Kingdom of heaven, and the originally invited guests are the Pharisees. God invites them into his kingdom, but the refuse his offer. The servants they ignore or abuse can be seen as the prophets sent to them in the past. The Pharisees were in God’s grace but have sinned and fallen off the path to Heaven. Now, as Jesus explains, the poor, the weak, the common people, the good are invited into the Kingdom of Heaven and will be cared for and loved. This is my interpretation at least. Your reading of it may differ. 

Gospel of Mark

Many of the times when Jesus performs a miracle, especially when no one else is around, he tells the person not to tell about his deeds. For example, when he heals the deaf man in chapter 7. He healed the man and then “…ordered them not to tell anyone”( Mark 7:36)
One of the more obvious reasons why Jesus wants to keep his identity a secret is to avoid the publicity. He never wants to travel in crowds or attract attention to himself. He is humble in a sense. He does not brag about being the Messiah in words. I think that it may also take some sort of toll on him doing all these miracles. It has to be hard work. More importantly though it shows an important aspect of God; that he is forgiving. When Jesus performs a miracle he tells them not to spread word of him. It is almost in reverse psychology that the people go and tell the whole town. They do what they he tell them not to. Does he punish him though; no. He forgives the people and continues preforming miracles and spreading the word of God. Similarly, although God has punished the Jews at times throughout history he has continuously watched out for them.