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with the last brightness of daylight. Their companion, it seemed, had further to go; perhaps his destination was Lydda, or even Joppa. But when urged to spend the night with them he yielded, and entered the house where the two were staying—whether it was an inn or the home of one of them, we do not know. The simple meal was soon prepared, and the three reclined at the table. Before them, with other food, were cakes of unleavened bread, baked for the Passover week. The stranger, as if he were the host, took one of the loaves, and pronouncing the customary benediction, broke it into two or three pieces and gave one to each of them. It was the Lord ; they knew Him now. The next moment His place was empty, He had vanished out of their sight.3 But His purpose had been fulfilled ; He had opened their minds to understand, and their eyes to recognize Him. They knew now that the Messiah was destined to die and to rise again; they knew also that Jesus was the Messiah, and that He had indeed risen from the dead.
Why had they not known Him before ? S. Luke explains that their eyes had been holden, that they 1 Tapeßiáoavto.
2 TòP & PTOP. 3 ápavtos cyéveto år' ajrô. The words speak of a disappearance only, not a local withdrawal. Mr. Latham (p. 144) well disposes of Renan's attempt to account for the sudden departure, as he conceives it (Les Apôtres, p. 20).
should not know him. The appendix to S. Mark says that He was manifested in another form," which may mean either that He did not look as when He was with them before the Passion-some change had passed over His appearance and possibly His dress or, if the words were originally preceded by an account of the appearance to Mary, there may be a reference in them to her impression that He was the gardener ; to the two on the way to Emmaus He wore another aspect, not that of the labourer at his work, but rather of the traveller with his loins girded, shoes on his feet, a staff in his hand. But however this may have been, doubtless the ultimate reason why the two did not know Him was that, as S. Luke says, their eyes were spellbound.? Either they did not suspect that the stranger was Jesus, or if the suspicion crossed their minds, it was promptly dismissed. There is nothing psychologically impossible in such a situation, if the men were still possessed by the conviction that, in spite of what they had heard, the Lord was still among the dead. It is less easy to under
1 εν ετέρα μορφη. It was not, however, such a μεταμόρφωσις as He underwent on the mount (Mc. ix. 2). When Professor Harnack (What is Christianity ? p. 161) speaks of the risen Christ as 'so glorified that His own could not immediately recognize him,' he reads into the Gospel narratives what is not there. There is no trace of any such transfiguration during the forty days.
stand how they failed to recognize the voice, or to feel that no other man was capable of opening the Scriptures as He had done. It must be remembered, however, that, so far as we know, expositions of this kind had no place in Christ's pre-resurrection teaching; and further, that these two men, who were not Apostles, may never before have come into close quarters with the Master. Besides all this, with our ignorance of the conditions of the risen body, we cannot assume that either look or voice were altogether such as they had been in mortal life, or indeed that they were always the same during the forty days.
Another question arises from this story. How is the sudden disappearance of the Lord's body to be explained ? Everything else in the narrative goes to show that the body was not 'docetic, but real: a body constituted like our own. The Lord walked side by side with the two disciples for some miles; He had spoken at great length; He had entered a house, had reclined at table, had taken, broken, and distributed bread. All these are the acts of one who possessed a material human frame; yet in an instant His body becomes invisible, as if it had never been more than an apparition. Other evidence of the same kind will come before us as we proceed, but as this is the first instance, it may be well to consider the point once for all. In the first place, it would seem that even in His mortal state the Lord possessed some peculiar power of withdrawing His visible presence when He desired to do so. At Nazareth, when the townsfolk sought to throw Him over a precipice, passing through the midst of them he went his way. After the miracle at Bethesda ? Jesus conveyed himself away, a multitude being in the place. When in the Temple-court the Jews took up stones to cast at Him, he hid himself,5 and went out of the Temple. Such instances suggest that before the Passion the Lord's sinless human will possessed a power over His body which is wholly beyond our experience of comprehension. Of the conditions to which His risen body was subject we know nothing, but it may well have been yet more completely under the control of the will. No presumption, then, against the reality of the Resurrection can fairly be based on the statement that the risen Christ made Himself visible or invisible at pleasure. Further, in judging of His use of such a power, it is necessary to remember the twofold purpose which He seems to have had | in view. On the one hand He willed to demonstrate
both the truth of the Resurrection and the identity of the person who rose with Jesus who was crucified; on the other, it was no less important to prepare His disciples during the short space of six weeks for His final withdrawal from visibility. Hence these alternations of appearance and disappearance, of a visible presence and an invisible. The Emmaus incident illustrates the law which governed these. The Lord remained visible to the two disciples just long enough to remove the last doubt of His identity, and then, as the old familiar intercourse was about to be resumed, He withdrew Himself from their eyes, and they learnt the truth, not less needful for them to learn, that He belonged to a new order, and that the claims of the invisible world were upon Him, a world into which they could not follow Him as yet.
3 ELVEVO EV.
1 Lc. iv. 30.
2 Jo. v. 13.