In light of our MoS episode on the Lord’s Supper this week, I thought this article would be fun to share. This is a fascinating book which prompted me to write a lot of reflections on it while reading. I wrote this one a couple of years ago:
It came in the mail while I was working out. Just sitting in that little box, sheltered from the wind, my new treasure was waiting to be discovered. I hate the wind. So when we were through with our side-plank-weighted-arm-raise-craziness, I sent out my obliging husband to see what the mailman brought us today. “Your book came.” Um, I pushed everyone out of my way, ripped through that package like a Christmas present, and disappeared with my new date.
The family was probably happy because the alternative was sure to be an afternoon of cleaning. Now everyone could play with their devices and Legos with mom out of the way. And the Orioles were on, so Matt was content.
I had to buy this baby used, and when I cracked her open, I saw a sticker on the inside cover containing the name and address of the original owner. Shame on her! How could this woman from Charlottesville, Virginia, who will remain unnamed, read through this puppy without making one mark on its pages? Is there no love anymore?
But I digress. All this build-up is just to demonstrate to my readers that if any of you thought I was over the whole Luke-Hebrews-Emmaus thing, you are sadly mistaken. In fact, it has taken me down some more wonderful trails. So, despite the fact that I’m reading two other great books currently, The Ongoing Feast had to be enjoyed now. The subtitle reveals the theme of the book: Table Fellowship and Eschatology at Emmaus. And before I am finished with this feast, I wanted to share something I read last night that made a connection between the disciples at Emmaus, Adam and Eve, and open and closed eyes. Pretty cool stuff.
The structure of the meat of the book follows the structure of the account of Emmaus, which is presented by Luke in “concentric circles,” or rings. Here is a helpful illustration of this chiasm given by the author, Arthur A. Just, Jr. (p. 31, minus the Greek):
5) v. 13 “That very day two of them were going…from Jerusalem”
4) v.14 “…and talking with each other…”
3) v.15 “…Jesus himself drew near and went with them.”
2) v.16 “But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.”
1) v.17-30 (the center circle) “the colloquium and the breaking of
2) v.31a “And their eyes were opened and they recognized him.”
3) v.31b “…and he vanished out of their sight.”
4) v.32 “They said to each other…”
5) v.33 “And they arose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem.”
I want to share the what the author noted about the second ring, where the disciples eyes were first closed, and then opened:
The phrase used in Luke 24:31 for “their eyes were opened” is the same phrase used in the LXX in Genesis 3:7 (autôn diênoíchthêsan oi ophthalmoí) where the eyes of Adam and Eve are opened to the knowledge of good and evil and they recognize their nakedness. There is a striking parallel here. The open eyes of Adam and Eve are the first expression of the fallen creation that now sees the image of God clouded by disobedience; the open eyes of the Emmaus disciples are the first expression of the new creation that now sees the image restored in the new Adam, the crucified and risen Christ. This is a clear link between the old and new creations, establishing the Emmaus meal as an eschatological event. The meal of broken bread at Emmaus reverses the first meal of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. By partaking of the meal of the risen Christ, the eyes of all creation are now open to see in Jesus the seed of the woman promised in Genesis 3:15. The table at which they now sit is the messianic table. Just as Adam and Eve’s eating of the forbidden fruit was the first meal of fallen creation, so this meal at Emmaus is the first meal of the new creation on the first day of the week (66-67).
Isn’t our God so amazing and gracious? The fulfilled promise is made known in Jesus’s exposition of Scripture on their walk, and the breaking of bread. What we may think of as common, ordinary means are used to confer Christ and all his blessings. The breaking of bread reveals the breaking in of a new creation. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
*Originally published on October 22, 2015.