Damien F. Mackey
“Some theologians have suggested that one of the two disciples
on the way to Emmaus could have been a woman”.
The “Two” Disciples
Mr and Mrs Cleopas
There are those today who argue that one of the two disciples who encountered Jesus along the way from Jerusalem to the village of Emmaus was probably a woman.
Some of these base their conclusion upon the parallels they believe to exist (and with good reason) between this Gospel story and the Genesis account of Adam and Eve in the Garden. This view is nicely encapsulated in a terrific article (https://liftingjesus.org/2015/03/03/the-road-to-emmaus-a-love-story-from-the-garden-of-eden-restored/):
The Road to Emmaus – a Love Story from the Garden of Eden Restored
…. by John & Aileena Lu The Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-36) contains many Gold-nuggets to discover, we are about to discover a Restoration process of what was lost in the Garden of Eden by the First Adam. The story begins with two disciples of Jesus, who were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus on the day that Jesus rose from the dead. There were two disciples but the bible only mentioned one name: Cleopas, and the other one unnamed. We may have assumed that they were both male disciples, but actually the bible does not say anything about this. I submit to you that they were husband and wife, Mr. & Mrs. Cleopas.
It is the Jews culture during the time to mention only the name of the man (husband). For instance, when Jesus was feeding the multitude of 5000 man with five loaves of bread and two small fish; it only mentioned the man. Five thousand men were accounted, excluding (not counting) woman and children (Mat 14:21 Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children).
This is not just the culture, but this is how God sees a married couple, as ONE. We see this evidenced even in the creation of mankind Adam & Eve. (Gen 5:2 KJV. Male and female created He them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.) God addressed them both as one person, and God named them Adam. Wait a minute! How about Eve? Well, read your Bible, God did not name Eve, It was Adam who named his wife’s as Eve, and It was just Adam who called her Eve. While, God has been calling both of them as Adam (Mr. & Mrs). Although, it was Eve who was first deceived by the serpent and it was Eve who misled Adam to eat the wrong fruit, but whoever made the mistake, God treated them as equally responsible, because God sees them as ONE.
This is also evidenced in many countries’ social culture, to call a married couple by the husband’s name, eg. Mr. & Mrs. Smith. So, now we know that the two disciples, who walked from Jerusalem to Emmaus, were husband & wife, Mr. & Mrs. CLEOPAS. As they were walking and talking about what had just happened in Jerusalem “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth”, suddenly Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him (Luk 24:14-16).
Why did Jesus restrained their eyes not to know Him? Likewise to ask, why Jesus did not walk around in Jerusalem after His Resurrection showing off His NAILED PIERCED HANDS? Is it not going to astound people of His Deity identity? No, obviously God did not think like human, this is not the way of God. He wants all of us to stand equal chance to see Him by FAITH. In that Emmaus Journey we know that Jesus expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. He wanted them to see Him in the Scriptures by FAITH NOT BY SIGHT. Because, without faith it is impossible to please God.
It is a beautiful picture of them in the EVENING WALKING together with Jesus on the day of His first bodily Resurrection. It is like referring to the first Adam usually walking in the evening with God in the Garden of Eden.
Gen 3:8 …God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, (EVENING time) – Adam & Eve walking with God.
Luk 24:29 … Abide with us, for it is toward EVENING,… (Mr. & Mrs. Cleopas walking with Jesus)
And this is significant because this event corresponded to and restored the creation story in the Garden of Eden, whereby the first created couple (husband & wife) Adam & Eve had failed by committing the high treason of partaking from the forbidden tree, which was the only commandment that God had given them. There were two special TREEs in the middle of the Garden. hey partook from the wrong tree, the TREE OF KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD & EVIL (the first tree). While, God actually gave them a choice to partake from the TREE OF LIFE.
Both trees would open the eyes of man, the first tree opened their eyes to their nakedness. When Eve took of its fruit and ate and she also gave it to Adam who was with her, and he ate it; what happened?
Gen 3:7 Then the EYES of both of them were OPENED, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
Their eyes were opened to see their Lack, and shortcomings, and they tried to cover themselves with fig leaves, which is a picture of Self Righteousness, trying to justify themselves with their work & self-effort to achieve God’s Favor. Apparently, they realized whatever their self-work to cover themselves did not measure up to God’s standard, and as a result, they were afraid, they were in fear and they hid themselves from God (Gen 3:8-10).
God did not want them to partake from this tree but God cannot violate His own creation of Free Will. Likewise, God cannot force you to love Him. It must come from your free will. Thus, a free will to be a free will, there must be a choice. God put both trees in the middle of the Garden for them to choose.
Jesus showed us in this event, that He is faithful and has restored the failures of first Adam partaking from the wrong tree, with what? With the Lord Supper of Breaking the bread.
Luk 24:30 Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He TOOK BREAD, BLESSED and BROKE it, and GAVE it to them.
Luk 24:31 Then their EYES WERE OPENED and they KNEW Him; and He vanished from their sight.
The breaking of Bread is the holy communion between believers and Christ Jesus, a union in the body and soul. In other word, the Breaking of Bread is the TREE OF LIFE, the tree that Adam had missed it in the Garden of Eden. We have partaken this Tree through our continuous Holy Communion with Christ that rendered to infuse Life into our body, making us more healthy and adding years to our age, and energy to our body.
Joh 6:51 I am the living BREAD which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My FLESH, which I shall give for the LIFE (Greek: Zoe) of the world.”
“Zoe” of the world is the Physical life, NOT Eternal (spiritual) life which in Greek is “Zoe Ionos”
And, look what happened to Mr. & Mrs. Cleopas? After their eyes were opened? (Luk 24:33 So they ROSE UP that very hour and RETURNED to Jerusalem,…)
Their heart was burning with the warmth of Christ’s Love, and it energized them to immediately walk back from Emmaus to Jerusalem again, which is total walk of 14 Km just during that evening alone, wow what a strong body?!. Their Heart burning with the Passion of Christ Revelation, and they wanted to share it with the rest of the disciples in Jerusalem.
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Now, James Boice has arrived at the very same identification of the two disciples, Cleopas and his wife, but, in Boice’s case, his argument has arisen entirely from New Testament information
Who Were the Disciples on the Road to Emmaus?
The answer to this question is not as uncertain as most people, who are accustomed to referring merely to the “Emmaus disciples,” are likely to assume. For one thing, the story itself gives the name of one of them. If you turn to Luke 24:18, you will find that one of the disciples was called Cleopas. Moreover, if you will then use any good concordance of the words occurring in the New Testament and look up the word “Cleopas,” you will find a second mention of his name in another account of the Resurrection. The reference is John 19:25. There we read, “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene.” It is true that John spells the name a bit differently. But the spelling of names often varied in antiquity, and here the two names undoubtedly refer to the same person. Thus, we learn that the wife of Cleopas was also present in Jerusalem at the time of the Crucifixion. And we may, therefore, assume that she was the one returning to Emmaus with him on the morning of the Resurrection.
Moreover, I believe that we can know even more than this. For it seems clear to me that John has given us her name when he writes of “his [Jesus’] mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene.” I must admit that because of the way John has written this verse it is not at once obvious whether John is identifying the first Mary he mentions as the sister of the virgin Mary or as the wife of Cleopas. But a little thought shows that the second of these should be preferred.
For one thing, John seems to be distinguishing between two different Marys in the second part of the verse—Mary, the wife of Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene. At least this is the most natural way of interpreting the sentence. Second, if this is not the case, then either there is an unidentified Mary in the story (making five persons) or else there is a Mary who is the sister of the Virgin Mary. The first case is unlikely in itself as well as unlike John’s literary style. And the second is unlikely simply because it would mean there were two sisters, both named Mary. These reasons seem to point to the wife of Cleopas being named Mary, a woman who (we are told elsewhere) was also the mother of James the less and Joses and who had been a follower of Jesus as well as a helper of Jesus and His immediate disciples (Mark 15:40, 41: cf. Mark 16:1 and Luke 24:10).
The whole of the argument means that, after His appearance to Mary Magdalene in the garden early in the morning, Jesus next appeared (not counting a private, unrecorded appearance to Peter) to a man and his wife, Cleopas and Mary, and this before He appeared to any of the so-called “regular” disciples. ….
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The first time that I ever heard mention of this view, expressed as (from memory) “Some theologians have suggested that one of the two disciples on the way to Emmaus could have been a woman”, I was attending a lecture given by a Cardinal with the exotic name of Martini, and he - as far as I was then concerned - brilliantly debunked the suggestion. I refer to a talk back in 1996 by the Archbishop of Milan, Jesuit Maria Cardinal Martini, given at St Joseph's College, Hunters Hill (Sydney) – a biblical reflection on the Emmaus incident. At question time a nun got up and hopefully put it to the Cardinal that one of the two disciples may have been a woman.
To this the Cardinal brilliantly (though not necessarily correctly) replied that he, too, had heard of this view, but he had one good reason why he thought that it could not have been the case. Jesus, he said, had rebuked the two disciples, saying [a reference to Luke 24:25]: ‘How foolish you are, and how slow to believe’, and He never ever said that about any woman.
The nun quickly sat down as the audience applauded the Cardinal’s response.
From a Catholic point of view as I have recently heard the Emmaus account interpreted by Andrew Wood (St. John Centre for Biblical Studies), lecturing on the Gospel of Luke, the most marvellous thing that happened at Emmaus was the Mass, with its scriptural readings followed by Jesus himself becoming the Eucharist. Now, Wood’s mentor is Dr Scott Hahn, who has written along similar lines https://stpaulcenter.com/blog/emmaus-and-us-scott-hahn-reflects-on-the-third-sunday-of-easter
Emmaus and Us: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Third Sunday of Easter
…. We should put ourselves in the shoes of the disciples in today’s Gospel. Downcast and confused they’re making their way down the road, unable to understand all the things that have occurred.
They know what they’ve seen - a prophet mighty in word and deed. They know what they were hoping for - that He would be the redeemer of Israel. But they don’t know what to make of His violent death at the hands of their rulers.
They can’t even recognize Jesus as He draws near to walk with them. He seems like just another foreigner visiting Jerusalem for the Passover.
Note that Jesus doesn’t disclose His identity until they … describe how they found His tomb empty but “Him they did not see.” That’s how it is with us, too. Unless He revealed himself we would see only an empty tomb and a meaningless death.
How does Jesus make himself known at Emmaus? First, He interprets “all the Scriptures” as referring to Him. In today’s First Reading and Epistle, Peter also opens the Scriptures to proclaim the meaning of Christ’s death according to the Father’s “set plan” - foreknown before the foundation of the world.
Jesus is described as a new Moses and a new Passover lamb. He is the One of whom David sang in today’s Psalm - whose soul was not abandoned to corruption but was shown the path of life.
After opening the Scriptures, Jesus at table took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to the disciples - exactly what He did at the Last Supper (see Luke 22:14-20).
In every Eucharist, we reenact that Easter Sunday at Emmaus. Jesus reveals himself to us in our journey. He speaks to our hearts in the Scriptures. Then at the table of the altar, in the person of the priest, He breaks the bread.
The disciples begged him, “Stay with us.” So He does. Though He has vanished from our sight, in the Eucharist - as at Emmaus - we know Him in the breaking of the bread.
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As Andrew Wood explained it, Jesus’s ‘vanishing from our sight’ did not mean that He suddenly shot through on his two disciples. No, at the moment of the Consecration (“blessing of the bread”), Jesus disappeared from their sight because He had become the Eucharist.