Friday, April 1, 2016

The Road to Emmaus

A Beautiful palm outside of the Abu Ghosh site.

The village of Emmaus was the setting for one of the most touching of Christ’s post-Resurrection appearances.
Unfortunately for pilgrims drawn by the account in Luke’s Gospel, the identity of Emmaus became lost early in the Christian era. Only in the 21st century are scholars reaching a consensus favouring a location near Moza (or Motza), on the western edge of Jerusalem, where there is no commemorative site to visit.
“Supper at Emmaus”, by an anonymous 17th century Italian painter (Wikimedia)
The Emmaus story is well-known: Two disciples downcast by the death of Jesus, and confused by reports that his body is missing, are walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus. They encounter a stranger who listens to their concerns, then gives them a Scripture lesson that makes their “hearts burn within them”.
Finally, as they share the evening meal, he breaks bread and they recognise him. By then the risen Christ has disappeared from their sight, and they immediately hurry back to Jerusalem. (Luke 24:13-35)
Out of several locations for Emmaus proposed over the centuries, expert opinion is focusing on Colonia (or Kulonieh), near the modern Jewish neighbourhood of Moza. Excavations instigated by the New Testament scholar Carsten Peter Thiede at the location from 2001 to 2004 confirmed the existence of an upper-class, 1st-century Jewish village which was called Emmaus.
There are several possible sites for  Emmaus.
 The traditional site held for many years 
was Nicopolis - known as Amwas.

On our trip we visited Abu Ghosh.
• Abu Ghosh, near Kiryat Yearim (or Kiryat el-Enab), just over 60 stadia (11km) west of Jerusalem on the main road to Joppa.
With the Amwas tradition lost, the Crusaders settled on Kiryat el-Enab as Emmaus. They built a churchthere in 1140 and called the place Castellum Emmaus.
After the Crusaders were defeated 47 years later, Muslims used the church as stables.
This town was previously known as the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant for 20 years between being retrieved from the Philistines and being taken to Jerusalem by King David around 1000 BC.
Early in the 19th century it was renamed Abu Ghosh after a family of brigands who controlled it and exacted tribute from travellers.
The Crusader church, now restored, remains one of the finest examples of Crusader architecture. Its tranquil setting adjoins a Benedictine monastery. In the crypt is a spring used by the Roman Tenth Legion when it camped here after capturing Jerusalem in AD 70.
Emmaus/Abu Ghosh: Faded frescoes in Crusader church (© Israel Ministry of Tourism)

Factors against Abu Ghosh: 1) Kiryat Yearim was not called Emmaus in the 1st century. 2) It was not identified with Luke’s Emmaus until the 12th century.

SO the exact site may not 
be the part to focus on here.
And so we always go back to HIS WORD 
and read the story.

Listen for the heart connections.
Think about ourselves on the road to Emmaus.
We pray Lord, that our eyes may be opened
 and that we may RECOGNIZE you.
Give us wisdom to not be foolish people,
who seek to do this journey by ourselves.
 We must SEE our need for you daily. Amen

Journaling in the New Testament
Noteworthy Bible by Zondervan
Colored pencil and fine-point Sharpie

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